Term Paper: Change Leading Effective Public Policy

Pages: 8 (2433 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Leadership  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Merely being charismatic or having a big, striking idea is not enough: there must be technical competence and awareness behind the leader's proposal for pioneering, radical change -- and this is borne of education both inside the classroom as well as outside of it.

Confidence -- real confidence -- comes from competence, but the ability to achieve competence requires awareness of one's own potential. A confident person must be able to believe his or her career and education is worth investing in, and understands that that sharpening his or her skill set means that every day on the job is part of the active learning process. Doing what worked twenty years ago, even doing what worked yesterday will not necessarily work today.

The must also be a willingness to seek out and learn from others. As Quinn says so eloquently, "Isolated and insulated people cannot succeed at motivating others" (Quinn 1996: 200). At the beginning of his or her career, confident employee looks for mentors and believes he or she is worthy of being mentored. Success is not viewed as something that falls into one's lap or simply by following a rulebook but something that can be achieved with hard work -- and that means hard work examining the self as well as in the actual workplace. Over time, the employee seeks to learn more and more and eventually mentors others.

The type of 'deep change' called upon by Quinn requires executives to fundamentally 'excavate' within themselves and to question conventional notions of what it means to be competent to be able to enact the deep change called upon for organizations. Confidence is more than a firm handshake but also means confidence in the self to respond to the environment with determination when necessary and to seek out help when necessary. Competence is linked to this same kind of intuitive understanding, although it is always fused with practical knowledge of the field. The good leader thus develops emotional and interpersonal intelligence to be better able to act at the maximum extent of his or her capabilities on every level -- both the surface and also on a 'deep' level.

How can I increase my own sense of self-determination and choice?

When working for a government bureaucracy, it is very easy to be moved by events, the actions of other agencies, and the constraints of red tape rather than a mover in and of one's self. However, every action an employee makes is a choice -- whether for the good or ill. Even the decision to stay in the organization is a choice, and once that choice is made, there must be a commitment to align one's own processes and actions with that of the vision the organization serves "A visionary leader delves into the core of the organization" (Quinn 1996: 200). A leader understands his or her role in shaping the organization, even while admitting that the organization's mission is something bigger than his or her ego or personal desires.

Even when given directives by others, the manner in which a true leader executes those decisions can be influenced by the value of self-determination. A leader can seek out input from fellow employees and also the workers who are affected by the decision. He or she can seek out information beyond the immediate data available. The leader is able to engage in productive dialogue with higher-ups and subordinates, thus taking control of the evolution of how decisions are orchestrated.

Change is necessary but how that change evolves is always a choice. For example, in response to the housing crisis, HUD has considered opening "government-owned foreclosed properties to house the homeless" and "expanding rental home development include the adoption of regulatory strategies such as reduced impact fees for developers of affordable rental units, inclusionary zoning ordinances, lease-purchase agreements, and shared-equity homeownership" (Responding to the housing crisis, 2010, HUD). Expanding affordable housing to homeless and low-income populations remains a challenge, but rather than doing 'more of the same' it is vital to keep all options on the table.

Self-determination and personal choice is not mutually exclusive to working with others. In fact, Quinn encourages leaders to actively expand one's perceived choices through dialogue with others, both within and without of the organization. It is stasis that must be guarded against, or a sense that one can only respond to external pressures, not have an effect upon them. It may be necessary to seek out other change-friendly people to get things done. A general mindset that no 'sacred cows' (as Quinn calls them) can be questioned can hamper individual innovation, but once a few individuals band together to make the choice to change, then anything is possible. Groupthink is the enemy of change, because groupthink inevitably states that there are no new possibilities and doing things the same way is the 'safe' way.

But while change is collective, the easiest way to begin change is to begin with the individual level and then use the sense of radical self-examination and self-knowledge to propel organizational growth. It is ideal when the CEO or head of the department takes such a personal, self-examining approach but sometimes it is necessary for lower-level employees to do so from their relative positions of power. Every worker has the responsibility to make independent, positive choices as much as possible.

References

Quinn, R. (1996). Deep change. Jossey-Bass.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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