June 2017
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The Public Manager

Learn How to Be a Better Manager Now

Friday, June 9, 2017

During a January 2017 segment on Federal News Radio's Federal Drive, Margot Conrad, director of education and outreach at the Partnership for Public Service, offered advice on how managers can re-engage with their workforce. Specifically, she advised managers to recognize employees, and not necessarily with money. Regular pulse surveys can give leaders and managers feedback on what employees are thinking and feeling; managers then can act on what is within their control. Finally, managers should invest in their employees' growth. Such investment doesn't need to be training—it could be development projects.


To assist managers in learning how to coach frontline managers, the Association for Talent Development is sponsoring a LearnNow event titled "Developing the High-Performance Manager." Based on the ACCEL Model, a framework of five overarching skills that effective managers employ, the conference will help managers identify ways to overcome barriers that prevent them from developing their direct reports and design a customized program to teach frontline managers how to do so.

The ACCEL Model includes these elements:

  • Accountability: This skill refers to performance management and delegating responsibility to direct reports.
  • Collaboration: Collaboration means creating an environment and culture of teamwork.
  • Communication: In addition to the exchange of information, communication involves a willingness to engage in conversations—disciplinary, coaching, and praise—with employees, even when these conversations are uncomfortable.
  • Engagement: This management ability includes motivating, inspiring, and involving direct reports.
  • Listening and Assessing: Finally, listening and assessing involves the information-gathering, critical-thinking, and processing skills managers need when interacting with direct reports.

"Developing the High-Performance Manager" will be held in Arlington, Virginia, July 20 and 21. It will be facilitated by Hunter Haines and Rayna Schroeder. Schroeder has extensive experience with federal government clients, as well as those from the military, corporate, and nonprofit sectors. Haines is a certified coach who helps organizations maximize the positive impact of managers and leaders on individual, team, and organizational performance.
In her ATD blog post, "So You Think You're a Good Manager? Think Again," Haines advises managers to increase effectiveness using these steps:

  • Recognize your impact. As a manager, your behavior has a great deal of impact on your direct reports' performance. "Effective leadership is active," writes Haines.
  • Clarify expectations. Employees want clarity around what it takes to be successful. Provide guidance through regular discussions.
  • Provide feedback. Far too frequently, both in our professional and personal lives, we receive feedback only when we make a mistake. As a manager, "let [employees] know when they are doing something well."
  • Coach employees when needed. Share your expertise with your direct reports. And listen to their concerns.
  • Identify your leadership strengths and developmental opportunities. A 360 assessment is one way of doing this. Once you've reviewed the assessment, you can create an action plan to further your own growth.

The conference will consist of group activities, large-group discussion, and reflection and action planning.

About the Author

Patty Gaul is a senior writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

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