What Is Leadership? An Agency of the Future Event Recap

Speaking at GovLoop’s Agency of the Future event yesterday, keynote speaker, David Bray of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defined leadership as, “passion to improve our world.” Breaking apart that definition, Bray spoke on the subjects of leadership, passion, and improving our world, sharing with audience members his recommendations for achieving future success in each area.

An effective leader will:

  • Be prepared for resistance to change. As Bray explained, the founding fathers intentionally created a government that would change slowly. Therefore, effective leaders must build coalitions to support implementing new solutions and policies.
  • Find the balance between being a manager and a leader. Bray defined management as meeting expectations and leadership as stepping outside those expectations. He argued that a person must be a leader and a manager, and exercise wisdom in knowing when each role is called for in the workplace.
  • Adopt a servant’s heart. To change people’s expectations and gain their support, a successful leader will ask employees, “How can I help?” instead of commanding, “Follow me.”

If you have a passion for what you do, it will:

  • Spread to others. Show your excitement for your work and why it is important and others will adopt this attitude in your organization.
  • Give you creative perseverance under pressure. Passion for your work will increase overall dedication to the project and encourage the formation of innovative and flexible solutions. This is especially important during times of stress and constraint such as sequestration in the government today.

To improve our world in the future, one must:

  • Move forward with forethought. Bray encouraged others when developing solutions to first consider the purpose of such remedies, which stakeholders and partners to involve, and the distribution of benefits from these solutions.
  • Build a coalition of support and partners. As previously mentioned, this coalition will assist you in your efforts to develop and implement new ideas. Bray recommends that government agencies increase interagency communication and develop partnerships with the private sector, citizens and government officials.

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For those who missed the event or just want a refresher, a copy of Bray’s slides can be found here.

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