Contemporary policymaking is plagued by extreme partisan polarization, political corruption, distrust in basic political institutions, news coverage that does not inform civic discussions, lack of political civility, and political practices that discourage compromise, bargaining, and negotiation. Many different institutional, electoral, and political issues undermine public trust and confidence, thus making it difficult to lead and govern.

To address these systemic governance challenges, the Brookings Institution Governance Studies program maintained for several years an initiative dedicated to improving national political leadership. This endeavor aimed to enhance the understanding of the nation’s current leadership deficit and to find ways to change leaders’ behavior and improve leadership capacity.

The Governance Studies program organized a distinguished advisory board of practitioners and experts to counsel and assist its efforts on this initiative.  The following individuals provided important feedback and ideas on the work of the project:

  • Leslie Berlowitz, President and CEO, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • William Budinger, Founding Director, The Rodel Foundations
  • Lisa Caputo, former Deputy Assistant to President Clinton
  • Alan Dachs, President and CEO, Fremont Group
  • Former Representative Bart Gordon (D-TN), Partner, K&L Gates
  • Suzanne Nora Johnson, Brookings Trustee
  • Barbara Kellerman, James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Jackson Nickerson, Frahm Family Professor of Organization and Strategy, Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis; Associate Dean and Director, Brookings Executive Education, The Brookings Institution
  • Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Ret.), United States Supreme Court
  • Edgar Rios, CEO of SHD Oil & Gas LLC
  • Max Stier, President and CEO, Partnership for Public Service
  • Former Senator, Governor, Mayor George Voinovich
  • Judy Woodruff, Co-Anchor and Senior Correspondent, The PBS NewsHour

For more information about the Management and Leadership Initiative, please see the Initiative’s Framing Narrative.