Gerry La Londe-Berg replied to the topic The Professor that Inspired you to Work in Public Service in the forum Career Advancement 9 years, 1 month ago
In my own blog I once wrote about Professor Pruger:
“I believe that the secret to success in a bureaucracy is “Hold Onto your Discretion.” I learned this from Robert Pruger at Berkeley. His description of life in the bureaucracy was very helpful. Each of us has a great deal of discretion and choice in our daily activity. Even within any set of rules and regulations, individuals perform the implementation, hence there is inherent discretion. Any good manager or supervisor values the quality of what we perform as individuals. If the individual produces quality, as it is defined in that setting, then the people leading the system (if they are smart) let the individual continue to perform with minimal interference. Therefore, by producing quality we increase our range of discretion.
In a well run bureaucracy, those who produce a quality product are promoted and/or listened to; our inputs into policy development are also respected (thus providing leadership in a sense). Adding our input into policy yet again increases our discretion by letting us shape our work environment.
In contrast, someone who is not doing well is questioned. They are monitored. Their range of discretion is limited. The poorer someone performs, then the more their supervisor tries to guide and direct them. They have lost discretion. As a supervisor, I explicitly described this to the people I supervised. I tried to let them know that I would allow them the maximum discretion it was in my authority to offer them as long as they performed well and attended to quality.”
Bob Pruger taught me that.
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