Middle Managers

7 Skills for Effective Public Managers

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Increasingly, public managers operate in a VUCA world – characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Leaders are answerable to multiple stakeholders, including their own organisations, parent and sister agencies, private companies, citizens, and civil society groups, as well as international actors and organisations. Aside from having to work with these various stakeholders with their own distinct agendas and interests, public managers often find themselves confronted with policy conundrums with no easy answers. At the same time, if they manage to leverage the strengths and expertise offered by stakeholders and harness the benefits of technologies, they may be able to create more value at lower costs. In short: 21st century challenges can be turned into immense opportunities. But how should they tackle this? Clearly, business as usual is not an option. Developing competencies in areas such as strategic planning, operational control, and financial forecas ting are no longer sufficient. New skills, competencies, and values will have to be added to existing ones. But which will be most important, and how can managers and their agencies acquire and nurture these skills, competencies, and values?

Taught by the faculty of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and guided by the lead instructor’s brand new book The 21st Century Public Manager, this 4-day programme on 7 Skills for Effective Public Managers provides cutting-edge insights on complexity, diversity, and resilience in preparation for a VUCA world. Participants will be equipped with the tools, cases, and best practices to be better prepared and more confident about turning today’s and tomorrow’s challenges into opportunities. After taking this course, participants will craft their own future as 21st century public managers.

Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore (469C Bukit Timah Road Singapore 259772)

Mon 23 April 2018 to Thu 26 April 2018

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Fri 23 March 2018

This programme will help participants to: 

  • More effective in preparing for ‘known’ and ‘unknown’ 21st century public management challenges;
  • More confident and astute in dealing with ambiguous stakeholders, populist electorates and political bosses;
  • More realistic in assessing the risks and benefits of cross-sectoral collaboration;
  • More effective in managing and leading diverse teams with members from different generations and backgrounds; and
  • More skilled at combining long-term strategic planning and foresight with immediate responses to continuous media cycles and requests.

The programme is structured around 7 key skills that help public managers become more effective in their operating environments:

1. Managing Multiple Stakeholders –
Dealing with more fluid and ambiguous stakeholder networks across various engagement platforms (including new media).

2. Managing Political Turbulence and Leadership Shifts – Dealing with declining public trust and legitimacy, populism, and more frequent (and sudden) leadership shifts.

3. Managing the New Work (Force) – Dealing with new generations of workers and new (virtual, technologised, remote, and flexible) work practices.

4. Managing Internal and External Innovation Forces – Managing tensions between innovation, risk-aversion and austerity in implementing new regulations, programmes and technologies.

5. Managing Ethical Complexities – Operating amidst new types of ethical dilemmas and scrutiny from stakeholders;

6. Managing Short versus Long Term Horizons – Acting in the present as well as anticipating the future(s) through strategic use of foresight exercises and media frames.

7. Managing Cross-Sectoral Collaboration – Leveraging on the working styles, resources, and agendas of different types of partners in collaborative arrangements.

This programme is designed for middle- to senior level policymakers and directors of programmes, departments and agencies who want to adopt a more future-ready mindset, and for public managers who are transitioning from leading small teams, programmes or projects to more senior roles where they will lead and manage bigger teams in cross departmental, cross-sectoral, and cross-national settings. It is also particularly useful for managers of non-profit and private sector organisations working with or through governments.

Programme Cost: 

S$3,980 + 7% GST

S$3,582 + 7% GST (For groups of 3 or more participants)

S$3,184 + 7% GST (20% discount for LKY School degree programme/ executive education progamme alumni)


Executive Education Department
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore
469C Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259772

Tel: (65) 6516 8697 / 6601 5774
Fax: (65) 6872 9291

Application Deadline: 6 Nov 2017


Professor Zeger van der Wal

Assistant Dean (Research) & Associate Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

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Alex Lin

Head, Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd

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