THE BLOG

What It's Like to be the Architect of the Capitol

06/02/2015 05:01 pm ET | Updated Jun 02, 2016

As architect of the Capitol, Stephen Ayers oversees 2,300 employees responsible for the maintenance and operation of the historic U.S. Capitol Building, the House and Senate office buildings, the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court.

In this interview, Ayers discussed the importance of having "crucial conversations" with his leadership team, and how he uses meetings as a management tool. His conversation with me (I'm a guest writer for On Leadership and a vice president at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service) has been lightly edited for length and clarity. I'm also the head of the organization's Center for Government Leadership.

Q. What leadership issues are you focusing on within your organization?

A. We can always work on better communicating expectations, providing feedback and coaching. In my organization, we're going through a program about how to have crucial conversations with one another. It's a real skill that takes time and effort to develop, and it's something that needs to be practiced.

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This post was originally featured on The Washington Post's website.