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A Leader’s Actions

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Charles Mason
March 30, 2019

A leader’s actions have a direct correlation with the fulfillment, inspiration and accomplishments of his or her group members. The primary concern of managers using any leadership style or approach is to gauge their actions and their influence on fellow team members as they seek to reach not only their personal and work goals, but also that of their team. To help cultivate success you have to develop your soft skills. There is no way around it. Let us start with skill number one: communication

The Art of Communication

Communication is the key to developing our strengths as a team, identifying our opportunities, and recognizing and conveying our weaknesses as well as our known and unknown threats. Still, far too many people that I have come across in leadership positions seem to feel that they are beyond needing any help. Yet time and time again, leaders display behaviors that should have been left behind on the playground in elementary school. To others, we are who we communicate we are, not who we say we are. The key takeaway is that we are always communicating, whether it is through visual, written, verbal or non-verbal mediums. The message is still going out. The question still remains—is it clear, concise and consistent?

So here we are in a leadership position. How do we help find, develop and cultivate the next generations of leaders? We are going to do this through our personal attributes, which allow us to relate to others effectively. In other words, we are going to teach our team leadership skills through modeling the proper skills and behavior that builds stronger work relationships, increase productivity and maximize our career goals. What’s the bottom line? As a leader you need to be the example. We learn best by seeing and absorbing the how and the why displayed before us.  Our actions as leaders help develop the culture of the agency or department long after we are gone.

Why?

Public administration can be a thankless job until you arrive at a door to liberate a victim from her oppressor or locate a lost child. As a leader in your agency, you must show your personnel how to face the good times and the bad while representing the whole community. This is done through activities and conduct which will lead you in inspiring your team and raising the performance of your group members to higher levels of excellence.

The sole purpose of your actions is to simplify the pathways for you and your team to fulfill your current objectives, which will result in you accomplishing your tasks and goals.  From previous experiences, I recognize my traits and leadership style. With this knowledge, I learned to elevate my efforts in fulfilling my support role as a team leader.  As a leader you are not doing the work. You are providing for and supporting those who do the work. At the end of the day, your team needs to understand the why question. It is crucial that your team understands why your agency or department is doing what it is doing and why team members are essential to this process.

Communicating a clear picture ties your team to your agency’s mission and generates accountability among team members concerning outcomes. This action will empower your team as they fulfill their individual roles, which develops into increased outputs and improved morale. It can also lead to the reduction in the rate at which team members leave your agency or seek a lateral transfer.

Gauge Yourself

We all have weaknesses. My tendencies are that I tend to fixate on the goal and not the people. With this in mind, I realize that  team members observe the leader’s manners and activities to some degree. This could affect their commitment to the team, the organization and specific team goals.  Therefore, I must refocus on the people who make up the team. That’s my shortcoming. What is yours?

As a leader, I must determine the best style for encouraging individual team members based on what each member needs and the work environment he or she faces. Within a group, each member can face a different set of issues. Therefore, I must be resourceful and flexible in my leadership approach. I tend to seek out and solve problems; I have also been a shoulder to cry on. The results are mixed. The key is making those critical human connections.

Results

Although I tend to work within standards and not force my ideas on my team, there have been opportunities for me to raise the level of security at my job by insisting my team members ensure proper security measures were followed.  When they failed to follow through, I administrated corrective action. Evaluating the results from feedback, I can see that I need to elevate my skills as a leader. I need to shift some priorities and become more personable. In any case, my approach must be flexible and my actions diverse. In all matters, I must be consistent and fair. Now enough about me. Are you ready to look at yourself through the eyes of others and re-evaluate yourself for the good of the team and the mission?


Author: Charles Mason MPA, is a Doctoral Candidate at Walden University in Public Policy and Administration with a Specialization in Criminal Justice. He has over 30 plus years in local law enforcement, state corrections and military service. He is currently a leadership and development coach at Mason Academy.

He can be reached at [email protected].

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DRCharlesMason

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The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

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