5 Unique Challenges Of Leading In The Public Sector

Comparisons are often made as to whether the private sector is better than the public sector. Having had the opportunity to work in both, I believe that there are some unique challenges of leading in the public sector.

So what are my top 5 unique challenges?

  1. Size
  2. A vast number of public sector organisations are huge compared to a lot of private sector organisations. As a result, making what can even seem like a small scale change can require huge amounts of co-ordination across the many different parts.

  3. Politics
  4. Whether it is right or wrong, the reality is that politics and the political agendas have a huge impact on what public sector organisations do or don’t do.

  5. Media Attention
  6. Rarely a day passes by without a story about one or more aspects of the public sector being reported. The balance often tends to lean towards the bad rather than the good news stories, which naturally creates less appetite for balanced risk taking.

  7. Range Of Stakeholders
  8. While most organisations have people who take an interest in them, few have the vast proportion of the population contributing to the organisation directly in financial terms. As a result, the public obviously have a huge say in what does or does not happen.

  9. Negative Perceptions
  10. There may have been a time (although I doubt it) when public servants took it easy and spent time drinking tea. These days however this is just not the case and in my experience people give much more than could reasonably be expected for the rewards they get.

The Bottom Line

Leading in the public sector brings with it some unique challenges and is not for the faint-hearted.

Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps accountants and health professionals to achieve success and realize their professional potential through being highly effective leaders and managers. For more information and to sign up for his free audio e-course click here

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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