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SPA’s Key Executive Leadership Program Publishes New Book

The Handbook of Federal Government Leadership and Administration. Transforming, Performing, and Innovating in a Complex World.

Federal leaders have a new tool to help them navigate the changing nature of their work, thanks to a new book from AU School of Public Affairs’ Key Executive Leadership Program.

David Rosenbloom, Patrick Malone, and Bill Valdez have teamed up to publish a new book, The Handbook of Federal Government Leadership and Administration: Transforming, Performing and Innovating in a Complex World. It was released in November by Routledge academic press.

The book includes 13 chapters written by a mix of authors who are currently federal leaders or have had long careers with the government. Topics range from adaptive leadership to organizational change to relationships with political forces.

For instance, the chapter on marketing and communication examines particular strategies to get the message out about what the federal government is doing well.

“The men and women that work in government service have very exciting jobs,” said Patrick Malone, executive in residence in the Department of Public Administration and Policy and Director of American University’s Key Executive Leadership Programs.

Since bureaucrats can’t make autonomous executive decisions, they need to bring coalitions together to be successful and that takes a tremendous amount of skill, says Malone.

“The primary reason we created the handbook was because we thought there was a huge gap between actual practice and theory in the administration and leadership of the federal government,” says Valdez, who spent 20 years working in government and now is an adjunct professorial lecturer in the Department of Public Administration and Policy. “It is an attempt to bridge that knowledge divide and begin the process of educating federal leaders and workforce the importance of understanding the larger issues within the context of their daily operating environment.”

The book focuses on the need for leaders to adapt to change.

“There is a constant state of vulnerability in government and how you get leaders comfortable with that to deliver the services that the public depends on is a common theme throughout the book,” says Malone. “All they want to do is serve their nation – that’s their goal,” he says. “They are not getting help now from elected officials so maybe this book will help them with the resources they need to be more effective.”