Engaging Others

Engaging Others

Public Service Leadership Model

Engaging Others

To engage others, strive to foster an inclusive culture that encourages team members to offer constructive feedback, recognize good work and pursue professional development. This environment is the foundation for collaboration within and across federal agencies. Individuals, teams and agencies working together will have a greater impact on government effectiveness. The five subcompetencies to engaging others include:

Relationship Building Empowering Others Collaboration Conflict Management Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Relationship Building

Communicate to build trust and cohesion.

“The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”

– Colin Powell, Former General and Secretary of State

Thumbnail for Building Connections: How to Be a Relationship Ninja

Rosan Auyeung-Chen, a Registered Clinical Counsellor, presents the steps required to build and maintain good relationships. She proposes that the breaking points in our weaker relationships are not found in the other person, or even in the interactions amongst us, but rather in ourselves.

Thumbnail for How Can I Help?

In this clip, Doug Conant, former CEO and president of Campbell Soup Company talks about the value of a simple question: How can I help?

Thumbnail for Bringing Young Leaders Together

Discover how Andrew Rabens brought young leaders from across the Middle East together to both empower them and familiarize them with American democratic institutions and society.

  • What is my preferred way of communicating with others? Why is that the case?
  • Do I implicitly trust people or does it need to be earned? How does that affect my work?
  • What can I do to build trust and rapport with my team? Think of both formal and informal opportunities to connect.
Additional resources

READ: Stephen M. R. Covey’s Guide to Building Trust – Tom Fox, Former VP, Leadership Development at the Partnership for Public Service and contributor to Washington Post

WATCH: Are you a Giver or Taker – Adam Grant, organizational psychologist and author

WATCH: 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation – Celeste Headlee, NPR Host and writer

Empowering Others

Provide autonomy and professional development for team members.

“Leadership is about empowering other to achieve things they did not think possible.”

– Simon Sinek, Author and motivational speaker

Thumbnail for Providing vital training and resources

Learn how Ryan Shelby, in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, worked with communities in Haiti to build disaster-resistant structures with materials from local sources and trained more than 2,000 community members on incorporating new building materials.

Thumbnail for When Empowering Employees Works, and When It Doesn’t

A recent meta-analysis of 105 studies on this “empowering” leadership style found that it works best in motivating certain types of performance and certain types of employees.

  • What learning and development opportunities are available for my team? How might I encourage those?
  • How might I delegate more (or more effectively) to my team? How will I give them autonomy while still monitoring progress?
  • How will developing my team members benefit them, the organization, and the mission?
Additional resources

READ: Employee Engagement: What Successful Government Leaders Do – Andrew Rahaman, Contributing writer for GovLoop and American University professor  

READ: Bill Gates Says This 1 Simple Habit Separates Successful Leaders From Everyone Else – Marcel Schwantes, Founder and Chief Human Officer, Leadership From the Core

WATCH: Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us – Dan Pink, Author and business columnist

Conflict Management

Resolve counterproductive behavior; create space for differences of opinion.

“Listen first. Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding.” 

– Dale Carnegie

Thumbnail for Addressing Conflict

Read how Arleas Upton Kea addressed conflict at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – juggling both the national financial crisis and an unsatisfied workforce within the agency.

Thumbnail for Does it really pay to be civil?

Christine Porath, one of the Partnership’s Government Leadership Advisory Council members, has advice for federal leaders: Practice civility and show respect. Read her blog post on the subject and watch her TED talk.

Thumbnail for We have Frances Perkins to thank for that

Frances Perkins, the secretary of labor from 1933-1945, was the first female Cabinet member. During this year’s Women’s History Month, we remember her achievements and explore how her legacy continue to inspire federal employees today.

  • How do I experience conflict? What signs do I notice when I’m in conflict?
  • How do I tend to respond when conflict arises for me and/or others? Does this tend to help or hinder the situation?
  • How can I promote dialogue, rather than debate, among my colleagues?
Additional resources

READ: 6 Tips for Leading Through Conflict – CCL, Center for Creative Leadership

READ: The 5 Steps to Conflict Resolution – AMA Staff, American Management Association

WATCH: The Walk from No to Yes – William Ury, Author “Getting to Yes”


Engage stakeholders on shared goals to build trust.

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind too) those who have learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

– Charles Darwin, Geologist and biologist

Thumbnail for A Roadmap to the Future: Toward a More Connected Federal Government

The federal landscape is expected to change dramatically in the next decade as the power and capacity of technology advance, more data becomes available and the demands on federal employees grow and shift. With the U.S. population projected to expand by more than 20 million people in the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, government must evolve to keep up.

Thumbnail for Working Together to Bring Justice

Discover how Karen Dodge, Margaret Moeser, and their respective teams coordinated nationwide investigations to bring justice and restore financial losses to hundreds of thousands – in large part due to their collaborative efforts.

Thumbnail for The ultimate guide to effective collaboration in the workplace

Whether you are hosting meetings virtually or in-person, these six communication strategies will help you keep meetings helpful and productive.

  • Describe how collaboration would ideally work in my current working environment. What would I like to see?
  • What strengths do each of my team members and stakeholders bring to the table?
    • How can I most effectively use these strengths towards the goal?
  • How might I carve out roles and co-ownership among team members?
Additional resources

READ: Best Practices and Leading Practices in Collaboration Across Governments, Nonprofits, and the Private SectorGovernment Accountability Office (GAO)

WATCH: The Kronos Quartet as a Dot Cloud – The New York Times 

WATCH: Cultivating Collaboration: Don’t be so Defensive – Jim Tamm, Author of Radical Collaboration and former Senior Administrative Law Judge for the State of California

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Build inclusive, representative and respectful teams.  

“A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions and outcomes for everyone.”

– Sundar Pichai, CEO Alphabet Inc (and Google LLC)

Thumbnail for Government’s lack of diversity in leadership positions

A close look at the demographic data in the federal government’s highest career leadership positions reveals a representation problem: Too few women and minorities have reached those levels of leadership. Discover why that poses a problem for government productivity and how agencies can begin to address the issue.

Thumbnail for Importance of Diversity and Inclusion

Hear former NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden talk about the importance of diversity and inclusion at NASA.

Thumbnail for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Comes From the Top

In this clip, General Les Lyles talks about the importance of prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion from the top.

  • To what extent do I understand unconscious bias, and have I taken any steps to mitigate my own biases?
  • When dealing with a workplace conflict, how often do I recognize both the intent behind an action/statement and the impact that action/statement caused?
  • What steps do I take to increase inclusivity and accessibility in my workplace?
Additional resources

READ: Uncovering Talent: A New Model for Inclusion – Deloitte University 

READ: Commitment to a Diverse WorkforceU.S. Department of Labor

WATCH: Color Blind or Color Brave? – Mellody Hobson, Investment expert and contributor to CBS News and Black Enterprise magazine

© 2022 Partnership for Public Service, Inc. All rights reserved.