A recent collaboration between faculty from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and the psychology department in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences has addressed a gap in professional development opportunities for government leaders. They have crafted a new tool that specifically emphasizes the skills needed by managers of government agencies.
Traditionally, most development tools have been designed for the corporate sector, leaving government leaders without many avenues for assessing the skills important in their public sector environments, according to Catherine Bennett, a Vinson Institute management development specialist. GOV360™ is a 360-degree feedback instrument that provides government executives, managers and supervisors with a way to understand their job performance through the viewpoints of their coworkers.
“Regular engagement in professional development is a key way for successful leaders to perfect their skills and discover innovative ways of accomplishing their organization’s goals,” said Bennett. “With resources already stretched in most governments, managers in recent years have had to become more selective about professional development they pursue. GOV360™ helps them target the areas of leadership that they most need to develop.”
As with other 360 assessment instruments, GOV360™ combines information provided by participants through a self-assessment with input collected confidentially online from their peers, subordinates and their own managers. Collecting perspectives of individuals’ performance with feedback from different organizational levels gives GOV360™ participants a more complete picture of how their performance is being perceived by their work team.
The designers of GOV360™ focused on 23 competencies related to the interpersonal and performance management skills that are key components of success for government leaders. Examples include delegation, communication, risk assessment, coaching, problem solving, conflict management and more.
The design team combined the Vinson Institute’s decades of experience in leadership development for public sector officials with expertise from Brian Hoffman and his team in the psychology department related to behavior and performance evaluation. Prior to making the instrument widely available, the Vinson Institute and psychology faculty piloted the assessment with hundreds of managers in local governments and state
“Developing GOV360™ with our psychology colleagues was a two-year partnership that combined the best of both our worlds,” said Bennett. “In the end, we have developed a new product for the Vinson Institute through close collaboration. This is a tool that can speak directly to government leaders about the issues they encounter and skills they need most frequently.
“We wanted to remain customer-focused, and I think we accomplished our goal,” she added. “At the Vinson Institute, our customers are the individuals who work hard to serve the public and make our governments perform with greater efficiency.”