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Blogs / ICMA | blog / 15 Tips and Quotes for the Manager from "Making It Work"

15 Tips and Quotes for the Manager from "Making It Work"

Few factors are as critical to the success of local government professional managers and organizations they lead as is the quality of the relationship between elected officials and the manager. And it’s often that a productive and positive relationship results in great job satisfaction for all concerned. That’s why I’ve added the best tips and quotes from ICMA’s new e-book, Making It Work: The Essentials of Council-Manager Relations, each tip and quote in my opinion, offer the best ways managers can establish, nurture, and maintain good relations with their elected officials.

1.Nothing is more important to elected officials than being able to demonstrate effectiveness (getting something done) to their constituents. Show them that the best way to get things done is by working through you.”

2. “Develop a reservoir of goodwill before a potentially divisive issue needs to be confronted.”

3. “The manager’s knowledge of the ICMA Code of Ethics will be helpful in responding to requests that are not consistent with these standards.”

4. “The selection of key staff members is likely to be one of the most important factors on which a manager will be judged.”

5. “The governing body’s decisions [about risk tolerance] need to reflect a level of service and level of protection that align with the community’s vision.”

6. “Both parties recognize and appreciate the special value of good governance with the CAO’s management of the organization aligns well with the governing body’s stipulated organization outcomes.”

7. “To whatever degree organizational resources allow, the more comprehensive the orientation, the better.

8. “It’s tempting to judge a meeting’s success based on the decisions made, but ultimately the manager and staff should judge the success of the meeting based on what role they played in placing the council in the best possible position to make an informed choice.”

9. “When elected officials are confronted with too much controversy in a particular meeting, it can impact their decision making, or even their willingness to make a decision.”

10. “There is no better recipe for failure than rushing a complex or controversial issue.”





11. “By understanding your own preferences and those of your colleagues, you can become more comfortable with the process.”

12. “When you live your life in the fishbowl of public administration, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to.”

13. “As contrary as it sounds, the administrator often gains, rather than loses, respect by being willing to acknowledge mistakes.

14.No one can appreciate your circumstances as much as someone who has traveled your path.”

15. “Mistakes can be forgiven, violation of trust usually cannot.”

To download a copy of Making It Work: The Essentials of Council-Manager Relations, click here.

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