Leadership In My Internship | #5

I am in a unique position to comment on leadership due to my internship experience. That is because my organization, The Partnership for Public Service, is, in large part, tasked with creating better leaders in the federal government. Although as a Research and Evaluation Intern I do not run the programs, our leadership training programs for federal employees up and down the federal hierarchy are central to our mission. As such, I have learned a great deal about leadership due to my proximity to this work and the ways leadership has featured in my own work. The most important lesson I have learned is that leadership is as much about knowing when to delegate, step back, or follow as it is about leading from the front. Forcing people to follow your own vision is usually an ineffective way of bringing about change. Seeking out consensus and agreement, in a democratic fashion, is central to effective leadership. This requires relinquishing the leadership role to create an environment of equality between individuals. Within this environment, individual ideas and insights are more readily shared and seized upon by the group, as opposed to having a single individual control group discourse. This means that a leader must be humble, non-controlling, and most importantly open to new ideas and opinions. It is that trait that I have found to be the key to the most effective leadership throughout the projects that I have worked on. Though I cannot comment on specifics for one of my projects, I can say that those federal agencies that have made the greatest innovations and advances in their internal operations are those that have had leaders who are open to ideas from employees and those on the front-lines for how to improve their working conditions and processes.

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