From the Editor: Where you sit is where you stand – Canadian Government Executive

NEWS

SEARCH

HR
Best PracticeEditor's WordPerformance
September 16, 2015

From the Editor: Where you sit is where you stand

Written by  Patrice Dutil

It’s hard to believe we are still talking about this, but the numbers confirm the anecdotal evidence. The reality is that government departments, even after years of efforts in weeding them out, harbour more jerks than what is endurable. We’re talking about abuse, but it is more than that. It is about the lack of decent behaviour among colleagues; simple courtesies such as smiling, wishing people well, being kind in conversation, and listening. It is about the cancer of whispering campaigns and silent treatments.

I vividly remember working for this sort of manager as I started my public service career a long time ago. This person would bolt into my office without saying good morning, rattling on as he had before the long weekend, completely oblivious to the fact that three days had separated our last conversation. He was like this with everyone, giving full display of his personality without regard to the professional setting that brought us together. Whatever happened to “Good morning”? Few put up with this character and his lack of respect, but thankfully he did not last long. As turnover mounted, the director had him shipped to another department, where he became someone else’s problem.

But he was still working for the government, and continued to do so until retirement. This tolerance for unprofessional behaviour undermines the work place, lays waste to the trust that is essential in carrying out public service, and costs the State untold amounts of money in lost productivity and creativity. The literature on that reality is incontestable.

It’s not just government departments, I know. The private sector has more than its share of A***, but, depending on the size of the organization, it has tools to deal with the miscreants. Large firms will put up with these characters until their impact on the profit margin manifests itself, in which case they will be asked to leave. People are more mobile in the private sector and will put up with the pain as long as they are paid for it. In family businesses, there is little that can be done; you put up with it or you leave. Government is not a family business, but often behaves like one — putting up with the uncouth uncle or aunt without real concern for the consequences.

The findings in the APEX study that was released earlier this summer brought all this back to mind — and that is why I sought out Craig Dowden (see interview on another CGE post). I think this is a capital issue in governments, and public sector executives can’t just sit there and do nothing.

Rude, abusive individuals have no place in government, no matter their policy savvy. It is an illusion to think that their work reflects the best of their teams — and all government work is the product of a team. People don’t work for jerks … they just pretend to. The end result is a public service that runs the risk of low productivity, low morale, and an inability to rise to the pressing issues of the day, and of the future.

www.patricedutil.com

editor@netgov.ca

 

About this author

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Best Practice
 
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) is pleased to announce its first batch...
 
In today’s workplace, individuals increasingly face dynamic and difficult challenges that...
 
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) is pleased to welcome Microsoft as its Platinum Sponsor for...
 
In a rather unusual, quiet manner this past summer, a new...
 
Canadian government agencies and departments are modernizing the way they do...
 
The health care system in Canada, known as Medicare, is publicly...
 
We are happy to share with you the May/June issue of...
 
Facebook Pages can be an essential tool for businesses and charities,...
 
In this special episode of CGE Radio, your host John Jones...
 
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with its 28 independent member countries...
 
Cost overruns have become institutionalized in the federal government, according to...
 
Last year, procurement Minister Jody Foote was prompted by the swirling...
 
The rapid advances in digital technology, demographic and societal shift even...
 
Results Washington is Washington state government’s data-driven performance management and continuous...
 
Rules and accountability are helpful in developing and standardizing processes but...
 
Ontario’s provincial government needs to act fast in building a coordinated...
 
It’s a common notion that young workers born in the mid-1990s...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
There’s a fine line between confidence and naivety – a line...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
As populations grow and age, the demand for services increases. As...
 
By Nicole Verkindt Despite growing up in a small town in...
 
As much a 20 per cent of grade seven students in...
 
By Jason Zhang  The best way to cost effectively manage the retention...
 
He is often referred to as the federal government’s first “chief...
 
Are you absolutely clear what the government wants to achieve? Are...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Here’s some bad news for organizations contemplating projects that have something...
 
Nearly half of Canadian organizations are falling behind on implementation of...
 
The idea of converged infrastructure and converged systems in the datacentre...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
There is no shortage of examples of businesses that effectively used...
 
Microsoft, on Tuesday, ended support for older versions of Internet Explorer...
 
Written by Tim Wacker Almost a quarter century ago, when most...
 
Written By Chris Brown To deliver results that senior executives value,...
 
Written By Jason McNaught Contrary to what you may have heard,...
 
Written by  Benjamin Selinger and Gabriel Flores A real challenge for...
 
Written by  Patrice Dutil It’s hard to believe we are still...
 
Written by  Patrice Dutil Craig Dowden, President and Founder of Craig...
 
Written by  Brady G. Wilson You may not realize it, but...
 
Written by  Roxanne Descôteaux When I first became a manager over...
 
The good news is that the Government of Canada recognizes the...
 
You sometimes wonder why government can’t be better at just getting...
 
Hill+Knowlton Canada announced last week that it has received the prestigious...
 
I’ve been giving 110 percent for as long as I can...
 
The National Voluntary Standard for psychological health and safety in the...
 
The government of Alberta has banded together with British Columbia and...
 
When we put out the call to cities across Canada for...
 
BC Hydro was experiencing ongoing challenges with IT assets decommissioned as...
 
City councils are important. They not only represent citizens at the...
 
Business continuity management has evolved into a specialized discipline, but you...
 
Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Health is leading a new approach to strategic...
 
Whether you have read John Kotter’s classic Leading Change or not,...
 
Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance. But...
 
Across the country, public sector leaders are challenged with the daunting...
 
When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, it was government that...
 
Ego can do us in. It can lead to arrogance, blindness,...
 
and the more layers between a given employee and the relevant...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.2 February 2008 Management speaks of change in positive...
 
Innovation, leadership and a commitment to building a knowledge advantage are...
 
One of the most paradoxical Biblical parables, found the Gospel of...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.1 January 2008 “We’ve entered into an era in...
 
L’une des paraboles bibliques les plus paradoxales rapportées par Luc est...
 
Chris Baker is Deputy Minister, Policy and Priorities, and Deputy Minister,...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.2 February 2008 Often overworked and understaffed, the procurement...
 
Federal, provincial and municipal governments provide billions of dollars in grants...
 
During the American presidential election campaign of 1976, Jimmy Carter, then...
 
The Ontario Public Service celebrated ten years of hosting Showcase Ontario,...
 
Tell the truth. Deep down, do you sometimes – or often...
 
What if our general approach to brainstorming was all wrong? That...
 
Nearly two decades after I read Lincoln On Leadership, the messages...
 
True leaders are proactive. They get things done. They accomplish that...
 
Management and leadership are complicated. So it would be lovely if...
 
Government revolves around power. Political parties seek power. They implement their...
 
Managers generally walk around with a what’s-going-wrong mentality. They are fixated...
 
Government runs on expertise. Government executives seek the best knowledge and...
 
Let’s resume last month’s discussion on effective change initiatives with some...
 
When Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty set as a prime goal of...
 
By now it’s commonplace knowledge that emotional intelligence is vital to...
 
Good leaders can make bad decisions. President Kennedy blundered over the...
 
The TRIC model of leadership is enshrined in the Ontario Public...
 
A respectful workplace is a critical ingredient of successful public service...
 
For the third year in a row, the Ontario Public Service...
 
Justice on Target (JOT) takes a unique and bold approach to...
 
Perched on top a 60 meter column in a bustling square...
 
For the second year in a row, the Ontario Public Service...
 
OTTAWA – Management consultants at Accenture, a respected longtime observer of...
 
La plupart des leaders reconnaissent d’emblée que leur efficacité dépend de...
 
Most leaders will readily agree that earning and keeping the trust...
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) is pleased to announce its first batch...

Member Login

Forgot Password?

Join Us

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.