Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Creating Passion and Soul in Public Service. (Leadership Training Institute)

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Creating Passion and Soul in Public Service. (Leadership Training Institute)

Article excerpt

Heart and soul, passion and spirit, artistry and a balanced life are the essential components of high performing public leaders. Elected officials and municipal workers are battered constantly by the increasing number of stakeholders demanding the conflicting goals of "do more with less" and "provide more services for my group or neighborhood."

The result can be a stressed and burned out public workforce or can be the wake-up call for change and "creating passion and soul in public leadership."

Organizational consultant and poet David Whyte fears that the traditional workplace creates an environment where "the pressured child becomes the hurried student and finally the harassed manager," where the "sound and fury of an individual's creative life are the elemental waters missing from the dehydrated work day."

The antidote to these dire prophesies is to change the leadership paradigm from the worship of command and control to that of activating the heart and soul of employees in a municipal workforce that stimulates the individuals passion and spirit in the provision of public service.

Employee retention is the key to 21st Century organizational productivity. The stakes are high and the statistics are frightening. There simply are not enough qualified new workers coming into the workforce to replace those that are leaving, regardless of the economy. Seventy-six million Baby Boomers are beginning to retire with only 51 million Generation Xers born to replace them!

The issue is already dire. More than 50 percent of workers expect to leave their jobs in less than five years and the occupational half-life, or length of time that skills remain viable, has gone from 15 years in 1970 to less than three years today. The city of 2002 and beyond must attract, retain and continually motivate and inspire the most talented workers available. …

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