What are the secrets of leadership success at the top ranks of government? How do government leaders achieve program results while cutting costs? How can political appointees and career staff build productive relationships to achieve departmental objectives?
As second-term appointees take up their positions in agencies, a new study is being released sharing secrets of leadership success of some of the government’s very best senior executives. Dr. Steve Kelman, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Dr. Ron Sanders, a vice president and fellow with Booz Allen Hamilton, are releasing the results of extensive interviews with Federal subcabinet-level executives. The study examines how exemplary executives approached such critical issues as: making decisions, especially those decisions executives defined as their most difficult; cutting costs and finding efficiencies in this time of extreme fiscal austerity; establishing performance measures for program success; and building productive relationships with their career civil service staffs to achieve departmental objectives. While there was a great deal of overlap in many leadership behaviors, significant differences were found in the way the outstanding executives led with respect to matters of character and courage.
Brookings Executive Education hosted a forum on Thursday, September 26 where Dr. Kelman and Dr. Sanders presented their results and discussed the implications with a panel comprised of some of the executives who participated in the study.