1st Edition

People Skills for Public Managers

ISBN 9780765643513
Published May 30, 2014 by Routledge
204 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

This book fills the need for a communication-based, public sector framed book. The authors combine just enough basic theory about communication with specific skill development in areas of immediate interest to those who work in the public sector. It also features a strong "practice" orientation, with plentiful boxed applications (Insights from the Field, Skill Development boxes, Case Studies). It concludes with an especially useful summary chapter that describes the ten essential skills for successful communication.

Table of Contents


1. Why Public Managers Need People Skills
The Public Sector Is Unique
Networking Across Agencies
Change, Mistrust, and Financial Austerity
Conflict Is Inevitable
Miscommunication Is Costly
Culture and Diversity Awareness Is Crucial
NASPAA Standards
The Federal Executive Service Standards

2. Every Effective Manager Is a Good Communicator
Communication Skills for Public Managers
The Fallibility of Message Transfer
Leadership and Communication
The Dark Side of Positional Authority
Case: The New Boss

3. Resolving Disputes in the Workplace
Methods for Resolving Disputes
What Causes Workplace Conflict?
Case: Flextime

4. Mega-Skills for Public Employees
Asking Questions
Conflict Analysis
Assessing Cost-Effectiveness of Dispute Resolution
Case: The Redevelopment Project

5. Creating and Maintaining Effective Work Relationships
Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Labor
Motivation and the Public Sector
Humane Performance Reviews
Interpersonal Communication Competence
Demotivators: The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication
Case: When Generations Collide

6. Working Together: Meetings, Teams, and Parliamentary Procedure
Collaborating Across Agencies
Types of Group Activities
Meeting Management
The Specialized Leadership Skill of Building Teams
Parliamentary Procedure
Case: The Interdepartment Team

7. Dealing with Incivility, Bullies, and Difficult People
Verbal Aggression and Difficult People
Skills to Respond to Workplace Misbehavior
Case: Is the Behavior Problematic?
Case: There's Something About Jeremy

8. Effective Communication in the Intercultural Workplace
Cultural Knowledge and Public Administration
The Imperative of Diversity
Intercultural Communication Theory
Cultural Views of Problem Solving
Intercultural Conflict Styles
Influences of Culture on Communication
Influences of Culture on Management Style
Case: Refugees and the Library

9. Dynamic Public Speaking
Speaking in the Public Sector
Matching the Purpose to the Audience
Organizing the Message
Adding Interest
Final Check: Does the Content Meet the Audience's Needs?
Speech Delivery
Visual Aids and PowerPoint Presentations
Introducing Another Speaker
Case: Telling the Public to Prepare for Disaster

10. Designing Effective Public Input Processes
Why Seek Input?
Bad Behaviors in Public Places
Case: Public Input to Locate the New Bypass

11. The Interconnected Web of People Skills
Nexus 1. Public Managers with People Skills Demonstrate Resilience amid Change
Nexus 2. Public Managers with People Skills Are Able to Separate Listening from Analyzing
Nexus 3. Public Managers with People Skills Understand the Interests of Others
Nexus 4. Public Managers with People Skills Prefer Collaboration But Are Able to Make Quick Decisions
Nexus 5. Public Managers with People Skills Build Relationships
Nexus 6. Public Managers with People Skills Are Accountable
Nexus 7. Public Managers with People Skills Communicate Effectively
Nexus 8. Public Managers with People Skills Share Power
Nexus 9. Public Managers with People Skills Are Persistent
Nexus 10. Public Managers with People Skills Embrace Continuous Improvement

About the Authors

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Suzanne McCorkle directs the Dispute Resolution academic programs and is a professor in the Public Policy and Administration department at Boise State University, USA. She formerly served as Associate Dean and Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs. Dr. McCorkle is the author of Mediation Theory and Practice and Personal Conflict Management. Her consulting and research interests involve workplace conflict and its remedies.

Stephanie Witt is a Professor of Public Policy and Administration at Boise State University, USA. Her books include Cities, Sagebrush and Solitude (co-edited with Dennis Judd) and Urban West Revisited Governing Cities in Uncertain Times (with James B. Weatherby). She has previously held positions at Boise State as Associate Vice President, Associate Dean, Department Chair and Director of the Public Policy Center. She is a Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching "Idaho Professor of the Year" (1998).


"This unique little book provides the rich, textured discussion of pragmatic topics that our generalist public management texts often lack. It provides discussions into and exercises for topics such as conflict management, question-asking, emotional intelligence and labor, meeting management, parliamentary procedure, bullying, cultural knowledge and diversity, seeking public input, and a host of others that students will be highly interested in. If one wants to ensure that students have solid skills in management and leadership, this is a wonderful complement to any PA classroom or seminar." -- Montgomery Van Wart, California State University, San Bernardino