Independence Day 2020 is nothing like what we may have collectively planned or imagined. We have experienced a renewed respect for the importance of skilled public leaders, educators and professionals during this world-wide health crisis. The professionals on the front lines have made tremendous personal sacrifices on our behalf. Reported levels of exhaustion from the four months of long workdays, rapid learning curves and critical decision making have left many public leaders ready for a time-out which we hope they can take.
“There is no question that we are learning daily as we reach for technology platforms to conduct distance meetings and teach the millions of students who would normally be in classrooms. We are all learning through trial and error that each platform has different levels of security, architecture and ease in usage.
There is no question that we are learning daily as we reach for technology platforms to conduct distance meetings and teach the millions of students who would normally be in classrooms. We are all learning through trial and error that each platform has different levels of security, architecture and ease in usage.
When we find ourselves in crisis the speed of reactive decisions is often staggering. With the current public health crisis, we experience daily results of a technology laboratory fully open for business. The technology you select for a meeting with people you know well may be different than a platform you select for people you have never met before. Many of you already use different platforms for different groups in your communities.
Public Service Appreciation Week! was established in 1985 and is in its thirty-sixth year. During these worldwide public health and financial crises, we are witnessing the testing of public leadership and public service as we have never seen before. The Public Leadership competencies needed to effectively address daily decisions during this crisis have become the essence of our personal sense of well-being and trust in governance systems. There could be no better time than May of 2020 to celebrate and thank our public servants who are on the front lines working to keep us safe.
This crisis has also exposed the critical interdependencies between public leaders and their citizens, public leaders in different levels of governance systems (local, state, federal), leaders in different countries, and finally leaders in different sectors (private, public and nonprofit). These relationships have become transparent as never before. Our hope is that these interdependencies will result in strengthened partnerships, and greater invests in hiring and developing highly skilled public leaders who can meet the challenges today, tomorrow and in the future.
This April we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin believed that we all share one earth, so we need to take care of it. He was disturbed that an issue as important as the health of our planet was not addressed in politics or by the media, so he created the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970. 20 million people nationwide attended festivities that day. It was a truly astonishing grassroots explosion, leading eventually to national legislation such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, The Toxics Control Act, Clean Water Drinking Act, Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act, Endangered Species Act and several others.
Fifty years later, despite all the efforts to protect and restore our environment, we find ourselves facing new national and international challenges that are the result of our collective human choices and their long-term impact.
March is Women’s History Month and 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. This month we focus on the role of women as Public Sector leaders and their achievements. Learn about the 19th amendment here or start a book discussion about women who lead in the public sector.
February is Black History Month and is also President’s Day. This month we look at some great resources from Pubic Sector leaders to honor both. Why not take the time to learn from a new resource this winter or start a book discussion with colleagues? Looking at different perspectives on leadership is a valuable tool for teams.
As the end of the year approaches we are reflecting on the tenth anniversary of President Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace prize and his lecture on war and peace. We are also anticipating a year that will be filled with public discussions about national challenges and town halls dedicated to gatherings of citizens to meet with candidates as they prepare to cast their ballots. After watching Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize lecture you may want to read The Leadership Dilemma in a Democratic Society (PDF).
As the country thinks about the role of public sector servants in diplomacy this fall with discussions about trade, war, peace and the environment we want to focus on one civil servant and their take on the importance of civil servants in a democracy. Prudence Bushnell. She often noted:
“Remember there are no healthy democracies in the world where there is not a competent, independent, civil service.”
Around the country this month students, teachers and administrators to go back to school and we are featuring the Leadership Matters Innovations Projects focused on making changes in schools as a result of participation in Leadership Matters.
Pawtucket School Leaders lowered student suspension rates at all levels and credited, ‘Leadership Matters RI’ as a key driver for this major success. At one Pawtucket school, the principal reported that there were 231 ‘behavior instances,’ meaning a student was disrespectful of the teacher or disruptive in class. Due to a ‘shift in the alternatives created’ there were only 15 instances reported in the first half of the following school year. In another school there were approximately 3,500 suspensions, and now it is down to 150 in that same school.