Useful New Year's Resolutions for Federal Leaders

THE NEW YEAR provides a great opportunity for federal leaders to make fresh start.

Sure, the old problems have not gone away, new challenges undoubtedly will pop up and the politics of the nation's capital will not be appreciably different in 2014 than they were in 2013. But what's important on a personal level is how you handle these issues and the people you manage.

While every agency and situation is different, there are some common sense approaches that you can take to deal with day-to-day matters in the year ahead. You might call these suggestions New Year's resolutions, but they all involve ways to better connect with your workforce and get the most out of your employees. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Focus on the positives. After years of talk about hiring freezes and budget cuts, it's time to shift the focus to what you can control. As we learned from the agencies making positive gains in the "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" rankings, leaders (and therefore agencies) who succeeded in improving employee satisfaction and commitment did so because they made steady, consistent progress around specific goals they could achieve, rather than trying to boil the ocean.