Qualities of a Successful Leader

The qualities that make a successful leader in public administration today are often contemplated. How can we effectively create teams that function almost effortlessly to accomplish the task at hand? I believe that the most effective way to build successful organizations is by creating employee confidence through competence.

As leaders in public administration, we should strive to be extremely competent in our craft. We should be subject-matter experts in the field of public administration that we work in. We should never miss an opportunity to brush up on an old skill, sign up for a new class or discuss work strategies with our peers. Just because we have settled into a position (let’s say a middle-management position) doesn’t mean that we can’t use every  day to refine our skills or learn something new. A day that passes without learning something is truly a day wasted.

As we become more competent leaders, our employees will (hopefully) become more competent as well. A team that has faith in the ability of its leader will work much more effectively than one that doubts the leader’s abilities. Competent leaders create a working environment in which other employees will operate with a higher level of confidence. Trusting in the abilities of the leader, employees will be more likely to ask questions and seek guidance in areas where they are weaker. This quest for workplace knowledge would occur less often if the employees did not have confidence in the capabilities of their leader.

The key to creating an environment that fosters questions and learning is by creating confidence through competence. We should always seek to become subject-matter experts in our respective fields. When our employees look to us, they should have no doubt that we will be able to answer their questions or offer them the required guidance they need to be successful.

If we create an environment in our organizations that promote the image of constant learning and skill refining, it will trickle down to our employees and ensure that environment for the future. Maintaining the status quo is wasting the future potential of our employees and ourselves. Leaders in public administration should always strive to learn something new.

Get out there and learn! Build confidence through competence.


Submitted by Stephan Barnes. Contact: smb0035@tigermail.auburn.edu.

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