4 Key Takeaways for Good Council-Manager Relationships

ARTICLE | Jul 7, 2016


  1. The best way to establish trust and confidence needed to achieve “big things” is to consistently do the small things well.
  2. Never forget that you are the link between the organization and the council, and that is why effective communication is an integral part of your job.
  3. It’s never too early to offer good governance education; a council candidate orientation prior to any election makes sense in many situations.
  4. Do all you can to make sure council members feel they are playing a meaningful role in the organization.

Establishing, nurturing, and maintaining good relations with elected officials is one of the key components of every city and county manager’s job.

If proper techniques and strategies are used to establish an effective working relationship with the governing board, there is a greater likelihood of job satisfaction for all concerned. On the other hand, when no techniques or strategies are in place, and when the elected policy makers and the manager are not working well together, it invariably ripples through the organization and impacts effectiveness at all levels – ultimately resulting in the public not being well served.

ICMA’s new e-book, Making It Work: The Essentials of Council-Manager Relations, offers a variety of suggested techniques and strategies to maximize an effective working relationship with your governing board. Recognizing that not all the factors required for an effective relationship are in the manager’s control, this guide was created to improve the local government manager’s ability to effectively address those factors over which you have influence.

Through a series of chapters, you'll learn why getting the relationships right from the start is important; how to achieve clarity of roles, desired outcomes, and policy development; the why and how of conducting new council-member orientations; how to plan effective council meetings; as well as receive a set of 12 best practices in council-manager relations. 

as a MEMBER BENEFIT, this e-book IS AVAILABLE to icma members for free download.

Download Here

nonmembers can purchase the e-book for $69.95 in the icma bookstore.

Purchase Here

Become a member to save $69.95.

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