Virtual Museum of Public Service

Leadership for the Public Service (D-2)

"There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well." 
 
Walter Reuther
 
Strong leadership in the public sector has played an instrumental role in guiding nations in many parts of the world. Leadership has been described as the, “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.” The United States Office of Personnel Management has a Center for Leadership Development, where there is the belief that “leaders are made and not born.” Their training programs focus on strengthening leadership in public service through providing courses in team building and team leadership, executive, managerial and supervisory development and networking with peers from all branches of government.
 
Developing public service leadership is important for ensuring the effectiveness of public organizations. For this reason, although today there are many great leaders at the helm of public agencies in various places, those agencies would do well to focus on succession planning so as to make sure that their leadership positions can always be filled. Educational programs in higher education institutions are also giving their attention to leadership development. In the public service we need leaders at different levels of government as well as in different capacities within public organizations. Although leadership specializations are important for public service human resource development, leadership courses are a positive component across curricula for public service and community work. Competent leaders have important roles to play in all public departments and programs.