Being a manager in the central government

Photo: Helena Wahlman / Gorilla.

Competent and ethically upright senior civil servants is a national asset, serving the government and the entire country. The government’s abilities to secure public services and a well-functioning central government depend on senior civil servants’ expertise and commitment to common objectives. This commitment is strengthened by consistent political guidelines and a good working relationship between senior civil servants and political leaders.

The objective is that managers are leadership professionals chosen for their positions as a result of professional recruiting, cross-administrative mobility and planned development. Becoming a manager requires the will to take responsibility as part of central government and determination to develop in different tasks on different sides of the government. Senior central government positions are mainly filled by people from other demanding posts in the ministries and agencies, but increasingly also from other employers.

The complexity of social issues and government put public administrators in a continuous pressure in a crossfire of interests. Bold leadership and responsibility is required in situations where, for example, continuity of operations must be secured while at the same time bringing about change, or when you have to be responsible for your own organisation while being committed to the central government's common objectives. Work in manager positions emphasises both new ways of working networks between organisations and direct interaction with people. Good managers bring out the best of human potential in work communities. The foundation for this lies in the manager's own wellbeing, mental maturity and good self-knowledge.

The state supports manager development and work success

Management is demanding work, the demands of which increase and change as administration and the operating environment change. As an employer, the state expects managers to want to carry more responsibility as part of the central government and to be determined about developing themselves as managers. The objective is that central government managers should form a group of professionals that is more or less uniform. Diversity, on the other hand, is manifested in the managers' duties and backgrounds.

Good administration is built upon a common vision of what good management should be like. Good management is achieved by developing good managers and providing them with the conditions that are conducive to success. Apart from well-functioning work communities, key factors include managers' positions and employment relationships, their selection, coaching and performance management, and the combined effect of all the above. First of all, management positions must be attractive, and the central government must be able to recruit into management positions either already competent managers or those willing to develop themselves for such positions and careers using sufficiently uniform grounds and procedures. Another target is that development targets and paths are clearly shown and that managers receive support for career management and professional development. Thirdly, evaluation of managers' performance supports both management results and the managers' development. Management's performance and mobility is also promoted by means of an appropriate structure of positions and duties, in which the temporary nature of management duties is a key element.

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