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Federal Coach: Taking measure of success

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What are the measures of success for a leader? — Federal manager from the U.S. Department of the Air Force

While the specific approach will vary based on a federal leader’s agency, position, and personal and professional goals, I believe there are three broad measures of success that a leader can use: program measures, people measures and personal measures.

Program measures

Although it can be difficult, you need to capture your team’s results. As a federal leader, it’s important that you and your team are delivering the very best results possible for the American public — whether you are managing research and analysis, customer service or regulation.

In addition to your team’s primary outcomes, consider examining your team’s operational efficiency using measures such as on-time and on-budget delivery of your work. This information will not only tell you whether you’re doing a good job, but it will help you make the same case to your senior leaders and external stakeholders.

People measures

Too often leaders overlook ways to measure employee satisfaction, commitment and engagement at work in favor of program measures. While program measures may capture the attention of your agency’s senior leaders, inspectors general, the Government Accountability Office and Congress, it’s important to remember that good government starts with good people. If you want to deliver program results, you need to put your people first.

There are some pretty good people measures that you can use, including the Office of Personnel Management’s annual survey of federal employees and the Partnership for Public Service’s Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings. Both provide insights into employee engagement and satisfaction, and the workforce views of agency leadership.

You also can use a 360-degree assessment, which is a targeted, anonymous survey collecting feedback from your employees, colleagues and superiors. This is a particularly helpful tool since it measures both the strength of your working relationship with employees and with some of your key stakeholders. As a federal leader you need to be aware of your employees’ and colleagues’ perceptions of you and the organization, as effective leadership requires building working relationships with others, persuading them to support your initiatives and using your personal credibility to overcome obstacles.

Personal measures

Part of being a good leader is being a good person — to yourself, your friends and family, and your colleagues. It’s vital to your health and your effectiveness as a leader that you find the time to refresh yourself, whether it’s through exercise, a hobby, a vacation or a combination. By taking time to have better work-life balance, you are not only helping yourself as a leader, but you are also sending a positive message to your employees about the importance of finding balance in their lives.

Federal leaders, how do you measure your success as a leader? Please share your ideas and post your ideas below, or e-mail me at fedcoach@ourpublicservice.org.

The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and The Washington Post’s On Leadership site produce the Federal Coach , hosted by Tom Fox, director of the partnership’s Center for Government Leadership. The goal is to “engage, inspire and learn from you, the federal worker, whether you are a new hire, a contractor or a manager at the highest level.”

On Leadership: The Federal Coach

Excerpt from views.washingtonpost.com/leadership/fedcoach

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