Between Monday 12th September and Wednesday 14th September, 2016, the Local Government Service Secretariat (LGSS) organized a leadership workshop for ninety (90) senior officers of managerial status in the Local Government Service (LGS) at the Elking Hotel, East Legon in the Greater Accra Region. The leadership workshop was to prepare managers to meet new leadership challenges as they move up on the next level of their career progression.
The ninety participants were made up of Deputy Directors and analogous grades. This included thirty one (31) officers in the Administrative Class, nineteen (19) officers in the Planning Class, two (2) officers in the Engineering Class, one (1) officer in the Architectural Class, thirteen (13) officers in the Budget Class, six (6) officers in the Social Development Class, four (4) officers in the Internal Audit Class and fourteen (14) officers in the Agricultural Class.
In his opening remarks, the Head of Service (HoS), Dr. Callistus Mahama, commended participants for taking time off their busy schedules to partake in the programme and said the leadership workshop was a teaser to remind officers of what would happen during their promotion interviews. He encouraged participants to prepare individually to ensure outstanding performance.
He cautioned that, the leadership workshop was not to provide fore-knowledge of the interview questions as questions to be asked be specific to each interviewee and reflects panelist’s view point. He reiterated the need for officers to be broad minded and be abreast of on-going reforms in the Service rather than to concentrate on technical issues in their respective fields. He indicated that success at the interview depended on individual’s input, hence, in the unlikely event of non-performance, the LGSS and superiors should not be blamed.
On the issue of vacancies in the Service to accommodate the number of officers due for promotion, the HoS said efforts had been made to create enough vacancies and challenged officers to develop their career to the apex of their various fields. He also said vacancies exist for Coordinating Director positions and advised officers to take advantage of these available opportunities when applications would be solicited for in 2017.
He emphasized the expectations of Management with regard to the qualities and characteristics senior officers were required to display and these included: influencing Assemblies priorities through participatory identification and implementation of such priorities, being creative and innovative; lead resource mobilization efforts; avoid imbalance between technical and generic knowledge on on-going reforms in the Service and ensure effective interpersonal communication.
The HoS said the goal of Management is to make the Local Government Service, the Service of choice in the Ghana Public Service and therefore high standards must be set to ensure the realization of that objective. He added that Management had full confidence that with little effort on the part of participants, they should be able to go through the interviews successfully.
Presentations and Open Forum
The Chief Director and Director of Human Resource Management at the Secretariat were in attendance and took turns to address participants. Other seasoned Public Servants and private practitioners in Public Administration were also invited to facilitate some sessions of the leadership workshop.
During the three days, participants were treated to a number of presentations after which discussions were held on substantive and emerging issues in the public administrative landscape to inform and make officers better suited for their management roles. Some of the presentations were on interview techniques, Legislative Instrument (LI) 1961 and Its Implications, Stress Management at the Workplace, Role of Communication in Managing People, Politics – Administration Interface, the Importance of Managing Change in the Successful Implementation of Decentralization, Appearance and Grooming for the Workplace among others.
During the open forum, participants were again offered opportunity to seek clarifications and explanations on gray areas of all issues discussed during the presentations. It therefore came as no surprise when participants expressed satisfaction and the achievement of their expectations. This came to light when the Head of Service sampled the views of some Conference participants during the concluding session.
To wrap up the open forum, the HoS provided participants with some tips on responding to interview questions. He advised participants to focus on strategic functions when asked the role they play in their various capacities. Additionally, he said, interviewees must emphasize critical challenges in the performance of their duties and suggest cogent solutions to address them. On contemporary national policies, he said, officers are to arm themselves with knowledge on current policies and how these policies impart their work. With regard to current affairs, he advised officers to equip themselves with knowledge of local and international issues and the possible effects of these issues on their work.
The Chief Director of LGSS, Mr. J. M. Dasanah, in his concluding remarks said, he was confident that officers had been thoroughly prepared for their promotion interview and given the budding opportunities, he was optimistic that these officers would be the cream of the Service in the near future.
In closing the leadership workshop, the Head of Service on his part said, he was extremely happy for the realization of participants’ expectations, however, participants should seize every opportunity to learn in order to be on top of issues. He urged officers to firstly continue their preparations beyond the leadership workshop by conferring among themselves. Secondly, they should not hesitate to contact the Secretariat as Management was ever ready to provide any needed support to ensure their success during the interviews. He wished participants well in their future endeavours.