A Situational Approach to Leadership in the Public Sector

Join The Ken Blanchard Companies for a complimentary webinar and online chat beginning today at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time (12:00 noon Eastern).

Jim Atwood, Director of Blanchard Government Solutions will be discussing how taking a situational approach to leadership can enhance your ability to effectively manage and develop your people and how that process can increase competence, commitment, and retention of your most talented individuals.

This webinar is free and seats are still available if you would like to join over 800 people expected to participate. Immediately after the webinar, Jim will be answering follow-up questions here at How Gov Leads for about 30 minutes. To participate in the follow-up discussion, use these simple instructions.

Instructions for Participating in the Online Chat

  • Click on the LEAVE A COMMENT link below
  • Type in your question

It’s as easy as that! Jim will answer as many questions as possible in the order they are received. Be sure to press F5 to refresh your screen occasionally to see the latest responses. We hope you can join us later today for this special complimentary event courtesy of Cisco WebEx and The Ken Blanchard Companies.

View recording now!

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  1. #1 by David Witt on February 2, 2012 - 7:05 am

    Looking forward to today’s presentation–just saw the slides that Jim will be using. Lots of great content!

  2. #2 by David Witt on February 2, 2012 - 11:09 am

    Hi Everyone–Jim and I are here. If you have question that Jim can address, simply type it in and hit POST.

    • #3 by Jim Atwood on February 2, 2012 - 11:11 am

      Thank you for attending today’s session. I am looking forward to your questions…type them in

  3. #4 by David Witt on February 2, 2012 - 11:13 am

    Hi Jim–here’s a question from the webinar. “I have an individual who was a high performer but now is giving a minimum effort. What’s your advice?”

    • #5 by Jim Atwood on February 2, 2012 - 11:19 am

      This sounds like a person we would say has “regressed” in terms of development level. They can do the task to a higher level…they have already shown they can…but now are choosing not to. First thing I would do is have a conversation with them clearly outlining what was expected, what they were now doing, share my confidence in them to give the higher level, and ask what is now impacting their desire to give a higher level of effort. Often just asking the question and showing that you have noticed and care is enough to change the dynamics. Other times you might find an outside factor is involved…such as a family issue…and you may need to renegotiate some goals to relieve pressure until the outside issue has been resolved. And if the issue is simply that the individual has lost interest you need to provide a leadership style that involves behaviors that meet the needs of the individual as they currently exist. When an individual’s needs are met they usually go back to giving higher levels of effort.

  4. #6 by David Witt on February 2, 2012 - 11:15 am

    Another question from the webinar: “What are some of the mistakes leaders make when they first try to employ these leadership strategies you’re describing?”

    • #7 by Jim Atwood on February 2, 2012 - 11:24 am

      Some of the bigger mistakes are looking at these concepts as something you do in addition to your job. They are not additional…they are the core way of thinking as you do your job. When you think first of what a person needs to succeed on a task then what can I as a leader do to help them succeed it becomes second nature to apply these strategies.

      Another mistake people make is trying to change everything at once. Start working with one or two people on a few tasks until you feel comfortable applying the concepts then expand.

      Also, people will try to apply these concepts to “fix” their problem employee. This does not work. Leadership is a partnership and that means both parties must see it as a partnership to make it work. If you try using these concepts with a person who is unwilling to partner it will only lead to frustration. Start with someone you know is willing to partner.

  5. #8 by David Witt on February 2, 2012 - 11:16 am

    Also from the webinar: “In your experience, what type of leadership style is used most often in organizations?”

    • #9 by Jim Atwood on February 2, 2012 - 11:31 am

      It often varies depending on the type of organization. Semi-militaristic organizations often tend toward being more directive and research type organizations tend toward being more accomodating. In general, across a wide variety of organizations, leaders will often try a single style with everyong and every situation. They will try to be very “hands on” and will be seen as micro-managers OR they will try to be very “hands off” and will be seen as abandoning their folks. Bottom line is that you are most effective as a leader when you adjust your leadership style to meet the individual’s needs not when you a style that may be most comfortable for you.

  6. #10 by Steven Meilleur on February 2, 2012 - 11:16 am

    I’d be curious to hear more about how to deal specifically with the “mobile management” issue in the public sector … those in exempt (not FLSA exempt) appointed positions, who very often have a political agenda and an adversarial one at that … with the lack of continuity of professional leaders in the exempt positions, a strong leadership culture is hard to maintain … outside of your own sphere of influence …

    • #11 by Jim Atwood on February 2, 2012 - 11:44 am

      This is a very difficult issue…and one around which we are looking at further research to more effectively address. When a leader comes into a position for such a relatively short period of time they often think they must change everything to show they are making a difference….making their mark. More often than not this doesn’t improve anything…it just induces change for change sake. What I would like to see in the research is what is being done that is effective in managing up to minimize the self-serving behavior that is not helping others accomplish the organization mission. If you would like to talk further on this topic, or to see the results of the research when it is complete, please e-mail me at jim.atwood@kenblanchard.com.

  7. #12 by David Witt on February 2, 2012 - 11:17 am

    Do you have a question for Jim that we didn’t get to in the webinar? Jim will be here for about 10 more minutes.

  8. #13 by David Witt on February 2, 2012 - 11:22 am

    This blog, HowGovLeads posts new content on a weekly basis. If you would like to automatically receive a notification when new content is posted, use the EMAIL SIGN UP feature at the top left of the page. That’s the best way to make sure that you do not miss anything. Also check out Blanchard’s Ignite newsletter. It’s free and is published once per month.

  9. #14 by Jim Atwood on February 2, 2012 - 11:45 am

    Thank you very much for attending the session and for participating in this blog. If you have any further questions relating to this topic please e-mail me at jim.atwood@kenblanchard.com

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