Uncommon leadership

Thomas R. Temin

Recently I attended a retirement dinner for the man who hired me into the business-to-business publishing field nearly 25 years ago. Although I haven't worked for him in many years, he has remained a friend and adviser through the years.

He's not famous; he didn't work on the grand stage. But he influenced countless people who came within his orbit by his leadership skills and joie de vivre, whether applied to people, corporate obstacles or just plain, everyday getting the job done. He always stood out among the conforming ranks populating the bureaucracy of a large publishing concern. You wanted to be on his team.

The 10 men and women featured in this special double issue are like that. Operating within the vast apparatus of government and military, they may not be too well known, but their skills and accomplishments resonate. Amid the comings and goings of political appointees, the ebb and flow of budgets, and the blessings and rants of Congress, they don't merely persevere and survive. They bring an enthusiasm to their jobs that more than gets results. They inspire the people around them.

Most recipients of these first GCN Management Awards for Leadership were nominated by co-workers, subordinates or immediate supervisors'people close to them. In several cases the nominations were sent in without the nominee's knowledge'testimony to the genuine regard in which colleagues hold them.

In reading the 50 nominations and in acting as chairman of the panel that chose the 10 awardees, I found their diversity of career and personal backgrounds made characterizing them as a group impossible. But one common characteristic did stand out: These people are doers.

They are leaders who, even as they manage policy and people, are eager to roll up their sleeves and play hands-on roles in their programs. They are the field commanders in the huge operation of government.

I found their stories inspiring. I hope you do, too.

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