98 Opportunities to Improve Management in Government

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Get practical management advice on everything from the day-to-day supervision of direct reports to leading large high-performing teams from seasoned Federal leader Stewart Liff. In 98 Opportunities to Improve Management in Government, Liff shares his insights on relevant and in-demand topics such as leveraging your resources, developing the right systems, and coping with politics. Whether you are a front-line supervisor, manager, or C-level leader, you are guaranteed to find new opportunities to improve your team’s performance and sharpen your management skills.

In this, Liff’s fifth book, the author offers 98 opportunities for managers to make a real impact on employee performance. He includes tools, tips, techniques, and strategies for the first-time manager as well as the old pro. No matter where in the government or at what level, all managers—and aspiring managers—will find proven practices they can readily put into action. Drawing on his extensive experience and using a personal, accessible style, Liff makes solving even the thorniest of personnel problems look easy.

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A Team of Leaders: Empowering Every Member to Take Ownership, Demonstrate Initiative, and Deliver Results

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In studying teams for more than 35 years, it has become very clear that one of most important and distinguishing characteristics is that leadership always exists in teams, that leadership does not need to reside in a formal role like a supervisor, and that leadership can rotate amongst its members. One of the clear facts of high performance teams is that the members of great teams tend to be much more than merely employees. They become leaders because they work within a system that takes advantage of the capabilities of its members, it develops and lifts them, makes them more valuable and more productive and encourages them to lead rather than merely follow; as they do in a traditional organization.

When this happens, there is an enormous degree of synergy among the members and many of the traditional problems that plague both the supervisor and team members go away…or at least improve significantly. Instead of the supervisor having to carry an almost unmanageable burden, his responsibilities are shared with the team, allowing him to concentrate on the big picture. Meanwhile, the team members, who traditionally are asked to do what they are told and not much more, are now elevated and energized, develop far more skills than ever before and think and act like organizational leaders.

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The Complete Guide to Hiring and Firing Government Employees

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Bringing the best new people on board and weeding out the worst are both the most important and the most difficult tasks faced by any employer. For federal managers, the challenge is even greater. Not only does government bureaucracy often make hiring a cumbersome, slow-moving process, but poor performers enjoy more protection from losing their jobs than their counterparts outside of government. The Complete Guide to Hiring and Firing Government Employees is filled with tried-and-true strategies that will enable government managers to cut through the red tape and take advantage of the best talent available, as well as efficiently document and deal with those who don’t make the cut.

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Improving the Performance of Government Employees: A Manager’s Guide

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With public scrutiny intensifying every day, optimizing the performance of government employees and departments is more critical than ever before. And just as in the private sector, the key for managers is to understand how different management systems perform individually and interact with one another. This book examines the roles and challenges of structural and technical systems, information and decision-making processes, rewards systems, and human capital management, and shows managers how to: deliver clear and consistent messages to all employees; position employees and units to provide the best possible service to the public; hold them accountable through clear expectations and measurable goals; and work with a strong leadership team to maintain, adjust, and improve all procedures. Liff devotes a chapter to each system and discusses its impact on overall performance as well as how to work proactively and innovatively to implement changes that will make a big difference. Including real-world government case studies demonstrating dramatic change, the book is both an inspiration and a blueprint for substantial improvement within every facet of government work.

Excerpts:
“From recruiting and deploying top talent to rewarding and recognizing high performers, from eliminating redundancies to handling performance challenges and problems, Improving the Performance of Government Employees will help you redefine and recast your organization with an eye toward proactive service and growth while making your department an energizing and positive place to work.”

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Managing Your Government Career: Success Strategies That Work

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Working for the government offers many advantages: great prospects for professional growth, job security, an attractive array of benefits, and the opportunity to help other citizens—but it also presents unique challenges. Managing Your Government Career gives current and future government employees powerful advice for starting out and maneuvering through their entire career. Based on the Stew’s more than 32 years experience in civil service jobs, as well as his interactions with thousands of government employees, the book helps readers decide whether working for the government is right for them and more.

Excerpts:
“The first step in beginning your government career is to get in. That is the hardest part of the process, and it can be so frustrating that people often give up and never make a really good faith effort to secure such a job.”
”Clearly, government at any level offers plenty of career opportunities.”

“The relationship that you build with your supervisors, especially your first-line supervisor, will go a long way in determining the success of your career, as well as your overall satisfaction with the job.”

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Managing Government Employees: How to Motivate Your People, Deal with Difficult Issues, and Achieve Tangible Results

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While the perception is that motivating government employees is an insurmountable challenge, the reality is that with a flexible mindset and the right tools, leaders can develop a committed workforce, manage difficult people effectively, and elicit superior performance from their people. Government managers may feel that stringent and convoluted regulations mean they “can’t do that”. Some others may use that perception as a crutch. But the truth for all of them is, yes, they can “do that” — and they’d better.

Excerpts:
“In several of the organizations that I have worked in, union officials would frequently raise issues that from many people’s perspective were innocuous. They would complain about the arrangement of a couple of desks, argue over a short-term assignment for one employee…and so on…I couldn’t help but wonder how much of the government’s time was being wasted on nonsense. Sometimes, it almost felt like a Seinfeld episode. That is, a show about nothing.”

“Imagine working in an organization that makes it so hard to fire non-performers that managers have quit trying…Imagine routinely losing your best employees because you can’t pay them what they are worth.”

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Seeing Is Believing: How the New Art of Visual Management Can Boost Performance Throughout Your Organization

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The impact of the visual elements of any workplace on employees, customers, and other stakeholders is significant. More important, the impact of these visual elements can have a dramatic effect on performance execution, employee morale, and productivity! Your organization needs to pay attention to improving the visual elements it has created – far from simply making the space look better, this will help create an environment of visual stimuli that convey mission and goals, that engender a collaborative attitude, and most important, that cannot be ignored.

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