Quote of the week
“The average public sector manager was found to be working 48 additional days on top of the hours they are paid and contracted to do…”
— Chartered Management Institute
The question is: when will governments wake up and figure out that the process of transformation needs to take into account the managers of the organization?
A U.K. report by the Chartered Management Institute points out what every public servant knows: that public sector managers work hard. The APEX survey on the health and well-being of executives in the federal government confirms that fact, reporting that in 2007 over 95 percent of respondents worked more than 40 hours a week.
But there is a lot of data to suggest there is more to it than that. For example, the APEX survey shows there is a high level of burnout among this group and that 64 percent think of leaving the government at least once a month.
Well, who wouldn’t be given the pressure faced by the average public sector manager?
Many are forced to lead their staffs through layoffs or the so-called “affected” process only to find out that they themselves face the same fate.
And on top of that, many have little idea where this is all going to end, worrying about their role in the public service of the future.
In Britain, a public servant wrote about why he left after 30 years of service.
The first reason was that the culture of his organization had changed from being one that supported different points of view to one that was “much more regimented,…a much greater separation between a small group of people at the very top and the rest of the organization and a more transactional relationship with ministers.”
More important, perhaps, he writes that “I felt less sure about my fit with expectations about individual style and behaviours, particularly at more senior levels.”
This individual was expressing no bitterness, just a sense of unease regarding where public service reform was going. Add to this the pressure of managing, and it is perhaps little wonder he decided to jump ship.