Page 45 - Foreign Service Journal - October, 2012b

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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
OCTOBER 2012
45
taining, motivational feedback. Tey can also single out employ-
ees for sustained or periodic good efort.
Te Foreign Service’s best leaders at every level do all these
things. But too many supervisors still treat good efort as par for
the course, not as anything special.
Coaching.
A recent
Foreign Service Journal
article (Jefrey
LaMoe and Ted Strickler, “Te Army’s Approach to Leader
Development,” July-August) criticized the lack of career develop-
ment planning for FS members, and noted that Defense Depart-
ment civilian supervisors are trained to engage subordinates in
developing training programs to support individual career plans.
Employees thrive when they know their supervisors want them
to succeed and show them how to do so—both in the short term,
through tips and coaching, and through mentoring for longer-
term development.
Reams of managerial consulting products confrm that work-
ers are most productive when they believe they are getting better
at their job. Brown-bag lunches with front ofce and country
team principals, Foreign Service Institute training opportunities
and one-on-one informal writing seminars are all ways younger
employees can see themselves improving their tradecraft.
Te antithesis of this is an authoritarian supervisory style,
where the aim is judging rather than motivating. One of us had
a supervisor toss him a copy of the
New Yorker
and
Elements of
Style
in response to his frst drafting efort, back in 1977.
Meaningful work.
Many younger employees yearn to
“change the world.” Just read any college application essay to
fnd out how many of them think they’ve already started to do
this while in high school! Countless graduation speakers, teach-
ers and mentors reinforce this mentality.
Nor does it help when new FSOs see their peers in the private
sector and at nongovernmental organizations already chang-
ing the world via Facebook. A recent
Washington Post
“Federal
Faces” profle presented the contributions of a college graduate’s
work for a federal agency in a confict zone in glowing terms.
Whatever the reality of their time there, the efect on that per-
son’s motivation had to have been huge.
Younger employees want to hear why their work matters.
Checking a box on an evaluation form is not enough; they want
to know how their work had impact. Smart managers tell these
subordinates how their contributions advance American foreign
policy goals. Te managers we have seen doing this have happy
employees.
Autonomy.
Te 9-5 schedule is passé for younger employees,
who can “go on a tear” at 11 p.m. and are used to the fexible
class schedules of contemporary universities, which are geared