04/19/2013 09:17 am ET Updated Jun 18, 2013

Improving federal workers' view of their leaders

This year's NCAA tournament once again demonstrated that leadership has a considerable impact on a team's performance and is key to motivating and inspiring players to overcome adversity and other challenges.

The same principle holds true for federal agencies. Federal employee attitudes toward their leaders are a major influence on job satisfaction and commitment, and have a significant impact on performance as well as the ability of agencies to fulfill their critical missions and to provide quality service to the American people.

Unfortunately, federal employee satisfaction with their leaders has been low and is slipping, according to an analysis of the 2012 "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" rankings from the Partnership for Public Service (my organization) and Deloitte.

While employees have not given high marks to their leaders for years, the Best Places to Work survey found that satisfaction with leadership government-wide dropped in 2012 for the first time since the rankings were published, in 2003. The leadership score was 52.8 on a scale of 100, 2.1 points lower than in 2011 -- meaning that only slight more than half of the employees surveyed have a positive view of their leaders.

While the trend reflects a negative and now declining picture in employee attitudes regarding leadership, there are some bright spots. Overall, six of 19 large agencies showed improvement in their effective leadership score. Atop the list were NASA, the intelligence community and the State Department.


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