Take Care of Your People

All of us Public Management Center staff delighted in the opportunity to see the Certified Public Manager participants from the three classes (Topeka, Overland Park, and Hays) together at the networking conference this week. And, as always, we can thank Terri for putting together a series of terrific sessions.

One of these sessions was given by Steve Adukaitis, a retired FEMA manager, who offered his thoughts on leadership lessons from times of crisis that can be applied in our everyday. Among the guidance he offered was “take care of your people.” Steve noted that during the eight months he spent in New Orleans helping recovery after Hurricane Katrina, there were times when the most important role he could play was to check in with his staff about the last time they took a break or had something to eat and insist that they do so when necessary.

Is there any more important reminder during this “Great Recession,” when so many public managers and their staffs are absorbing the workloads of their coworkers who have left due to either layoffs or attrition? There’s so much to be done that it can be easy to lose track of this. But are we all truly living the fact that people are our greatest resources?

For a little inspiration along this line, check out this terrific post by Seth Godin who asks what might change if we all reversed our sense of who works for who in the hierarchy. Click here to read his post. And then we invite you to share what this would change for you in the comments below.