Leaders and Managers

“Lead by example.” Dr. Richard Greggory Johnson III

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Richard Callahan: I really rely heavily on Warren Bennis’s distinction between leaders and managers, where he says, “leaders do the right thing, managers do things the right way”. You need to have both. There’s a wide range of people that can succeed as leaders in public administration and as manager. Have the ability to not listen simply to whoever is talking the loudest but structure decision making processes so that the people who are well informed about their community, about their work are accounted for an listened to in the decision making processes.

Dr. Catherine Horiuchi: A great leader has the ability to see far into the future. And then also to convey that vision to the people that he or she would like to follow them. They do a lot of listening; they formulate questions that allow people to express their deepest desires and needs. And managers differ from leaders because they often take the vision that they get from their leadership and learn to make those things happen with the resources that they have at hand.

Without understanding other people we can’t communicate, we can’t possibly say we are governing for the public good. In our curriculum we try to make sure that our students learn where we’ve had success in translating across many cultures and interest and also learn where we’ve fallen short.

I don’t believe it’s just because we speak the same language, we understand each other and there are so many words that don’t mean the same thing to all kinds of people. We shouldn’t be having children translating for their parents in court or hospitals. And we really need to make sure that every family has the supports it needs to succeed.

Richard Callahan: Two very key features in public administration: the ability to ask good questions so that you have powerful listening, and the ability to meet people where they’re at, in their point in their life.

Dr. Johnson, III: It is very important. There’s no going back, it’s here to stay.

Richard Callahan: Complexities and problems in the public sector really defy answers from only one point of view so the idea of bringing together diverse professions, diverse academic disciplines, diverse communities, diverse people; that’s at the core of what public administration does well.

Dr. Johnson, III: Diversity is something that we can’t do without these days. But it has to be more than just a tag line, it has to be something that’s engrained in the culture.

Dr. Catherine Horiuchi: We’ve learned from the environmental science, that biodiversity is an end in itself. We may not know what every plant or animal does, in terms of service to the world at large, but we’ve decided that each and every one of them is important. Similarly in a workforce every single element of our work force is an essential component to making an organization successful. For example, women make up about half of the world’s population, and yet in many workforces they are grossly under-represented. That means that there is a real strong chance that, that organization will be unsuccessful in meeting the needs of that key demographic.

Dr. Johnson, III: Lead by example. To set policies within that organization that will benefit everyone in the organization, but certainly those groups that have been historically marginalized, to not titivate any type of, sort of, emails for example that may have raciest jokes or sexist jokes, or homophobic jokes, or whatever the case is, should not only do it because those things could come to life, but because he or she feels that diversity is good for the environment, it’s good for the organization.

Dr. Catherine Horiuchi: One of the first jobs many junior planners will have is running a public meeting about some hot topic in a neighborhood. And they can guarantee that every view point will be represented at that meeting. It’s very important that people learn how to listen to the diversities of people, and learn how to facilitate discussions across those needs. So that people can look at the world as a place that contains many common elements. And those common elements need to be managed together for our mutual benefit.

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