From Partnership for Public Service.

Media  – In the aftermath of this month’s riotous assault on the Capitol and the past few years of upheaval and instability at federal departments and agencies, the Biden-Harris administration faces a tall task of restoring trust and faith in our government.

As a council of leadership experts from public, private, military, nonprofit and academic backgrounds, we know that strong and ethical leadership from elected officials, political appointees and career executives is necessary to rebuild and revitalize the government, and reestablish that trust.

These individuals must demonstrate the competencies and values necessary to lead in government. The Public Service Leadership Model developed by the Partnership for Public Service sets the standard for what effective and steady public service leadership looks like. This approach expects our leaders to go beyond policy and management expertise by demonstrating a commitment to the welfare of the country above their own private or political interests.

At a time when our nation is confronting the coronavirus pandemic, economic dislocation, racial inequity and long list of domestic and foreign policy challenges, we need leaders who will be strong stewards of the public trust. Individuals who will serve the broad public interest, provide support for the federal workforce, use public resources wisely and are dedicated to leaving our democratic institutions better and stronger than they found them.

Here are a few ideas for key players in the weeks and months ahead:

Political appointees: Political leaders should respect and collaborate with the career workforce to achieve the administration’s objectives. Listening to them, recognizing them and holding them accountable is essential to building trust. Political appointees also must hold themselves accountable to the highest standard of integrity, ethics and performance. This means putting society over self, understanding their responsibilities to the institutions they lead, and focusing on longterm outcomes for the public good.

Career workforce: The career workforce should work closely with their political counterparts, effectively assuming acting roles as long as needed until political appointees are in place. Career executives should be open and receptive to new perspectives while continuing to provide invaluable institutional knowledge to the new political team. They should follow all rules and regulations while also promoting innovative approaches to solving complex challenges.

Congress: Congress has a constitutional responsibility to pass needed legislation, conduct oversight and provide resources so that federal agencies are equipped and accountable for serving the people. The Senate bears additional responsibility for confirming a president’s most senior appointees. Individuals elected to serve in the House and Senate as the people’s representatives have a duty to learn about the institution in which they serve, overcome the partisanship that has brought gridlock and division, and work together to put the public good over political gain. An early step to demonstrate that Congress can work is for the Senate to give swift consideration to qualified and diverse candidates nominated for crucial leadership posts, assessing them on their leadership and management qualifications.

We urge members of the new administration, Members of Congress and the career workforce to adhere to their constitutional oath of office, and fully commit to being strong stewards of public trust so they can successfully tackle the many pressing problems facing the nation.

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