Leaders have to be good managers (and vice versa) as federal workers return

Tom Fox, at the Washington Post’s On Leadership blog, reminds us that management should be a leadership skill, a way to sustain the vision, mission and values a leader brings to the table. He makes some great practical suggestions for leader/managers rebooting the workplace now that the federal government is officially online again.

Here are his suggestions to support “the return to ‘normalcy.'”

“Be there at the front door. Top leaders should greet employees at the door when they return, and supervisors at different levels should hold team meetings. Be sure to focus on the full workforce—those who haven’t been furloughed may be overlooked and shouldn’t be.

Get back to the mission, but don’t add to it. While you want to get operations up and running at full speed, avoid adding much new mission to the equation. There is a great deal on everyone’s plate already, and it would not be wise to swamp your workforce.

Help cut through the red tape.  The backlog of work will require establishing priorities, goals and timeframes. Employees will need guidance. At the same time, pay attention to the small issues that help people do their jobs.

Deal just as effectively with their personal matters.  If needed, managers should be prepared to write a form letter to banks, lenders and creditors explaining the furlough and requesting special consideration for employees who, through no fault of their own, may be unable to make payments.

Get employee input. Use this crisis as an opportunity to solicit ideas from employees on how to handle the immediate and pressing needs, as well as to remove barriers more broadly that will increase productivity.

Address the image problem. Even though new hiring is at a minimum, don’t lose sight of the need to rebrand your agency and engage in strategic and continuous outreach to the talent market, including colleges and universities.” Read more…

Fox reminds us that rebooting after a crisis requires reassurance, guidance, practical support, connection and rebranding, and that all of that happens in healthy, caring professional relationships that good manager/leaders nourish with employees.

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