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Question

Advice for New Assistant City Manager

  2  
Leslie Beauregard

I was recently promoted to ACM of the jurisdiction I have served as Budget Director for the past 12 years. While I am hardly new to local government (almost 20 years), this is a new role for me with new operational responsibilities. What's the one piece of advice you can offer to a new ACM? Can't wait to hear what folks have to offer!


Answers

 
  1  
John Elsesser

Always think of your bosses style while making decisions. If uncertain have a chat with him/her first. You are the key team member

Leslie Beauregard

Leslie Beauregard

Thanks John! Great advice!

 
  1  
Thomas Miller

Keep your inquiring attitude that motivated you to ask this question of your local government colleagues! And congratulations!

Leslie Beauregard

Leslie Beauregard

Thanks Tom!

 
  1  
Pamela Muse

Be flexible, positive & supportive. A "can do, will do, consider it done" attitude will be appreciated and take you far!

 
  1  
Bonnie Svrcek

Meet weekly with your CM. Cherish the relationship with your CM. Use your complimentary skills and approaches to problem-solving to benefit C'ville. They are fortunate to have you!

 
  1  
Karen Pinkos

Congrats! It's awesome to be an ACM. You get to lead in all directions, and have a true impact on your organization and community. And as Bonnie said, your relationship with your CM is the key to your (and the organization's) success.

Instead of repeating a bunch of great stuff from colleagues, I'll just share a link to a wiki from a session we did in Boston about skill sets for Number Twos that has a lot of good tips we came up with: http://icma.org/Wiki.. .

Hope to see you at some of the Assistant track sessions in Seattle!

 
  0  
Rachel Bingham

This was shared from Tamara Lynn Schaps via Twitter: Join #LinkedIn and get your staff to do the same! https://twitter.com/..

 
  0  
Karen Thoreson

Engage your direct reports and visit with them - their people and sites.Help the people you supervise to also see their respective colleagues as team members. Have some fun with them as a team!

 
  0  
Leslie Beauregard

Wow thanks for all the amazing advice so far! Keep it coming!!!!

 
  0  
Aaron Peterson

Leslie, lots of great advise for the strategic and vision level so I will focus on the operations. Many individual contributors struggle to stay informed outside their workgroup. Be a fantastic communicator throughout your City on things big and small. Then employees will feel they know what is going on, that they count, and they will be able to communicate upward as well. You might even gain some of that elusive buy-in we work so hard for.

 
  0  
Mike Baker
Mike Baker said

Leslie,
Having served in a Deputy/Assistant role for 11 years now, I'll tell you that it can be a position that continually offers new and interesting challenges and opportunities for growth. Here are two key ideas that I would have told myself when I started, knowing what I know now:
1. Focus on relationships and results - This ability is really the essence of any effective professional, and is especially true in our roles. I know I don't have the technical training and expertise of the department heads that report to me. Also, relying on the formal authority of my position may be necessary at times, but I've found that it is not useful in building and sustaining a great organization over the long-term. Relationships and results are what matter most.
2. “Mind the Gap” - Yes, borrowed from London's Tube, it's become a bit of a mantra of mine. There are many ways of understanding this idea of "the Gap". It could be the gap between current and potential performance of an individual or team. Or it could be the gap between administrative sustainability and political acceptability (you can Google "Dr. John Nalbandian and the Gap" if you're not familiar). Regardless, viewing the role of Assistant/Deputy as being able to understand and help "bridge the gap" as a key function of the job has been extraordinarily useful to me over the years.
Thanks for giving me the chance to weigh in. Best wishes.

 
  0  
Paul Shew
Paul Shew said

Leslie, Congratulations to you on this new venture. By virtue of your inquiry it would seem you already have an important tool in use: asking. John and Bonnie both advised an eye to 'style' with your colleague; and Michael gave a British twist with 'minding the Gap', a concise way of describing good stewardship. You will do a great job.

 
  0  
Douglas Shontz

Leslie,

Congrats on your new position! Your KN question has created a meaningful discussion. I highlighted this discussion and the ICMA resources that can help you and someone in your position in a blog post.

http://icma.org/en/i..

Hopefully these resources are helpful and this conversation continues.

Douglas Shontz
Knowledge Network Intern

Leslie Beauregard

Leslie Beauregard

Thanks Douglas! It certainly has attracted many responses which has been great!

 
  0  
Derrik Kennedy

Understand your boss' direction and goals. If you are given latitude to make decisions, make sure they mirror the CM's objectives. If the relationship with the CM is such that it works, don't be afraid to embark on initiatives that mean something to you and will benefit the community - you'll get greater satisfaction completing a project that you thought of and saw through to fruition. Have fun! Learn! Be involved in as much as you can to increase your scope of understanding and experience. Enjoy.

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