The Trusted Leader: Building the Relationships That Make Government Work


Terry Newell, Grant Reeher & Peter Ronayne

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    Gerald S. Brokaw (BS, psychology and chemistry) is a principal in the Commonwealth Centers for High-Performance Organizations, a management and organizational development consulting network working with executive teams in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors to improve organizational performance and manage large-scale organizational change. He was a managing associate in Coopers & Lybrand's Organizational Change Management Group and the executive director of the Management Technology Corporation. In these capacities he led major improvement initiatives for divisions of General Electric, General Motors, International Paper, Continental Telephone, Honeywell, and the Department of the Navy as well as a variety of other Fortune 100 and Public Sector organizations. Gerry can be reached at

    Lou Carbone (BA, political science) is the founder, president, and chief experience officer of Experience Engineering, a Minneapolis-based experience management firm. He has spent more than two decades in the development of experience value management theory and practice in a broad range of industries, including travel, health care, retail, technology, financial services, manufacturing, and education. He is the author of Clued In: How to Keep Customers Coming Back Again and Again.

    Alfred L. Cooke (PhD, counseling) was most recently the director of the Federal Executive Institute's Center for Organizational Performance. He has been an organization development and human resources specialist for twenty years and focuses on leadership development, organizational consulting, strategic planning, human resources development, learning organizations, corporate university development, training, and program development. He was previously dean of graduate studies and later dean of education at Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan, where he developed new master's degree programs in educational leadership and social justice. Prior to that, he was assistant director of human resources and chief learning officer at Detroit Edison Company. He has also held the position of director of the American University/National Training Laboratory (AU/NTL) master's degree program in organization development and has taught at the university and secondary levels. He recently edited a reference book on human relations training and group facilitation, Reading Book for Human Relations Training, 8th edition for the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science. Al can be reached at

    Grace Cummings (BA, international relations) is the founder of Working with Congress, a company that designs and conducts seminars to help people understand and effectively participate in the legislative process. Since 1995 she has pursued her passion for teaching as an adjunct faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute. She has also served as executive director of the Faith & Politics Institute, chief of staff to Reps. James O. McCrery of Louisiana and John H. Kingston of Georgia, and a consultant and staffer on a variety of political campaigns and public relations efforts. Grace may be reached at

    Dan Fenn Jr. (AM, government and international relations) is adjunct lecturer in executive programs at the Kennedy School of Government and former director of the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, which is part of the National Archives and Records Administration. He was most recently special assistant to the chancellor, University of Massachusetts, Boston. His earlier government experience includes service as a staff assistant to President John F. Kennedy, commissioner and vice chairman of the U.S. Tariff Commission, and special assistant to Sen. Benjamin A. Smith of Massachusetts. He served two terms as a selectman in his hometown of Lexington, Massachusetts, and is the author or editor of numerous books and articles. Dan can be reached at

    Beverly R. Fletcher (EdD, organization development) is a member of the senior faculty at the Federal Executive Institute. Her work focuses on organization development, transformation concepts and applications, and justice issues. Fletcher is the author of several books, one of which—Organization Transformation Theorists and Practitioners: Profiles and Themes—deals with how organizations are facing dynamic forces in the social environment that require them to either transform or cease to exist. Before coming to the institute, Fletcher served as an independent consultant to national and international organizations in leadership, strategic planning, conflict management, team development, executive coaching, and large-scale change. Her graduate-level teaching includes the human relations program at the University of Oklahoma, the management program at the University of Maryland University College, and the business administration and public administration programs at American University in Washington, D.C. Beverly can be reached at

    Gail Funke (PhD, economics) is an executive coach, organization consultant, and specialist in the development and implementation of leadership development programs. Her focus is helping organizations and individuals become maximally effective, particularly in the area of emerging leaders. She conducts teambuilding, delivery of short programs on preferences, decision-making, conflict management, and other sessions. She consults to individuals and organizations on outcome and performance-based issues, including resource allocation under constraint, strategic planning, and organizational change. Gail was senior faculty and dean for program and faculty development at the Federal Executive Institute for twelve years, where she also conducted the first government-wide international federal executive program, partnering with Johns Hopkins University and Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. In the policy analysis realm, she has worked internationally and in public sector agencies in over 40 states, examining the system and economic implications of policy decisions. Gail can be reached at

    Thomas A. Gordon (PhD, developmental psychology) is a licensed psychologist, leadership coach, and organizational effectiveness consultant. He directs TAGA Consulting, a leadership solutions and change strategy firm that delivers systemic assessment, training, executive teaming, conflict resolution, process innovation, and diversity integration services nationwide. He helps clients to anticipate and respond decisively to complex, paradigm and process challenges, design high performance goals, develop the accountabilities to achieve them, and establish the systems to track and reinforce their progress. His faculty affiliations have included the University of Michigan, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Antioch College, Goddard College, Medical University of South Carolina, Federal Executive Institute, and University of Pennsylvania. He embraces cross-cultural collaboration, travel, and exchange; speaks Spanish and Swahili; has coached youth basketball; plays tenor saxophone; and mentors rising social science and business professionals. Tom can be reached at

    Len Kill Kelley (MA, political science and public administration) is an adjunct faculty member of the Federal Executive Institute. He has held leadership, management, and policy development positions in the Federal government and was a member of the Senior Executive Service. His responsibilities have included assignments with the Department of the Navy, the Defense Logistics Agency, the U.S. General Accountability Office, the Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and the National Security Council. Len can be reached at

    Russ Linden (PhD, organizational leadership) is a management educator and author who specializes in organizational change and performance issues in the public and nonprofit sectors. He has his own consulting firm and is an adjunct faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute and the University of Virginia, where he teaches leadership classes to government executives. His research and teaching interests include collaborating across organizational boundaries, creating customer-focused organizations, and managing relationships in the workplace. His most recent book is Working Across Boundaries. Russ can be reached at

    Allison Linney (MBA, general management) is the president of Allison Partners, an organizational development consultancy in Charlottesville, VA founded on the belief that people are at the core of an organization's success, and has served as an adjunct faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute. As a consultant and professional coach, she serves individual, corporate, non-profit and government clients seeking to integrate human performance theory and business strategy. Her expertise spans communication strategy and implementation, leadership development, organizational structure, group facilitation, training design, project management, change management, and process engineering. In addition, she has significant field experience in diversity and has developed strategies and conducted training programs to help foster diversity within teams and organizations. Allison can be reached at

    Robert Maranto (PhD, political science) is the 21st Century Chair in Leadership at the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas and previously taught at numerous institutions including Villanova University and the Federal Executive Institute. In concert with others he has written or edited ten scholarly books, including Beyond a Government of Strangers. Bob recently coedited two books about groupthink, The Politically Correct University, which appeals to conservatives, and Judging Bush (2009), which appeals to liberals. Bob serves under April Gresham Maranto, Tony Maranto (b. 1999), and Maya Maranto (b. 2004). Bob can be reached at

    George Mitchell (MA, economic and political science) is a PhD candidate in political science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where he is also a research assistant with the Transnational NGO Initiative in the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs. He has been a research analyst in Dubai, UAE, a consultant in Washington, D.C., and a teaching associate, research assistant and Goekjain scholar in Syracuse, NY. His current research, based on data from the Transnational NGO Interview Project, combines exploratory statistics and computer-aided qualitative analysis to understand how transnational NGO leaders conceptualize their organizations' roles in world affairs. George may be reached at

    Kristina Energia Naranjo-Rivera (MPA and MAIR) is a graduate research assistant at the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC) at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She has held leadership positions in the Coalition of Multicultural Public Affairs Students, Women's Caucus, and International Relations Students Association. In addition, she has worked with organizations including the Harlem Children's Zone, Inwood House, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative. She has authored and coauthored several articles; many draw on experiences studying or working in Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Uganda and the UK. Energia can be reached at

    Terry Newell (EdD, educational administration) is president of his own firm, Leadership for a Responsible Society, and an adjunct faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute and the University of Virginia. He previously served as dean of faculty at the institute and in that capacity was responsible for its four-week, interagency Leadership for a Democratic Society program for senior federal government officials. In his twenty years at the U.S. Department of Education, he worked on educational innovation in elementary and secondary schools and higher education; he also served as director of training. His most recent work has focused on ethics and values-based leadership. Newell's publications have addressed values and ethics in leadership, organizational change, the future and its implications for leadership, and diversity and its effects on organizations and leaders. Terry can be reached at

    John W. Pickering (PhD, American government and public administration) is a principal in the Commonwealth Centers for High-Performance Organizations, a management and organizational development consulting network working with executive teams in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors to improve organizational performance and manage large-scale organizational change. He served as deputy director and a senior faculty member of the Federal Executive Institute; was an executive with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and taught political science and public administration at Lamar University, Florida State University, and Memphis State University. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute and the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. John may be reached at

    Michael Rawlings (JD) is a senior faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute where he directs the institute's Center for Global Leadership and teaches conflict management and collaborative problem solving, American cultural studies, diversity and leadership, and international affairs. His federal career has included service at the Department of Homeland Security, the Interior Department, and Captain, U.S. Army JAG Corps at NATO headquarters. He has taught at the University of Richmond and the European Business School. A member of the Virginia Bar since 1986, he holds certifications at all levels of mediation practice with the Supreme Court of Virginia's Office of Dispute Resolution. He is a graduate of the University of Richmond, the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General school, and The College of William & Mary where he is on the Board of Directors of Swem Library and was formerly a Board member of the Gay and Lesbian Alumni association. He has published widely in the field of conflict competence, and as an Accredited Genealogist® he has assisted the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force in locating next of kin and mitochondrial DNA matches for more than 500 KIAs from 20th century wars. Michael can be reached at

    Ron Redmon (MA, public administration) has had a highly successful private practice as a leadership coach and consultant for the past fifteen years, following his career as a federal executive. His clients have included cabinet secretaries in the federal government and corporate chief executives. He serves on the adjunct faculty of the Federal Executive Institute, where he has taught coaching to approximately 1,000 government leaders. In addition, he has designed and delivered some of the institute's most well-regarded customized leadership development programs. Previously, he served for six years as the senior leadership coach for the Excellence in Government Fellows program of the Council for Excellence in Government in Washington, D.C. His training and development as a coach have been with most of the premier contributors to the field, supplemented by continuous learning in the fields of dialogue, general semantics, human dynamics, and systems theory. Ron can be reached at

    Grant Reeher (PhD, political science) is director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, where he is also a professor of political science. He is on the adjunct faculty at the Federal Executive Institute. He is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of numerous books, including First Person Political: Legislative Life and the Meaning of Public Service and coauthor of Click on Democracy: The Internet's Power to Change Political Apathy into Civic Action. He has also published many editorial essays on various political topics, including pieces in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, Ottawa Citizen, and regularly in the Syracuse Post-Standard. In addition, he is host of a regional NPR public affairs show, “The Campbell Conversations,” on the WRVO stations, and publisher of the public affairs blog, ReeherWindow. Grant can be reached at

    Debra Robinson (MA, applied management) has been a senior faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute. She was formerly the director of executive programs at FEI, directing the operations and design of the Leadership for a Democratic Society and short open enrollment programs. Debra came to FEI from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General where she served in a variety of senior leadership positions during her 25 year tenure. Debra specializes in individual and organizational assessments and frequently runs workshops for intact teams. She is currently in the process of earning her coaching certification from The Newfield Network. Debra graduated summa cum laude from Clemson University with a BA degree in English. She earned her masters from the University of Maryland. Debra can be reached at

    Peter Ronayne, (PhD, international relations) is a senior faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute. He formerly directed FEI's flagship Leadership for a Democratic Society program, cofounded FEI's Center for Global Leadership, and launched FEI's Leadership Horizons Series for the Senior Executive Service. He joined FEI after studying, teaching, and researching at the University of Virginia. Pete is a leading voice in the public sector on generational and demographic issues and their impact on leadership and organizations. He also writes, researches, and speaks widely on issues of global leadership, neuroscience and leadership, and the future of public service and governance. A former presidential management fellow, Pete is an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia where he teaches undergraduate courses in world politics, diplomatic history, and leadership. Pete can be reached at


    We know from our personal lives that relationships are central to our well-being. This fact is no less true in government. Viewed from the outside, government is a complex set of structures, regulations, and programs. On the inside, it takes good relationships fostered by the people working there for government to function well. And even though good relationships alone cannot restore the trust in government that has been lost in recent years, they are essential to its revival. Strengthening those relationships is the subject of this book.

    Because this volume is about relationships, we seek to have a productive one with you, the reader, and we employ several devices toward this end. First, the chapters are designed to stand on their own, so you may read them in any order you wish. Second, a “headnote” has been added to each chapter to assist you in understanding its focus and contents. Third, the chapters conclude with sections providing useful tips for leadership success and resources for further learning. Fourth, because the best relationships are reciprocal, we invite you to contact us—using our e-mail addresses below—with your own stories about the importance of building relationships in government, the tips and techniques you have learned from your own practice, and ideas about what additional questions we should address in this book in the future. Every book on this topic is a single snapshot of best thinking and practice. With your help (and some luck in sales) we can make future editions even better through our relationship with you.

    Max De Pree, former CEO of Herman Miller, a popular office furniture company also noted for its dedication to ecodesign and building a high-commitment work culture, once said, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor.” To the extent we have defined reality in this book, we owe thanks and are indebted to many who made it possible. This book would not exist without the contributions of the chapter authors, and so we thank them first. Second, we thank the thousands of public leaders, at all levels of government, who not only have taught our authors the lessons contained in these pages but also serve as successful daily reminders of how, at its best, government works for the American people. These dedicated civil servants have earned our trust, our respect, and our great admiration.

    We thank the faculty and staff of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Federal Executive Institute (FEI), whose behavior toward each other and the career government leaders they educate has, for forty-two years, built trust and relationships and supplied the inspiration for this book.

    Charisse Kiino at CQ Press has been a splendid editor, supportive and directive in turn and in combination, as the situation demanded. The quality of the book was greatly enhanced by the excellent editorial work of Belinda Josey, Nancy Loh, and Jon Preimesberger, as well as by the marketing assistance of Chris O'Brien. Laura Webb's expert proofreading and Scott Smiley's comprehensive indexing further strengthened the quality of this work. We also thank Matthew Guardino for helping to proofread the manuscript. We thank the two reviewers of our proposal for this second edition, Kurt Fenske, Northern Arizona University-Yuma Branch Campus and Margaret Hopkins, University of Toledo. We thank the Campbell Institute for access to its polling data on American views of federal civil servants.

    Finally, each of us thanks the other two for their dedication and their bonhomie, and each of us also has a special thank you to offer:

    To Carol, my teacher and role model on how to build relationships and trust—and who has shown me the power of both to foster success in life and work;

    To the memory of David Reeher, modeler of quiet and trusted leadership;

    To Vincent and Claire Ronayne, who lived and taught a lifetime's worth of trust and service.
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