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Onboarding for Mayors

12. 10. 2022
Štítky

“Congratulations! You’ve just been elected. Here are the keys, and good luck!” Many times, Local Elected Officials (LEOs) have heard those words after being elected to their government agencies. According to LEOs from the State of Ohio (USA), it happens often. This exploratory study surveyed the advice that 48 Mayors and City Managers would offer anyone thinking of running for elected office and specifically references Gilbert’s (2020) model of onboarding related to LEOs. Among the prominent advice offered, many activities related to self-directed preboarding efforts along with a solid skill set in emotional intelligence.

 

Research question:

What do Ohio’s Mayors and City Managers recommend when it comes to onboarding for their local elected office?

 

Most people run for their local elected office because they are deeply committed to their respective communities. As such, Local Elected Officials (LEOs) are often interested in pointing a direction for their municipality to follow. The candidate may run on a single or limited issues related to the community. However, once the election is over, many other issues cover a wider array of consideration and attention. The question explored in this study is what do LEOs recommend in the way of onboarding activities for their future colleagues who wish to enter public service? Second, how can onboarding aid in the transition and success of the elected official to maximize service to the community to which they were elected?

For LEOs, there may be a rare structured or formal program to prepare, orient, network, develop professionally, and follow specific feedback channels regarding job performance. In essence, the job performance feedback loop typically happens every two or four years as to whether or not LEOs are doing their jobs and may be indicated as the LEO being reelected. However, effectiveness may be defined differently from what the voting public decides.

While there is a well-documented call for research for onboarding (Stein & Christensen, 2010; Bauer, 2010; Dai & DeMeuse, 2007; Chillakrui, 2020), Gilbert (2020) takes the call one step further and asks for more research on onboarding within the government sector. This study firstly tests Gilbert’s call by asking Ohio Mayors and City Managers what advice they would offer anyone considering running for local office. Secondly, this may serve as a backdrop to understanding more of the specific aspects of onboarding as they relate to Local Elected Officials (LEOs). 

Onboarding, at its core, is a process of acquiring skills, accommodating the LEO to learn on the job, assimilating into the business operations, and accelerating service delivery to develop new leaders into the organizational culture and business (Ndnunguru, 2016). For the government, there is always the watchful eye of the citizens and taxpayers who expect their tax dollars to be spent wisely (Foster-Thompson, Beal, & Lussier, 2009). Therefore, subject matter on fiscal responsibility, ethics, and budgeting are common areas of orientation for newly elected officials in offices. While these subjects are important, this research presentation shows that other more specific subject matter may require equal consideration.

Successful onboarding is essential for any organization to reap the benefits of talent development and achieve a long-term strategy. A prevalent model of onboarding developed by Bauer (2010) is known as the 4C’s of Onboarding and includes building blocks that aid new hires to reduce the productivity curve and experience early success and confidence, which results in greater retention and commitment. These building blocks consist of Compliance, Clarification, Culture, and Connections.

Battaglio (2008) argues that Training programs in public service play an important role because serving the public is obviously the primary purpose of the government. Efforts to improve public sector motivation should drive government employees and LEOs to enhance their commitment to service to the citizens more effectively. McKinsey and Co. (2010) asked how to drive both effective and efficient performance from the local government is really the fundamental practice in the modern world. There are rather disparate and unique needs for government training. Customizing onboarding programs stands to improve the government’s responsiveness to the community (Slack, 1990). 

Gilbert (2020) proposes a conceptual model of onboarding specific to LEOs (see Figure 1). Preboarding is defined as the work that goes into preparing for the job before the LEO starts office, such as meeting with the public, finding out information on operations and issues with different constituents or stakeholders, and developing an understanding of what goes on in the job and what to expect. Orientation is the next phase in the process and includes much of the required Human Resources and Personnel matters along with major compliance-related subject matter such as budgeting, compliance, and ethics.


 

Figure 1.  Conceptual model of Onboarding for Local Elected Officials (LEOs). Graphic recreated with permission from C. Gilbert (2020).  

Next, networking with other key individuals can make a difference in getting things done at the local level. Establishing those relationships with key personnel within the government agency as well as other government, business, educational, and non-profit agencies is critical to happen early in the onboarding process.

When the opportunity exists, Gilbert (2020) suggests that a mentor/buddy assigned to the LEO would be helpful to learn the ropes quickly. Where the buddy typically handles day-to-day operations, locating certain supplies and information, and just being an overall person to guide the LEO to find out things quickly, the mentor is someone who is more geared toward professional development and career growth. Of course, throughout the process, the LEO learns about the organizational culture, such as norms, values, principles, and sanctions.

Throughout the process (and even into the preboarding phase), the agency’s use of technology is woven to market, recruit, and track the progress of the LEO. Gilbert suggests specific feedback intervals occur every three months, and the onboarding completes around the first year. Who provides the feedback may vary from agency to agency, but the voting public generally is a source as well as others within the agency.

Methodology

This study utilized an open-ended online survey sent to 688 Mayors and City Managers of the State of Ohio’s Municipal League. A total of 48 responded to the survey for a 7 percent response rate. The exploratory nature of this study hoped to provide additional support for Gilbert’s (2020) model of onboarding for LEOs related to the categories outlined in her model. 

Notably, Gilbert’s case study also discovered items that City Councilors reported that did not fit within her conceptual model. Like Gilbert’s approach, this study applied a deductive method of identifying support for the steps of onboarding in the conceptual model while using inductive (In Vivo) approaches to identify those that did not fit neatly into the preconceived categories.

The survey contained multiple choice options to gather background information about the respondents, while open-ended questions prompted various narrative responses. In Figure 1, of the 48 respondents, 40 reported being the mayor of the municipality whereas, 7 reported being a City Manager, and one respondent categorized themself as other.


Chart

 

Figure 2.  Breakdown of respondents self-reporting to be Mayors, City Managers, or other. Graphic provided by M. Starr.

In the State of Ohio (USA), there are different structures of government available to municipalities and villages to follow. The first is the statutory form of government which is defined in the Ohio Revised Code as “‘Public office’ includes ‘any state agency, public institution, political subdivision, or other organized body, office, agency, institution, or entity established by the laws of this state for the exercise of any function of government.” [Ohio Revised Code: 149.011(A)].  In other words, the laws of the local government are set forth by the Ohio General Assembly. In Figure 3, 27 respondents self-reported representing statutory forms of local government.


Chart

 

Figure 3. Different forms of government as reported by respondents. Graphic provided by M. Starr.

In contrast to the statutory form of government is what is known as a charter. This form is essentially a “home rule” where the individual municipality has developed its own constitution for governance regarding local issues. Within the charter form of government, different substructures allow for the municipality to shift power and decision-making to different branches of the government. Ten respondents identified as having a “Strong Mayor” charter where the mayor retains executive power. Ten also reported representing a “City Manager” Charter that makes most of the executive decisions but is controlled by a more powerful City Council. A Mayor may still be within the government but has less executive power. Finally, one charter that was represented was self-identified as village mayor/administrator/council (categorized as “other” in this study).


Chart

Figure 4. The age range of respondents. Graphic provided by M. Starr.

The age range of the respondents was reported as within an age cohort where there was zero reporting between the ages of 20 - 30. Nine respondents were reported to be between 31 - 45 years old. Eight respondents reported ages between 46 - 60. The most frequent age cohort of the respondents fell between the ages of 61 - 75 years (n=27). Finally, in Figure 4, four are reported to be over the age of 75.

Figure 5 illustrates the amount of experience as a mayor or City Manager. In terms of the amount of experience as a mayor or City Manager, most of the respondents were in their first term (n=19). The next largest group of experienced executive LEOs was 13, who were serving between 5-8 years. Eight respondents had been serving between 9 - 16 years, and eight also reported serving more than 17 years.


Chart

 

Figure 5. Number of years in office as reported by respondents. Graphic provided by M. Starr.

The final metric measured regarding the respondents was population size. Table 1 shows the range of self-reported population per respondent was between 147 at the low end to 47,000 at the upper end. With a mean population size of 2353.6 citizens, there was an apparent wide variance of (+ 3005.44 Standard Deviation). The median size of 1500 seemed to be the more appropriate level of central tendency. Therefore, primarily rural communities were respondents.
 

Range

140 - 47,000

Mean

2353.60

SD

3005.44

Median

1500

 

Table 1.  Population measures of central tendency of respective municipalities self-reported by respondents. Graphic provided by M. Starr.

Results

Regarding the question of what specific advice respondents would offer candidates seeking elected office, responses overwhelmingly fell into the preboarding stage of onboarding. A total of 32 responses consisted of comments such as “Shadow immediately after the election if possible,” “attend council meetings regularly,” and “meet with the staff, and try to learn as much as possible.”

 


Figure 6. Information Mayors and City Managers wished they had known prior to being elected or appointed. Graphic provided by M. Starr.

Fewer comments were related to understanding organizational culture, feedback, networking, and professional development within Gilbert’s model. Technology and mentoring received no comments in response to this question but were addressed in the second. Outside of the conceptual model, understanding facilities and utilities, and a focus on role clarification were reported, although infrequently.

The second qualitative item in the survey was another open-ended question and asked participants, “What are the top three things you wish you would have known before your election or appointment?” Some participants offered three responses, while some did not. The responses also confirmed some of Gilbert’s models. Figure 7 reveals that LEOs had 16 comments about how they wished they would have engaged in more preboarding activities. One respondent wrote, “I wish I would have been more prepared to do things on my own because getting anyone to care in today’s world is a job in and of itself.” A second respondent added that they wish they would have spent more time learning the “government bureaucracy, creating resolutions and creating ordinances.” A third respondent reported they wish they had learned “All of the issues concerning the village.” Additionally, “What does it mean to be a statutory municipality?” Arguably, this respondent’s comments may apply to orientation, but given the preparation expected of LEOs, it was categorized in the preboarding phase.


 

Figure 7. Preboarding and Emotional Intelligence were the top two pieces of advice Mayors, and City Managers suggested to those seeking to run for local office.

The next most frequently referenced comments respondents offered were not found in Gilbert’s conceptual model but did support results in her inductive (In Vivo) aspect of that case study which involved the LEO’s Emotional Intelligence. A total of 16 responses outlined the importance of this, as evidenced by comments such as, “be sure to have thick skin because social media will be unkind to you no matter what you do,” “be ready to handle negativity,” and “be a good listener and always be under control.”

Each of the remaining stages and concepts in Gilbert’s model was found in the second question. One respondent wished to have “someone to show her the ropes, or just talk to about the job from time to time.” This was qualified as the need for a mentor relationship.

Feedback was another response found, as evidenced by two comments. One participant responded that “Learning to take criticism from the public” was necessary. The qualification of this comment could arguably be placed in Emotional Intelligence but also seemed to be related to taking earnest feedback from the public. “Understanding the expectations of residents” was also felt to be a feedback-related item.

Knowing whom to know is part of any successful new hire or LEO. Eleven comments related to this concept for the second question. Two participants specifically noted that networking with City Councilors was essential to have known. “I wish I would have known how good or not good the Council would be,” claimed one. The other wrote, “Figure out what makes each member of Council tick - you need them to get anything done, and that means you need to convince them that they want to help you get work accomplished. Council can make your job very easy or very hard.” One participant shared a wish that they would have known more about “working with the employees of the village.” In contrast, another wished they had “networked with other municipalities.” On the practical side of networking and connections, two other participants stated, “I wish I had been given a list of contacts including Government agencies,” and “...from where to get grants. For example, I had NO idea who Buckeye Hills or MORPC were. And acronyms! Still learning.”

Organizational Culture also reflected eleven comments from the participants and included a comment from one respondent, “The only thing that I would like to have known more about was the organizational culture. That being said, it would not have made a difference in my decision to accept the position.” Another respondent observed an organizational culture item after holding office by stating how“...the number of employees who take advantage of the rules.” Finally, another respondent found difficulty not only within the government branches but also with the public stating they wish they would have known, “The difficulty in working collaboratively with the legislative body, and the continuous apathy of residents.”

There were eight comments about an Orientation also shared. Comments were categorized in this area based on the content of their application as, Gilbert (2020) and Bauer (2010) defined them. “The basics of sunshine law and public records,” was a comment from one participant. Another example of orientation-related comments came from a participant who inquired about the “...Legal requirements of running meetings versus traditions and customs of running meetings.” There may be a hint of organizational culture within this statement, but these are topics that would typically be covered in orientation if it exists within the municipality. Two other examples offered included “Personnel management structure” and “exact health insurance benefits.”

Both Professional Development and the use and importance of technology each received two comments for this question. For Professional Development, one participant wished they had taken advantage of participation in professional organizations - specifically the Ohio Municipal League and the National League of Cities to learn more. The second comment was more general as the respondent wrote, “...becoming a better leader.” For technology, two comments clearly outlined how their government needed to invest in technology. “The technology of the municipal government needs to be brought up to date,” claimed one response. Also, “The City has not grown with technology or modernization” was the second response in this area of operations, including onboarding. Again, these comments may reflect Organizational Culture, but since the word “technology” was used in their responses, it was classified as such.

Having a sound financial and economic understanding of how the local government and economy work was also reported which adds support and clarification to Gilbert’s finding using the In Vivo content analysis method. Three of the six comments shared advised persons seeking the elected office of “understand municipal financing is very important,” “learn public sector financing and accounting,” and “know your agency’s budget and union contract.”

A second question asked of the respondents was, “What were three things you wish you would have known prior to beginning your elected office?” Comments mirrored those in the previous question while providing a much more variety of responses, more definitive of the various phases of onboarding. Specific to Gilbert’s model, preboarding led responses with 16 comments relating to that phase. Comments reflective of this included, “I felt prepared because I had been an appointed official just before I took office. I also went door to door, which helped me understand the expectations.” Another respondent wrote, “I wish I would have found out more about what it meant to be a statutory agency.” Finally, a third respondent wrote, “I was surprised by how involved the Mayor would be in day-to-day operations.”

In other areas within Gilbert’s model, respondents made comments which qualified within network connections (13), organizational culture (11), and orientation (8), followed by two comments each within professional development, feedback, and technology and one comment regarding having a mentor or buddy to help learn the ropes. For Developing Network Connections, one respondent wrote, “Figure out what makes each member of council tick - you need them to get anything done, and that means you need to convince them that they want to help you get work accomplished. Council can make your job very easy. Or very hard.” Another response that clearly showed a need for network connections included, “I wish I had been given a list of contacts, including Government agencies.” One respondent also identified connections outside of the local area, writing, “Who were the people outside of the local government I need to know for statewide issues”?

For understanding organizational culture, responses included, “I wish I would have known just how much our government ‘kicked the can’ down the road on personnel issues. It has made a climate that is very difficult to deal with them [employees].” Another respondent wrote, “[there is] a difficulty working with the legislative body.” A third response reflected almost the definition of organizational culture, writing, “The only thing that I would like to have known more about was the organizational culture. That being said, it would not have made a difference in my decision to accept the position.”

There were eight comments reflective of concepts that would be typical of compliance and clarification subject matter most commonly reviewed in a general orientation session. For example, one respondent wrote, “[It would be wise] to understand the basics of the sunshine laws.” Another response that qualified in this phase of onboarding was, “[Understanding] Classified vs. Unclassified and At-Will employees and how many unclassified you are permitted and who they should be.”

There were similar findings to Gilbert’s (2020) study on comments not outlined in the conceptual model. Among those, like the previous question, emotional intelligence topped the responses. Most responses were implicit in their description of emotional intelligence and included “Governing during a pandemic,” “[dealing with] employees who think they are the boss,” and “understanding the politics of government.”

The financial understanding was another specific topic Gilbert reported that was replicated in this study. Specifically, one respondent noted a wish to have learned “More about funding projects, locating grants and such.” Another respondent wrote they wished they would have learned “More about how the budget works and being able to read it better.” Grant funding was also found in the financial category and is a reality for adding to the budgets of municipalities.

An area that Gilbert’s City Councilors reported outside of the conceptual model was the notion of learning from previous mistakes, which can be valuable lessons to avoid. One respondent in this study specifically wrote, “[there was clearly] a lack of knowledge on prior decisions made by previous LEOs.” This comment indicated the perils of not preparing correctly for the responsibility of serving as an LEO. A second commenter noted in clear terms, “Wish I had started the charter process earlier,” which may be related to organizational culture as well. However, it was determined that the sentiment of this particular comment reflected a wish to change the process if it were possible to go back in time to do so.

An area reported wishing to have known more before taking office related most specifically to utilities and facilities. This was indicated less in Gilbert’s (2020) study. However, judging from the population of LEOs, it stands to reason that City Councilors would give less attention to utilities and facilities because of their legislative role. In contrast, Mayors and City Managers deal with those administrative issues daily. One respondent was explicit about this importance and wished they would have learned “...A hell of a lot more knowledge concerning infrastructure - water, wastewater, stormwater, broadband connectivity.” A second LEO also clearly identified this category by wishing for more knowledge on “streets, water lines and clean up,” while another wrote, “More about sewer system operations.”

Discussion

When it comes to onboarding for LEOs, this study asked whether local governments should have customized programs for the local elected officials. If so, what subject matter should be covered in general terms that might serve as a community framework? Second, this study set out to test Gilbert’s (2020) model for the onboarding of LEOs. Results from this study provide some answers to the second question and may offer support for the first.

Framers of onboarding in both the public sector (Gilbert, 2010; Gilbert, September 10, 2021); Dai & DeMeuse, 2017) and private sector (Gilbert, 2020; United States Office of Personnel Management, 2015) both advocate for customization for each agency. This makes sense as no two organizations are alike. Such differences go far beyond the typical tour of new hires being able to find things they will need to know when people go to lunch, where to park, how to make sense of their pay stubs, and other compliance-related issues. A one-size fits all approach would not account for specific culture-related nuances, so each local government agency should explore its systems in detail to help the LEO properly socialize into the organization.

This study also supports the notion that LEOs should have an onboarding program to help with the effectiveness of local government operations. Between Gilbert’s research and this study, more specific ideas on developing a curriculum for the subject matter covered during orientation may begin to emerge. For example, the curriculum for the orientation phase of LEOs may consider topics such as understanding city financing in more detail than what may be discovered during preboarding research activities. Tours of different facilities and learning the general operations of city or village utilities may also be considered the subject matter.

Although it was less reported in this study, a common point that emerged between Gilbert’s interviews with City Councilors and this study’s survey of Mayors and City Managers revealed that learning from previous mistakes may serve the development of the LEO and the overall governance of the municipality. Admitting mistakes and learning from them as an organization shows another factor that may be built into the onboarding program commonly reported as necessary - emotional intelligence. It can be difficult to admit mistakes, especially for someone elected. Still, these instances, decisions, and pitfalls offer valuable insight which would hopefully steer LEOs away from repeating the same faulty decisions.

Networking and connections can make a difference in a smooth transition and a way to early productivity. One of the responses that encompassed this touched on “...getting to know your City Council members and what makes them tick.” Also, mixers and meet-and-greet activities may be a pandora’s box to the elected official regarding the socialization of LEOs. Sunshine laws require that if three or more elected officials are meeting about official business, it must be open to the public. Gilbert (2020) reported that prior to the Sunshine Law, City Councilors used to meet for coffee to learn the systems and develop a greater understanding of the culture. Despite its popularity and effectiveness for learning, “coffee talks” were discontinued. This is a limitation by which private industry does not have to abide.

As far as Professional Development is concerned, while few responses alluded to it, State Municipal Leagues (in this case, the Ohio Municipal League) offer a wide variety of resources for LEOs that are a phone call or an email away. The OML has a “packaged” curriculum for New Mayors, which could be provided as part of the preboarding activities, as well as a scheduled interval of topics that would be available for online or interactive study. Such topics and approaches may be customized for population sizes, governmental structure (i.e., Charter or Statutory), and possibly other notable topics based on periodic needs analyses.

Similarly, the National League of Cities (NLC) provides resources to assist LEOs with some of the basics to more sophisticated and delicate matters. At the NLC University, topics that fall within three-course levels: 100: Essentials of Governing, 200: Beyond the Basics, and 300: Innovating and Problem Solving (NLC.org/resources). The cost of membership to organizations or for enrollment in different programs, certifications, and conferences may deter some municipalities from participation, but the LEO and their constituency should evaluate what the cost would be if the LEO does not participate in those activities.

In Ohio, an activity that was started as a result of the pandemic was the creation of a bi-weekly Mayor’s Zoom Call led by OML. This allows Mayors from all over the state to hear directly from state and federal level legislators and executives regarding issues concerning the pandemic, but also the chance to discuss a wide variety of topics. This measure was a natural “networking and connections” measure that happened out of an urgent necessity, and it continues.

Limitations

In contrast to Gilbert’s (2020) research on LEOs and onboarding, this study employed an online survey to gather qualitative data. Gilbert interviewed fewer subjects but was able to collect two rounds of in-depth interviews where she was able to test understanding in terms of what the City councilors meant by their answers. This study relied on quicker results with more of a shotgun approach to soliciting responses from Mayors and City Managers within a much broader geographic area. In this case, surveys were sent to the municipal members of the Ohio Municipal League. As such, there may be some differences between organizational cultures as one city in the Northeastern United States may not match the same values as those of the Midwest.

Another difference in findings may be based on the organizational structure. In Gilbert’s study, the town was structured as a City Charter where the City Manager makes most of the executive decisions and reports to the City Council. The Mayor is more of a ceremonial position but still holds a seat on Council. This study showed a preponderance of municipalities reported as statutory cities and villages. Such structure may also contribute to different systems, organizational cultures, and learning of critical responsibilities as an elected official. It should be noted that the City Manager was the responsible party for the onboarding of LEOs in Gilbert’s study. This offers a logical structure to formalize onboarding procedures under the charter system because of the nature of the hierarchy. However, Gilbert (September 10, 2021) even noted that the personality and skill set of the City Manager was a strong leader, which may have yielded positive onboarding results for that particular city. 

Similarly, Gilbert’s study involved a rural community. Respondents in this study showed a median population of 1500 citizens. The range of population was from 150 - 47,000 (as self-reported). With the median population of 1500, it would seem likely a truer measure of central tendency in this case as opposed to the mean size of the population. Therefore, both studies share rural settings, which also may affect the values, customs, systems, and expectations of LEOs more than those of metropolitan areas. More research is needed to test these differences and similarities. However, with the support of Gilbert’s (2020) model for onboarding, the notion of developing customized programs for LEOs would offer those applied research opportunities, especially in different geographic areas of the United States, in municipalities of higher populations, and by examining the governmental structure. Specifically, what variables should be considered when customizing an onboarding program for a statutory government that does not enjoy the benefits of a home rule structure?

Conclusions

Regarding preboarding, role clarification must be exhaustively because of our representation structure. Notably, is the LEO elected to do the bidding of the citizens or to weigh information in making decisions that serve the citizens, which may include measures they do not like. Nineteenth C. French politician and elected official Alexandre Aguste Ledru-Rollin made the famous quote that captured the juxtaposition of this perspective when he said, “There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader” (https://www.bartleby.com/73/1021.html). The role of the LEO should be to obtain points of view from different angles. Respondents in this study clearly outlined that need. Just as important as hearing from constituents, LEOs should reach out to the city’s employees, other municipalities, and different departments and related customer-supply chains related to city services. 

A common theme that this study and Gilbert found in the inductive findings regarded the notion of emotional intelligence as a need for LEOs. Emotional intelligence (EI) is defined as “the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. People with high emotional intelligence can recognize their own emotions and those of others, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, and adjust emotions to adapt to environments.” (en.wikipedia.org). Arguably, EI may describe someone as having good judgment or self-control. In the study of leadership character virtues, one has appeared to have stood out above the rest. Self-control is what Sosik, Chun, Ete, Arenas, & Scherer (2019) refer to as the “master virtue.” Crossan and Smith (2019) refer to it as “judgment.” Honesty and humility, moral courage, empathy, and fairness were also measured and found to flourish when a leader’s self-control was higher (Sosik et al., 2019). These findings support the effectiveness of leaders (Babalola, Stouten, Camps, & Euwema, 2019; Quade, Perry, & Hunter, (2019) and are consistent with the notion of self-control serving as the core of major virtues (Baumeister & Exline, 1999). This “moral muscle” points to other moral standards like honesty and integrity while providing empathy and displaying the courage to do the right thing (p. 1170). Mayors and City Managers have to be some of the courageous people in our government, so having the EI and self-control to monitor emotions at all times and maintain poise under pressure is what the sample of Mayors and City Managers recommended in this study. Are people born with EI, or can it be taught and developed? An LEO has a target on their back anytime they are in public. Even during moments when the LEO is “off the clock,” a constituent invariably seeks out the LEO in the store, at the school, or at the ballgame to complain about an issue. In rural communities, it is even more of a reality.

As was common in Gilbert’s (2020) findings and this study, getting involved in local boards and commissions was a crucial first step to familiarizing oneself with the inner workings of the government. Having the opportunity to hear cases and vote on matters that are quasi-judicial or those which provide specific recommendations to City Council provides a glimpse into the pressures of the office. Developing experience from the legislative as well as the executive levels of governance can be invaluable to having a good understanding of those elements Gilbert outlines in her model, as well as getting a head start on connections and the organizational culture.

 

Author: Matthew Starr

 

References

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Foster-Thompson, L., Beal, S. A., & Lussier, J. W. (2009). Developing an Onboarding Program to Improve Senior Leader Transition in the Army. North Carolina State University at Raleigh.

Gilbert, C. T. (2020). Learning the ropes: A case study of the onboarding process for newly elected city councilors. (dissertation). University of Southern Maine Digital Commons, Portland, Maine.

Gilbert, C.T. (September 10, 2021). Personal conversation.

McKinsey & Company (2010). Making it work in government: Perspectives on transforming performance in the public sector. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2010.05.006

Ndunguru, C.A. (2012). Executive onboarding: Now to hit the ground running. Association for Talent Development. https://www.td.org/magaines/the-public-manager/executive-onboarding-how-to-hit-the-ground-running.

Quade, M. J., Perry, S. J., & Hunter, E. M. (2019). Boundary conditions of ethical leadership: Exploring supervisor-induced and job hindrance stress as potential inhibitors. Journal of Business Ethics, 158(4), 1165-1184.

Slack, J.D. (1990, Summer). Local government training and education needs for the 21st century. Public Productivity & Management Review, 13(4), 397-404.

Sosik, J. J., Chun, J. U., Ete, Z., Arenas, F. J., & Scherer, J. A. (2019). Self-control puts character into action: Examining how leader character strengths and ethical leadership relate to leader outcomes. Journal of Business Ethics, 160(3), 765-781.

Stein, M., & Christiansen, L. (2010). Successful onboarding. McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing. New York.

United States Office of Personnel Management (2015). Executive order guidance - strengthening the Senior Executive Service: Implementing the executive onboarding requirement. https://www.chcoc.gov/sites/default/files/Executive%20Order%20Guidance%20--%20Executive%20Onboarding.pdf

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