Public Sector

The Real Challenges Public Sector Leaders Face

Doing more with less has become the constant theme for management working in the public sector today. In spite of continuous efforts to create efficiencies and produce results, expectations continue to grow.
The dialogue around delivering results generates discussion in every team environment. How do you manage when you’re expected to constantly do more? What are the best leadership choices you can make? How can you be resilient?
Generally, there are four major challenges that public sector clients tend to focus on. These include:
The Focus On Outcomes
Since the 1990s, governments have placed a greater emphasis on outcomes-based results for leaders. At the time, the emphasis and thinking were that government should behave like a business. Outcome-based initiatives make sense and have taken hold over time. They encourage people to think things through and connect their actions to specific results. Government workplaces have changed focus from outputs to outcomes. This isn’t a left wing/right wing ideology. It’s simply what everybody looks for today.
The Paradox of Innovation and Creativity
There’s a lot of talk in the public sector about innovation and creativity. But this requires an ability to take risks and make mistakes. Consider the stock market and how people make their investments. If you want to make a bigger bang for your buck, you need to take risks. The public sector, however, is generally an extremely risk-averse environment. So how do you balance pushing the envelope in an environment that really doesn’t look favorably upon making mistakes?
The Public Perception of Value
Public services are, by nature, subject to increased media scrutiny and government regulation. Public perception is a big deal – people expect results. Missteps can lead to very public consequences. You don’t want to be the person to try something that didn’t go well and find yourself on the front page of a major newspaper. On the other hand, you don’t want to be considered as lacking initiative. It’s very complicated – knowing how to achieve the right balance in the public eye takes time.


 Click here to Get a free PMP or PRINCE2 Project Management training.


The Need To Build More Resilience (To Deal With Factors Such As Stress And Mental Health)
Leaders in the public may feel like they’re running on a treadmill, trying to keep up with expectations of politicians and the public while simultaneous trying to retain their own personal equilibrium. Developing relationships and keeping the lines of communication open with all the various parties that they’re expected to work with is challenging. Public sector workplaces can be incredibly stressful – people feel there’s not enough of a work/life balance. There’s a great amount of pressure to deliver and be a high-performing contributor. Managing stress on a daily basis is especially difficult, as doing less or hiring additional people isn’t usually an option.
Although many people are not well equipped to handle these daunting challenges intuitively, coaching can give them the tools and insights to handle stress and manage their work/life balance more effectively. Good leaders are able to develop their own resiliency and foster it on others, Building resiliency is key.

Join the list of people to get a free PMP or PRINCE2 Project Management training.

IT in the Public Sector

Technological advancements have a major impact across industries, and on people’s lifestyles. Consider the rise of connected cars, smart power grids, and wearables, for example. Two-thirds of Germans use smartphones – not just for communications, but as cameras and GPS devices, and as a source of news and information (Bitkom, 2015). In short, digitization is transforming our society, and the way people live, work, interact, and consume.
Moreover, IT plays an increasingly critical role in the public sector, which must evolve in line with these new developments. This translates into wide-ranging changes to the provision of services to citizens, homeland as well as international safety and security, healthcare, research and science organizations, churches and social welfare services.
Fast, innovative – and based on real-world needs
Digital transformation entails a number of challenges. Government agencies at the national, state or local level confronted with citizens’ rising expectations must deliver comprehensive, enhanced services. Emerging threats such as cross-border and cyber crime have to be countered by greater collaboration within and across public safety and security departments. Moreover, agencies must achieve these objectives while increasing efficiency, and balancing shrinking IT budgets.
At the same time, digitization opens up new horizons.
It offers new platforms and applications for interacting with citizens, streamlined and integrated processes, and IT for analytics in research. In addition, international cooperation made possible through greater connectivity is crucial to crisis and disaster management, homeland and international security, and much more. All in all, innovative communications, collaboration and cloud services create entirely new possibilities to coordinate efforts, and overcome future challenges.

Taking digitization forward
The public sector has to make considerable progress in digitization and cutting-edge IT to make up for lost ground – and now, more than ever, is the time to do so. Tailored ICT solutions, state-of-the-art network infrastructure, and, in particular, scalable, cloud-based solutions will play a pivotal part.
IT is key to reengineering and streamlining processes – and as such, it will be critical in future efforts to modernize government agencies. In summary, digital transformation of the public sector is essential – and indeed, desirable, in order to master the challenges of tomorrow, and maintain competitiveness in the era of globalization.