The more authority you’ve been given, the wider your scope of impact on improving the system. The bigger your role, the greater the positive result you can have on employees and improving ‘the system.’
The system definitely plays a role; and at no time does its impact feel stronger than when you are immersed in it. The system actually has a feel to it. It lives. It breathes on you. You feel surrounded by nameless layers of approval, endless lists of procedures and countless FTEs (Full-Time Equivalents) who can’t answer your questions. The system is real, there’s no doubt about that, but it is as real as the people who inhabit it and it can be changed.
I am not referring to the power you may or may not have in your title, but in your people. Your impact will always be the greatest with your employees. The most positive thing you can do as a manager in the public service is to inspire, motivate and communicate with your employees to the point where they feel satisfied at work.
Don't be afraid.
This role is not one you have been encouraged to play. Perhaps verbally you’ve been encouraged to do so but in reality, you’ve seen mixed messages. You’ve read the body language. You’ve seen the behaviour of your superiors; you’ve figured out that a manager must say how important good communications is, but oddly must only pass on certain pieces of appropriately-deemed information at the appropriate time. You are constantly told you must communicate with your employees and you must do it well. What if you have nothing to say at the moment? Perhaps you’re waiting to be inspired?
As a supervisor, middle manager, senior manager, director, executive or whatever your title, your ability to play that critical communications and leadership role for your employees will determine whether or not there is significant progress in the Government of Canada. If you have the will, the persistence (or patience) and the courage, you can improve the lives of government employees and in turn you can improve the lives of Canadians.
So the centre of this blog is not about the gap between managers and employees of the public service. It’s about what can happen in the Government of Canada when managers like you own the process and the results.
Improving internal communications in the federal public service is not a field or subject area that is saturated. While writers have covered topics such as leadership, management and business transformation in public sector organizations, which does get into communications and engagement, no one has ever focused solely on Internal Communications in the Government of Canada in an independent way.
I want to show employees, potential government communicators, consultants and senior managers inside and outside of government that it is possible to work around some aspects of the infrastructure in place, but only if people accept new ways of working and if the culture can shift.
I believe managers are willing to consider options for improving their internal communications at every level of government and in private companies, but are you willing to act on these possibilities?