Serving in the public interest is a special calling, and it takes more then just learning policy and research method. Everyone who serves must be a leader within their organizations, and in the public eye, which is what was focused on in this introductory course for the Leadership and Policy Studies degree program.
A key concept that was introduced was to utilize different management strategies through the use of four frames, structural, human resource, symbolic, and political. These frames help create a new perspective for working through difficult problems or enabling someone to better interact with their colleagues. As a key management tool, utilizing these frames enables someone to better understand their leadership style, enabling them to approach challenging and unique situations with a new mindset in addition to helping them better connect with colleges and subordinates in a constructive manner.
Outside of learning about new tools that can be utilized to help grow leadership and managerial ability, self reflection about ones own experiences and traits is important to grow into a public service leader. In my own self reflection, I discuss several key characteristics that I think make for a good leader, and are traits that I have developed over the years.
Throughout my careers, both military and civilian, I have seen a multitude of leadership and managerial styles. Some were successful, but many were not. Although I believe that anyone can learn the skills necessary to manage personnel, from my experience, I think there is an inherent personality trait that enables to someone to be a successful leader. There are three characteristics that I believe are important to being a leader, first being a role model for colleagues and subordinates, second to focus on the personal development of yourself, peers and direct reports, and finally a strong belief in team collaboration. Of the successful leaders I have seen, a combination of these skills were used successfully resulting in motivation others to be highly effective, building loyalty within the team, and helping the advancement of junior personnel.
Through these skills, I believe people can develop into successful leaders within the public service community. Especially since a majority of what public service people do is to build coalitions, create communities and strengthen public policy, it is imperative that we can lead others successfully.