Posts Tagged federal government

How Self-Serving Leadership is Keeping Millennials Away from Washington

Are Millennials changing leadership in the government?We’ve all come across a self-serving leader at one point in our professional careers. They are the type of leader who is motivated by self-interest and adopts the “give a little, take a lot” mindset. Self-serving leaders make their own agenda, status, and gratification more of a priority than those affected by their thoughts and actions. Harvard’s Institute of Politics study, “Survey of Young Americans’ Attitudes Toward Politics and Public Service,” proves that Millennials have zero tolerance for this type of leader. The study reveals that 59% of this booming generation feels that “elected officials” seem to be motivated by selfish reasons.

Another discouraging fact that government leaders are currently in the trenches of is the quick and steady decline of trust levels amongst current public sector employees and potential future leaders. Only 22% of Millennials trust the Federal Government to do the right thing. That percentage declines even more to 18% when it comes to trust levels with Congress. Trust, morals, values all encompass doing the right thing, not just for yourself but for society. I recently had a conversation with a colleague about the moral compass of the world today and the deteriorating values that are becoming the new normal. If you were one of the unlucky few that watched Miley Cyrus’ performance on the MTV Video Music Awards, you have an idea of what I am referring to. Our conversation focused on behavior that was once considered shocking is now common behavior, devoid of any reflection of the consequences that may occur. No longer should we lead by example and as the target group of this survey has solidified by the findings of the study, they are well aware of this fact and are taking matters into their own hands.

  • 56 percent of Millennials agree that “elected officials don’t have the same priorities I have”
  • 48 percent agree that “politics has become too partisan”
  • 28 percent agree that “political involvement rarely has any tangible results”

Ron Fournier, author of the article, The Outsiders: How Can Millennials Change Washington If They Hate It?, took to several schools in Washington and Boston to uncover the truths behind what the Harvard IOP study unveiled. The students Ron interviewed seemed to have a general consensus of their outlook of the future if our government continues as it has been and it is pretty much aligned with Harvard’s survey results. A particular response that Fournier received to one of the questions asked at Langley High School in Washington was particularly unsettling. When Ron asked these students how many of them will pursue a career in politics or government, a student replied, “Is this a joke?” That same student commented, “The thing about social institutions is when you destroy them, they get rebuilt eventually, in a different form for a different time.”

If Millennials are set on “destroying” current social institutions so they can rebuild them to be more functional, who are the leaders that are guiding them down this path? Amongst the plethora of self-serving leaders that are shaping this generation’s perspective of our imminent future, where are the servant leaders that are providing balanced and positive examples and guidelines of how these individuals can change the world? We need these leaders. We need great leaders that serve our country rather than serve themselves.

Ken Blanchard wrote a book with Mark Miller, vice president of training and development for Chick-fil-A about how great leaders serve. In the book, the word serve is an acronym that outlines the traits that distinguish self-serving leaders from great leaders. The acronym stands for; S = See the Future, E = Engage and Develop People, R = Reinvent Continuously, V = Value Results and Relationships, and E = Embody the Values. The SERVE acronym is definitely not an easy thing to live up to on a daily basis. Yet, it seems as though the Millennials are on to something here.

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Motivating Your Employees When Change is Looming Around the Corner

Fiscal cliff, political objections, merging agencies, and pay decrease discussions around the water cooler have many government employees concerned.   Many of us are wondering what exactly 2013 is going to look like for ourselves and for our country.  Now is the time for agency leaders to take action and encourage their teams.

Culture can be a powerful change agent.  If you think about high performing agencies, most of them have a clear culture that is actually implemented within the organization.  An agency’s culture generally dictates the values, vision, and missions.  It is an indicator of how the agency gets things done on a daily basis.  When leaders adhere to the culture when integrating change, it will support and encourage employee’s reaction to the change.

Can you explain your agency’s culture?  Are your goals and the goals of your team members aligned with the organizations culture?  If not, this could be a great discussion to have in your next one-on-one meeting with your employees.  Employees that know their performance and success is contributing to the success of the organization are more motivated, confident, and passionate about what they do.

Involving your employees with the agency’s mission can lead to confident, engaged, and high performing individuals.  Studies reveal that the more employees are involved in the decisions of a change that will impact them, the more committed they are to the agency.  In turn, the more committed they are, the better their performance.  The better their performance, the more effective the agency will be at accomplishing their mission.

Would you be more accepting of a decision that was made by others and dictated to you or would you rather have an opportunity to provide your contribution and feedback to that decision?  An effective way to implement any change is to allow those who have to endure the change to be involved in the change process.

Our immediate reaction to change tends to be objection.  This is where leaders can really use their skills and influence a direct report’s perception of the impending change.  An employee’s supervisor is the first line of defense against a closed-minded approach to change.  Scheduling regular one-on-one meetings, building trust, and providing the tools the employee needs to successfully overcome the negative mind-set that can occur during change can be the difference in an employee staying with the agency versus leaving for another job.

Do you have a strategy to resolve people’s concern and negative mind-set on change?  Ken Blanchard, author and co-founder of The Ken Blanchard Companies, reveals that “none of us is as smart as all of us.”  Shifting your employee’s outlook can often lead to a change of heart and commitment to the agency.

Want to hear more about how you can motivate yourself and your employees?  Join Dr. David Facer, author of Optimal Motivation, today at 12:00pm EST today as he shares a fresh approach to motivation that can increase employee engagement, productivity, and employee well-being.  Now who doesn’t want that during these hard times?

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Is America In Better Hands With The Federal Government Or Major Businesses?

Do you have more trust in your local corner store owner than you do in the Federal Government? Would you have more confidence in the ability of private businesses solving national problems in our country? The 2012 Public Affairs Pulse survey, released yesterday by the nonpartisan Public Affairs Council and conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, found that to be true among the majority of Americans. The state of our nation has given the American people cause for concern. When will we see positive strides in the economy? Whose responsibility is it to boost the unemployment rate? Will our next president make the changes the public is demanding?

Sixty-seven percent of Americans have a favorable view of major companies versus forty-one percent having a favorable view of the federal government. In fact, more folks agree that private businesses should take on solving many of the national problems facing this great country, rather than have the government continue to try to resolve them.

  • 72% say private organizations should provide community services such as food banks, free clinics and job training for the poor.
  • 68% believe that businesses should take on more responsibility for improving the quality and affordability of health care.
  • 66% feel that improving the quality of education is in better hands of private organizations than the governments.
  • 62% think that businesses would have more of an impact on relief efforts such as floods, tornadoes and earthquakes.

Although the findings from this survey have increased slightly from last year on issues like the economy and regulation, the overall favorability of our government is still not very positive.

 How can we improve American’s opinion of our government? Could private businesses make more headway in solving some of our country’s problems? Is it our nation’s leaders that should bear the brunt of this crisis? According to Jack Bowsher, author of Educating Votes for Rebuilding America, the answer is yes. Bowsher says, “all the problems facing our country resulted from decisions made by political leaders in past administrations.” However, all hope is not lost. Jack also believes that these bad decisions can be turned around by political leaders that will step-up in the future. Exactly how that will happen is yet to be seen, according to the American people.

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13 Not-So-Unlucky Supporters of Change

Change is inevitable. Change is good. Change is bad. Change is coming. I don’t like change. Whatever your viewpoint is about change, it’s a reality of life. Change happens in our professional lives, in our personal lives, when we’re children, and when we’re adults. It surrounds us. The key is how you as an individual react to change. A reader recently sent me a story about the bald eagle’s 150 days of “rebirth” that allows the bird to have an additional thirty years of life. Well, it turns out that the story is an urban legend but the message got me thinking about our ability to endure change in our lives and the “lows” we discipline ourselves through in order to come out on the other side a better, more fulfilled person.

Probably the biggest implementor of change is the Federal Government with issues ranging from voting for a new leader in the latest election to censorship on internet search engines. OPM Director, John Berry recently delivered the commencement speech at the University of Maryland. His comments were rather inspiring. He discussed the changes that have incurred in government over the past 30 years touching base on how public officials, both Republican and Democrat used to work together to get things done and how “thinking through solutions and arriving at compromises that make the best sense for our country” was what inspired federal leaders. If you haven’t listened to his comments on YouTube or read the entire speech, I highly encourage you to do so.

So how do we make change a positive success in our lives rather than a daunting task? In the book, Who Killed Change, co-authors share 13 foundations that can support your change effort.

  1. Culture – defines the predominant attitudes, beliefs and behavior patterns that characterize the organization
  2. Commitment – builds a person’s motivation and confidence to engage in the new behaviors required by the change
  3. Sponsorship – a senior leader who has the formal authority to deploy resources toward the initiation, implementation and sustainability of the change; ultimately responsible for the success of the change
  4. Change Leadership Team – actively leads the change into the organization by speaking with one voice and resolving the concerns of those being asked to change
  5. Communication – creates opportunities for dialogue with change leaders and those being asked to change
  6. Urgency – explains why the change is needed and how quickly people must change the way they work
  7. Vision – paints a clear and compelling picture of the future after change has been integrated
  8. Plan – clarifies the priority of the change relative to other initiatives and responsibilities; works with those being asked to change to develop a detailed and realistic implementation plan, then to define and build the infrastructure needed to support the change
  9. Budget – analyzes proposed changes from a financial perspective to determine how best to allocate limited resources and ensure a healthy return on investment
  10. Trainer – provides learning experiences to ensure those being asked to change have the skills needed to follow through with the change and succeed in the future organization
  11. Incentive – recognizes and/or rewards people to reinforce desired behaviors and results that enable change
  12. Performance management – sets goals and expectations regarding behaviors and results that enable change, tracks progress toward the goals and expectations, provides feedback and training and formally documents actual results versus desired results
  13. Accountability – follows through with people to ensure their behaviors and results are in line with agreed upon goals and expectations and that leaders are walking the talk, and institutes consequences when behaviors or results are inconsistent with those that enable change

There you have it, 13 reinforcements that you can work on this summer to make some changes for the better.

What changes, if any, do you plan on making in the next 150 days?

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