“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin
Working in local government often means planning for the big picture. Planning for the future needs of groups or areas in the community can be absorbing challenges. But one thing that should not be left out is the need to plan for the next generation of local government leaders. January is National Mentoring Month in the United States, and in honor of the occasion we’d like to share some mentoring resources with the community.
Mentorship in local government is about more than sharing leadership and management skills. Those skills can be important, but sometimes mentorship is about imparting a set of life skills to aid future leaders, posits a PM article from 1996. A more recent article points out that even after working for a city manager for a good deal of time, protégés may not yet know what they want in a career or the decisions to be made on the way to being a city manager. To aid mentors and their protégés, ICMA has released a large collection of PM articles under the title, “The Next Generation Initiatives.” These articles focus on identifying future managers already in local government, best methods of imparting knowledge, and ways of attracting young people to local government. In the Career Resources section of the Career Network, you can find these articles and much more to help you prepare for the future generation of managers. Prospective managers and those just starting their careers can find help for their first year on the job, or planning for your first five years.
Remember, mentoring is not a one-way street. Sometimes the younger generation has something to teach the older. The 2011 ICMA Annual Conference was home to Meredith Haucke’s presentation on what the next generation looks for in a good leader, and what they, in turn, are bringing to the workforce.