Caring Federal Leaders Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1726 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Military

Caring Federal Leaders (Diss. Proposal)

Caring Federal Leaders: Building a Caring Federal Family through Bereavement Acknowledgement

Florence (Last Name)

An applied dissertation proposal presented to the Program for the Degree of Doctor of 2005 (or 2005)

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The horror of the terrorist attacks that took place on United States soil, on September 11, 2001, with American airplanes used as missiles to attack the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., will long remain in the hearts and minds of Americans. On that day, what impressed me most, in a personal sense, was the caring attitude that I saw being exhibited by certain branches of the United States federal government, particularly the support for military personnel who had lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks. The losses of September 11, 200l resonate personally, as well, because a friend of mine lost his finance at the Pentagon. I happened to see this person a few days before the scheduled funeral ceremony, and a Military Guard at his side escorted him for that entire weekend. The guard was there to comfort him, and to attend to his every need in his time of loss and bereavement. Members of the military and families of military personnel are aware that, should their family lose a loved one the military itself will be there to offer sympathy, support, and comfort during their time of greatest loss: that is the military's way of honoring the life of a loved one that is gone home to be with the Lord. Additionally, the military employs individuals whose job it is to attend funerals of its former personnel.

Term Paper on Caring Federal Leaders Assignment

As I heard more and more stories about the heroic efforts of September 11, I was happy about the bereavement procedures of the military, yet saddened because it appeared that only military personnel receive credit, in terms of bereavement acknowledgement, for putting their lives at risk each day, though many others who work for the United States government do so as well. It is often forgotten, for instance, that federal employees serve the public each day, and that many, depending on their type of work, also place their lives in jeopardy, as does the military, for our country. Granted, most federal government employees do not go to war to defend our country each day, but they do travel to places like Afghanistan to ensure that, for example, behind the scenes operations are in place for our troops, or to other remote places to ensure the safety of our traveling public. Many federal employees are therefore unsung (and completely unknown) heroes to the American public. Like those in the military, federal employees can and do lose their lives in service to United States government. For example a federal employee was recently attacked, while traveling to address security issues at a government agency. In various parts of the world, United States federal employees, face bomb threats and other serious threats to their lives and well-being on a daily basis. Unacknowledged, then, in terms of any kind of bereavement acknowledgement at the federal level, are those millions of federal employees who, like military personnel, put their lives at stake for the public welfare.

Statement of the Problem

The problem is that organized bereavement acknowledgement, like that automatically given United States military personnel and their families upon the death of a loved one, is currently not offered, in any equivalent way, to federal employees outside the military, including those federal workers who, like military personnel, regularly place their lives in danger in service to the United States. The most tragic time in any person's life comes with the loss of a loved one; therefore, federal agencies, and those leading those agencies, might now create bereavement policies and accommodations that are currently lacking for non-military federal personnel, thereby increasing the sense, of those working within those agencies and their families, of the caring, as leaders, of those who their federal government workplaces. Such future policies would offer comfort and support to bereaved personnel and their families, in their time of greatest loss and sadness, by adopting specific bereavement policies and procedures equivalent, in their own way appropriate to the particular government agency or entity, to those of the military.

The military alone has a host of regulations regarding its funeral procedures. When military personnel pass, there are both federal laws and formal procedures in place to acknowledge their loss and their contributions (38 U.S.C. 112). Two military officers are sent to the funeral; taps is played, often a 21-gun salute is given; a flag is given to the closest survivor; and even a certificate, signed by the President, is given to the family. Conversely, however, the federal government as a whole currently has no laws or policies whatsoever in place to acknowledge a similar passing of a federal employee. The federal government does authorize use of sick leave to attend a family member's funeral, and procedures are delineated for funerals of law enforcement officers, relatives in the armed services, and veterans, although not for any other federal employees.

Federal leaders could greatly enhance current perceptions of the level of their concern for their employees by putting into place specific bereavement acknowledgement procedures, appropriate to their respective government agencies and type of work, that would effectively acknowledge, as they currently do not, losses to the agency, and to the loved ones of the deceased personnel, for the following reasons:

Traditionally, more federal employees than military employees die annually with the exception of wartime)

Federal employees are civil servants whose lives are at risk each day employment

Statistics show that federal employees also die for the public

Statistics show that employees value and appreciate caring attitudes in leaders

Federal employees and their families are not now acknowledged in their bereavement, as are military employees

Managers of federal agencies can enhance the perception of caring about the feelings of employees of those agencies who loved ones, and their families

Theoretical Presuppositions

Traditionally, management teaches leaders to be cool, aloof, and analytical, i.e., to separate their emotions from their work. However, in actual workplace settings, leaders and employees alike admire leaders who not only provide direction and inspiration, but who possess certain personality characteristics and emotional capacities, including passion, elation, intensity, kindness, and caring. Among the many attributes of admired leaders is the perceived capacity to care about others. To caring is to be concerned about another's comfort, happiness, progress, or well-being, and take steps to ensure it. In short, to care about another human being, be it a peer, a subordinate, or another, is to genuinely understand, and to sympathize with, that person's emotional state of joy, despair, etc.

A key strength of the founders of Christianity, Jesus and the Disciples, and one maintained by effective Christian leaders today, and that has likely allowed Christianity to spread and flourish worldwide to the extent that it has, is that while other religions back in Christ's day may have appeared cold or indifferent to the suffering of average individuals, Jesus and his Disciples let their followers know that they sincerely cared for them, and cared about their lives, problems, and overall welfare, spiritual and otherwise. Jesus was, in fact, one of the most caring leaders who ever lived. He wept when he saw that Lazarus had died (John 11:25-36). From biblical times to modern ones, then, individuals of all sorts: in the workplace, within the family, within churches, clubs and organizations, and elsewhere, have enthusiastically followed leaders, within those spheres, who they felt cared about them as individuals, and not just in terms of their usefulness or productivity. The cliche "They don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care" is not in fact a mere empty cliche: caring about one's employees, and having a caring attitude about others in general, fosters more workplace and other loyalties, and (in the workplace in particular) yields better results than cold, unfeeling exhortations to simply do or produce more. The most common pitfalls of leaders have been found to be, in fact, "insensitivity to others, abrasiveness, intimidating, coldness, aloofness, and arrogance" (Woolfe (2002) p. )

According to Pascarella (1999) p. ), there are three key reasons to care for each other, inside and outside the workplace. First, "Caring is good for us. In fact, it is natural to the human species." Second, caring "generates a power of its own. The power can be a source of energy for the individual as well as the organization." Thirdly, caring relationships at work "make work more fun." And, as Colin Powell states (Harari (2002) p. ): "If the troops are cold, you're cold, but make sure you don't look cold or act cold." Corporate and government leaders might do well to reflect on that statement. Powell adds, "Too often those at high levels don't quite understand the sacrifices and hardships of those at the bottom" (p. ) Colin Powell calls this a shared sacrifice, and shared sacrifice is a… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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