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FCW : August 30, 2013
24 August 30, 2013 FCW.COM Yo u r Career petencies include motivating subordinates, fostering teamwork, making decisions, building consensus, evaluating performance and solving problems. "No one gets Ph.D.s in leadership," Persons said. "You may know Unix better, but that doesn t mean you know how to proj- ect manage." Furthermore, when you train with a group, you gain a powerful network to help you and your agency, and you have an opportu- nity to participate in cross-agency projects that might be more complex than anything you ve managed previously. "Networking sounds bad, but there s nothing wrong with know- ing quality people you can go to for help and advice," said Ressler, who participated in ACT-IAC s Voyagers Program when he was an IT auditor at the Department of Homeland Security. "I met 20 awesome, smart people who were passionate about doing cool things in public service." Sometimes the results of training can be unexpected. Han- cher was surprised that the Federal Executive Institute focused so strongly on work/life balance and community service. "In the SES, you ve got a lot of pressure on you," she said. "You really have to pay attention to your whole you and set the model of balancing work and life and physical tness and being a well-rounded person. As a public servant and a leader in gov- ernment, you have to set that model for your staff." Coaching: Getting out of your comfort zone As you go higher up the pyramid, you will likely nd it help- ful to work with an executive coach. Experts say you should go into the experience with an open mind and a willingness to hear hard truths. "I knew it on an intellectual level that I was going to have to stretch, but when you actually nd yourself with a coach who puts up that mirror, that was a surprise," said Ulmer, who interviewed several coaches before nding the right t. "It s uncomfortable, but that s how you know you re getting your money s worth." It s important to understand your purpose or goal when you go into coaching, and it should be targeted and strategic, Grunin said. Ulmer agreed, saying, "A good coach is with you for a sea- son. It s not a multiyear engagement." In his rst line-management position, his coach helped him gure out how to talk to a speci c individual, when to push and when to pull back, and how to improve relationships for the long term. After all, to be a powerful and effective leader, you need to get out of your comfort zone. The rst step might be seeking training and coaching opportunities during tight budget times. "You own your own career," Grunin said. "Don t expect because you work for the government that you should be satis ed with what you know and what you can do and your skills. You need to develop yourself." ■ You really have to pay attention to your whole you and set the model of balancing work and life and physical tness and being a well-rounded person. --- KIMBERLY HANCHER
August 15, 2013
September 15, 2013