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4 Ways You Can Be a Stronger Leader in 2017

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Being a local government supervisor is challenging. You not only have to ensure that your work gets done, but you also have to make sure that the work of your staff is effectively done as well. If you feel like your way of managing and leading your staff was a bit off in 2016, just know that there’s always room for improvement.

Before you start receiving an unmanageable amount of emails and social media posts on establishing your 2017 new year’s resolutions, I thought I would post for you a little earlier this month some ideas on how to be a stronger local government leader in 2017 to help advance your organization’s goals and to serve the public good. Here are four:

1. Develop self-awareness.

Understanding yourself will be the first step to being a good supervisor in 2017. To build good relations with employees and strengthen their willingness to work harder, better, and smarter, you must appreciate human complexity and understand the sources of motivation.

Resolution Tip: To obtain such an understanding of others is to strive to understand yourself. Step back and fully examine your job, role, management style, personality traits, and responsibilities as a supervisor.

2. Build good working relationships.

To be an effective supervisor, you must create an atmosphere of trust on the job. As a supervisor, you must respect and listen to employees, help them set goals, involve them in decisions, and keep them up-to-date; you must also communicate frequently and honestly, and delegate responsibility effectively.

Resolution Tip: Get to know your employees. Find out each person’s strengths and weaknesses. Learn what each person wants and needs to get from his or her job; people are generally happier and more productive when they are doing what they enjoy and what they do best. Through your actions, let your employees know that you have confidence in their abilities and that you trust them to do the job right.

3. Cultivate the management attitude.

Effective supervisors understand the larger goals and processes of the organization, and how the work of individual employees advances those goals and processes. This kind of understanding is called the management attitude.  

Resolution Tip: Help your employees understand how their work fits into the organization’s long-term goals. In addition to learning to understand the big picture, encourage employees, especially those who may one day be supervisors themselves, to develop a forward-looking management attitude. 

4. Learn to be a broker.

Focus on being skilled at brokering competing interests, values, and perspectives so as to best serve internal and external customers. (Internal customers include employees, upper-level management, and elected officials; external customers include vendors, other agencies, and citizens.)

Resolution Tip: For your local government to achieve its goals in 2017, try working together with the several different organizations that might be involved to ensure that the desired outcomes are achieved, that the different perspectives and goals of each party are taken into consideration, and that the relationships between the parties are strengthened and protected.

Remember that in 2017 your job is to get work done with and through others.

Information in this blog post has been adapted from the ICMA publication Effective Supervisory Practices: Better Results Through Teamwork.

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