Is there a difference between private and public sector leadership development and practices? This is a timely question given the recent turbulence of global financial markets. The short answer is that leaders in both sectors, no matter the organization or agency, need to be sensitive to how they set the stage for success. In fact, it is leadership that drives organizations and agencies through change—whether the change is planned for or in response to market conditions.
There are five interconnected and common elements of effective leaders in both the public and private sector:
- Promoting open communication
- Supporting individuals
- Allocating resources
- Removing obstacles
- Sponsoring innovation
These elements must be embedded in the culture of an organization or agency to ensure successful fulfillment of the mission. Today’s operating environment is complex: the rapid rate of change, the instant availability of data, the pace of product innovation, and the global connectedness of people all require organizations and agencies to ensure the development of leaders. This development can range from identification of who has the potential to be a leader to refresher training, and is even more critical for those who are making the leap from individual contributor to first-time leader or from manager of a project to leader of people.
When an organization or agency addresses the five core leadership elements, there is a greater chance that:
- Ideas will flow from those who are on point for delivering to end users—customers in the private sector and constituents in the public sector.
- Employees will operate with enhanced passion, leading to an improvement in discretionary effort and a commitment to the organization’s or agency’s purpose.
- The right resources will be allocated to the places of highest impact with the least amount of cost. Employees will be better equipped to fulfill both their own and their organization’s or agency’s mission.
- Barriers to success will be removed, thus changing and improving processes so that information flows better, measures are in place that support key indicators, and gap closure is a reality.
- Because of rapid change and a constant stream of unpredictable events, an idea factory will be created that will support the need for continuous and necessary innovation and change.
When leadership capacity and development are not a part of standard work, there is a far greater risk of atrophy. In other words, leadership is fundamental to creating a strong and vibrant organization or agency just as daily diet and exercise is fundamental to sustaining healthy living and reducing medical costs.
In the end, there is no difference between the private and public sectors when it comes to the five core leadership capabilities and the five corresponding outcomes.
The Ken Blanchard Companies can help organizations and agencies build high performing leadership and change roadmaps to improve operational efficiency and mission effectiveness. Future blogs will address how to measure leadership development.
To learn more about the Blanchard approach, download Building the Capabilities to Lead Agile, People-Centered Companies in the 21st Century. You can also check out other free resources and white papers in the research section of the Blanchard website.