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Blogs / Leadership {RE}imagined / ICMA's Top 10 Posts on Leadership in 2016

ICMA's Top 10 Posts on Leadership in 2016

Leadership Blog Posts

In between the top 10 leadership competencies you need to succeed and leadership skills for managing wicked problems in local government, many of our readers in 2016 were interested in articles that helped improve their leadership capacity in the workplace. Did you miss any of them?

We've rounded up our most popular posts from from the year, and each one was some of the most read posts on and shared on our social media pages. Read on to find out the top leadership posts your local government colleagues enjoyed the most in 2016.

Career Compass No. 47: Leadership Myths Debunked

Leaders cannot motivate anyone except themselves. The role of leaders is to support the self-motivation of others. As a leader, you must explore how to tap into the individual and collective interests and motivations of your group. The best way to explore and identify the hopes and dreams of others is to ask questions  (See Career Compass No. 24: Asking Powerful Questions). Therefore, you may wish to begin by asking questions about how the unit can better meet the needs of children and families.

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The Seven Leadership Qualities for Times of Civic Disruption

In local government leadership circles we often discuss “disruptive technology” when dramatic changes in technology innovation turns established industries upside down. In politics, campaigns such as those mounted by billionaire Donald Trump and socialist Bernie Sanders, and the subsequent criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton appear to be similarly “disruptive” civic events, attracting many new participants into the political processes while exposing currents of mistrust, inequity and doubt in the integrity of our public institutions. This political environment further aggravates underlying racial unrest and fears of terrorism resulting in an epidemic of civic tension and instability in many communities.  As we await the final Presidential election results let’s focus on the seven qualities of public sector leadership appropriate in times of fear, distrust, and political disruption.

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6 Ted Talks Addressing Women in Leadership

In a Pew Research Center survey on women and leadership, most Americans find women indistinguishable from men on key leadership traits such as intelligence and capacity for innovation, with many saying they’re stronger than men in terms of being compassionate and organized leaders. So why, then, aren’t there more women in top leadership roles? In the six TED Talks listed, these speakers, including Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, provide reasons as to why women are being held back as leaders in the workplace and also provide great insight on how to fix the issue.

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4 Leadership Lessons from the Battle of Gettysburg

Civil War leaders, Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Union General George G. Meade, and their leadership decisions determined the fate of a nation. Imagine if you will, three days resulting in 46,000 casualties (killed, wounded, or missing). These three, hard fought days offer an excellent and engaging resource for the study of leadership: the complexity of the battle, the size of the armies, and the wide spectrum of personalities, all of which offer an extensive range of perspectives that are useful to those who work in local government. Here are several ways leadership in the Battle of Gettysburg translates to leadership in the daily life of the local government manager...

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10 Leadership Competencies THAT WILL HELP YOU SUCCEED

To develop successful leaders, organizations must know what competencies are critical to leadership success. According to the experts and practitioners interviewed in Building the Leadership Pipeline, leaders need to master 10 key competencies. Three were identified most often...

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3 Ways to Influence Your Staff

If you were to take a step back and look at yourself from the eyes of your staff, how many of them would consider you as someone that inspires them to dream more? Do more? Learn more? Or to become more? A quote from John Quincy Adams states that if you can do all four, "you are a leader".

If you are a local government supervisor that doesn't feel like you are influencing your staff in this way or if you are a young professional learning the best practices of leadership, it's important to not only focus on improving your leadership capacity, but to also focus on the three primary sources of influence: role, reputation, and behavior.

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The Most Important Leadership Trait in the Workplace

According to a recent survey that included 195 global leaders located in 15 different countries... High ethical and moral standards... are considered to be the most important leadership trait in the workplace. Why is trust so pivotal? In an article written by John Hamm for ICMA's PM magazine on trustworthy leaders, he states, "Because it’s a matter of human nature. When employees don’t trust their leaders, they don’t feel safe. And when they don’t feel safe, they don’t take risks. And where there is no risk taken, there is less innovation, less “going the extra mile,” and, therefore, very little unexpected upside." 

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5 Future Leadership Attributes for the Public Administrator

So what do we as leaders in the 21st century local government need to effectively lead the way? From a new report in LGR: Local Government Review, ICMA executive director Bob O'Neill states that we can safely say that the management skills and organizational systems we've developed over the past century will be prerequisite but not sufficient to address the challenges of 21st century local government. What will be sufficient is a type of innovative thinking that requires local leaders to...

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Leadership Skills for Managing Wicked Problems in Local Government

Wicked problems are complex and interdependent issues, with no clear and agreed upon problem definition, no single criteria for right or wrong; and which involve the conflicting perspectives of multiple stakeholders. Wicked problems are not ‘solved,’ only made better or worse. Wicked problems can be contrasted with tame problems, which have clarity on goals and problem definition, sufficient and adequate data, a clear solution and ending point, and for which one correct solution can be derived. How to fix a broken water line is a tame problem requiring only the application of the appropriate expertise to resolve. How to define the problem of poverty, much less ‘fix’ it in our local communities is something else again.

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In Search of Organizational Excellence?

Local government managers strive for excellence in their organizations and in the services they provide to communities. They pursue training and continuing education for themselves and for staff members, as well as strive to learn from the great organizations of both the public and private sectors. They also work diligently to enhance and measure performance, develop a workplace where the best and brightest employees can thrive, and relentlessly seek to improve the experience delivered to customers. So, where is the excellence they are seeking?

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