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Submitted by Max Everest-Phillips on
To achieve national results for democracy and development, leadership excellence is needed at all levels of government. From the office of the President or Minister down to front-line supervisors, leadership skills coalesce commitment and galvanise efforts to deliver results for citizens. Because leadership challenges associated with vastly different levels of responsibility, authority, and accountability require different forms of intervention and support, the skill-sets needed must be conceptualised and scoped appropriately to meet a wide range of developmental needs. For countries going through decentralisation of government, these needs are most profound at sub-national levels. The centre of government drives policy development under the leadership of the Prime Minister or President. The new WB approach to PSM should address how to strengthen the leadership capacity with public institutions, ideally tied to improving the political/administrative interface - ie. how cabinets and cabinet secretaries structure policy and coordinate its implementation. Creating innovative policy calls for a change in mind set by all actors – governments, businesses, civil society and other stakeholders – and for forward thinking, flexibility and dynamism. Lack of leadership skills undermines this happening. Public Service ministries or Commissions in many countries have a critical role to play (at least in principle) in providing strategic direction in in leadership skills development in terms of human resources management and civil service policy and regulation, as well as in ensuring and maintaining the integrity of the public service. However, in practice, PSCs may not always be able to perform their key functions effectively, so HR leadership is lacking and leadership skills are not being adequately fostered in many public service organisations. The new strategy should expressly seek to address this lacuna. Max Everest-Phillips Commonwealth Secretariat