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Advice for dealing with new political appointees in your agency

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Tom Fox is a guest writer of the Washington Post's Federal Coach blog and vice president for leadership and innovation at the Partnership for Public Service. Fox also heads up the Partnership's Center for Government Leadership.

With the start of President Obama's second term, many political appointees have already departed or soon will be leaving -- and their replacements slowly but surely will be arriving to take over key management positions.

This is always an unsettling time for career executives who must manage operations during the hiatus, and then adjust to any changes that inevitably will take place. However, it is also an opportunity for you to form a productive working relationship with the new political appointees.

So how does one not only survive but thrive during a transition in political leadership?

My colleague, John Palguta, a 34-year veteran of the federal government, spent years watching the transition process unfold under a variety of administrations. Recently he shared his list of transition dos and don'ts for career leaders.

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