Bill Marion’s 10 traits of effective leaders

Air Force Deputy CIO Bill Marion considers his experience in the Excellence in Government Fellows program to be the “culminating point” in his government career. After graduating from the program, he would go on to join the Senior Executive Service and was named one of the 2015 Federal 100 for his innovations with Air Force internal communications systems. He stresses how each federal employee has a responsibility to “invest in yourself” and develop their professional skill set.

Here are Marion’s top 10 traits of effective leaders:


1. Know the business

Develop strong technical skills and be able to describe your goals in plain language to win over support for your agenda.


2. Forget “Big Bang” solutions
Oftentimes, grand overhauls take too long to put into effect—and they become outdated once they’re ready for implementation. Instead, pursue smaller wins that lead toward your larger goals.
3. Work harder
It’s not just about clocking long hours, but putting the mental energy into your job. Demonstrate your devotion and passion to those who work for you.
4. Build your network
You never know what relationships will help you with a project or a professional goal. Whether it’s on Twitter or through a leadership development program, make connections with a diverse and expansive group of individuals.
5. Seek out meetings with veteran leaders
Priceless moments come from your ability to learn from those with more experience than you. Work to join important meetings and take advantage of them.
6. Continuously challenge yourself
Do something every day that is difficult or new.
7. Enjoy what you do
Make sure you enjoy federal service and leading others before pursuing a leadership career in government.
8. Keep it simple
Know the business you’re working in and develop easy-to-understand takeaways so you can work with other stakeholders across the government enterprise.
9. Continuously learn and grow
You have a personal responsibility to continue to grow and think about how you want to lead in your federal occupation.
10. Take the risk
Most of the time, maintaining the status quo is riskier than innovating and making changes. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope.

Learn more about EIG