Leaders of the Future in Government

Future government leaders must have a clear understanding of the performance anatomy of the public sector along with a strong vision for the future that is citizen centric in all respects. While the former will allow future government leaders to navigate public sector organizations, employees, citizens and stakeholders, the vision will ensure that the end goal is clear and not lost in the journey. Furthermore, future government leaders must recognize the increasing level of collaboration between different sectors of society and leverage on multi-stakeholder partnerships to create public value.

In this Talking Points opinion piece we explore the characteristics that distinguish leadership in government from leadership in the private sector. We then comment on the importance of new conceptualized thinking and a strong vision as critical success factors for future government leaders, and consider the different leadership approaches, future government leaders can adopt to achieve their vision. Finally we identify the key global trends altering citizen expectations, and potentially posing challenges for government leaders in the future.

In order to maintain the fine balance between the creation of public value and achieving greater efficiency, government leaders are required to combine strong personal commitment and passion with out-of-the-box conceptualized thinking. While learning from best practices in the private sector is important for drawing applicable lessons, government leaders need to recognize the fundamental differences between public and private organizations and their intended outcomes.