Published 05/23/12

A clear vision of leadership

SMITHFIELD, R.I.  (May 23, 2012) — The Bryant Institute for Public Leadership today released nine leadership guidelines that offer Rhode Island a clear vision of public leadership and how it can operate.

"While Rhode Island faces challenges such as high unemployment and governmental fiscal stress, the Ocean State's greatest deficit is leadership in both the public and private sectors." Gary Sasse

The guidelines cover the areas of fiscal and management leadership, strategic problem-solving leadership, organizational leadership and ethical leadership. They were developed by the Institute, which since its 2010 inception at Bryant University has provided more than 200 Rhode Island public officials with tools and skills necessary to help them be effective leaders through seminars, conferences and consulting.

"While Rhode Island faces challenges such as high unemployment and governmental fiscal stress, the Ocean State's greatest deficit is leadership in both the public and private sectors," said Gary Sasse, director of the Institute. "Rhode Island needs leadership that will connect the dots and tell citizens where we need to go and how we are going to get there. By using the guidelines and visions offered by the Institute, our public and private sector leaders can build a renewed sense of community."

Sasse is a former executive director of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, a nonprofit public policy research organization, and for several years directed the state's Department of Revenue and Department of Administration during the Carcieri administration.

Nine Guidelines for Effective Leadership in Rhode Island

From the Bryant Institute for Public Leadership

Fiscal and Management Leadership

1. Demanding a budget and tax structure that is balanced, equitable, affordable, and sustainable and ensures fiscal stability.

2. Taking responsibility to provide essential services in a consumer friendly and quality manner.

Strategic Problem-Solving Leadership

3. Focusing on results by setting transparent performance standards and measurable outcomes.

4. Anticipating rather than reacting to problems. Too often leaders react to problems rather than focusing on prevention or transformational change. The leadership that Rhode Island needs should strive to anticipate problems before they become critical and focus on prevention rather than on more expensive remediation strategies.

Organizational Leadership

5. Leading and facilitating by organizing disparate interests to solve problems. The problems confronting Rhode Island cannot be addressed alone by state government through "top-down" mandates. Public leadership is indispensable in building partnerships with business, labor, academics, and citizens to create a climate of shared responsibility.

6. Aligning authority with responsibility by empowering business, public agencies, nonprofits and workers to resolve problems and be held accountable.

7. Thinking and acting as a system by following the architect's axiom that "form follows function." A skillful leader must understand and draw attention to the interrelationship of critical issues. Effective leadership will encourage business, labor, non-profit institutions and government to think and act as a team. For example, if the various interests involved in the development of the Knowledge District in Providence do not act and think as a team the enterprise may fail to achieve its potential.

8. Building an effective management team and environment where risk taking and innovation are rewarded. Effective leadership gets the wrong people off the bus, and gets the right people on the bus in the right positions.

Ethical Leadership

9. Adhering to uncompromising high ethical standards and unquestioned honesty and integrity.