Building Trust & Effectiveness in Congress
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Summary of Chapter 10: The Member's Role as Leader of the Office

*Excerpt from Setting Course: A Congressional Management Guide, copyright Congressional Management Foundation. 

 

DO...
DON'T...
  • understand that you are the leader — not the day-to-day manager — of your office.

  • assess and understand your leadership style. Request honest feedback to help you analyze your leadership strengths and weaknesses.

  • hire a Chief of Staff whom you can trust to manage the office with broad guidance you provide. If you lack confidence in your Chief of Staff, you will feel compelled to micromanage the office.

  • take the time to assess the capabilities of your staff so you can feel confident in delegating work. This will allow you to focus the leadership responsibilities of the office.

  • create a positive office culture by: having a clear mission and goals; operating according to personal values that will result in staff respect; and treating staff with trust and respect.

  • create a negative culture by: failing to adhere to clear, consistent values; promoting the mistrust of others; making staff feel that they are expendable.

  • deny that every office has resource limitations. Members who constantly generate new initiatives and projects without making strategic trade-offs in priorities overburden themselves and their staff and accomplish little for their efforts.

  • neglect the Member/Chief of Staff relationship. To work well, this relationship requires a good deal of discussion and negotiation about roles and expectations.