Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.
By Matt Selker
Public administrators nationwide face daunting complexities, as well as increasingly insurmountable consequences, as they attempt to achieve prosperity for their communities. Thoughtful public administrators are rethinking the roles their employees play in solving complex issues—employees at every level of the organization. They are learning that to tap this remarkable wealth of knowledge within each employee, their efforts must be strategic, inclusive and shared with other levels of management.
In the October 2005 issue of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, research published by Gene Brewer suggests that ‘management matters’, both front-line supervisory management and upper-level management. In their research of federal agencies and front-line managers, they found that high-performing agencies not only possess skillful upper-level managers, they have strong organizational cultures that appreciate and value employees, enabling employees to engage each other in meaningful work. High-performing agencies create space that fosters high-performing teams and an environment that sustains them.
Attune v. Align Team Members
Successful public leaders share the awesome responsibility of creating an environment where talent is ‘attuned’, achieving performance goals and sustaining some type of competitive advantage while displaying a high degree of engagement. My use of ‘attuned’ as opposed to traditional ‘alignment’ is strategic. By attuning talent, leaders create shared buy-in to organizational mission, vision and values. They create an authentic, palpable synergy, a positive energy of sort, around shared common interest and goals.
Having worked with both public and private sector leaders in many industries and levels of governments, this concept, while exciting to consider, is often daunting to achieve. Daunting because it often requires a shift in the leader’s mental models. Many public administrators have focused for decades on aligning their employees to their purpose and goals. The emerging workforce demands more than a simple ‘tell me what to do.’ It demands the capacity to accomplish, a feeling of shared experience and a lasting desire to collaborate with their peers. They require involvement in a high-performing team.
Five Characteristics of High Performing Teams
The million dollar question remains: How do you create a high-performing team that is attuned to the organization’s mission, vision and values rather than simply aligned to task performance? By perfecting the following five characteristics, you can create high-performing teams within your administrative jurisdiction, at all organizational levels, in a way that is attuned, sustainable and capable of producing remarkable results:
To summarize, it takes much practice of many, both celebrated successes and mourned failures, to become a high-performing team. The key is for the leader to be inclusive, grow in the direction of shared teams collective strengths and encourage space for thoughtful, constructive conflict to occur. Remember, the leader sets the pace and demonstrates by example. Anything short of an authentic effort pales by comparison. Your investment to become a high-performing organization by forming high-performing teams will pay exponential benefits.
Author: Matt Selker is a management consultant. His firm, located near Cleveland Ohio, is hired by public and private organizations striving for improved performance through their human capital. Mr. Selker holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Edinboro University of PA, master’s degree in Public Administration from Cleveland State University-Levine College of Public Affairs and gained his education in organizational development and change from Case Western Reserve University-Weatherhead School of Management. He can be reached via email at [email protected].