Leadership for the Public Service
“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”
– Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady of the United States
Strong leadership in the public sector has played an instrumental role in guiding public sector organizations at all levels. Martin M. Chemers describes leadership as a “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.” There, 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 there are many competent leaders at the helm of public agencies today, emphasis on succession planning is critical so as to ensure the sustainability and strength of organizations and the services they provide. Educational programs in higher education institutions are also giving attention to leadership development. In the public service, it is essential to develop leaders at different levels of government as well as in different capacities within public organizations. Leadership courses are a positive attribute of public service curricula and community work. Competent leaders have important roles to play in all public departments and programs. This gallery shares the stories of selected individuals whose leadership has made a lasting impact.