Leading Your Community: A Guide for Local Elected Leaders

A quick and easy-to-understand introduction to the roles, responsibilities, and relationships of local elected officials.

Nov 27, 2017
Graphic of the Leading Your Community e-book on a tablet
  • Comprehensive overview of the roles, responsibilities and relationships of local elected officials
  • Valuable guide to help local elected leaders strengthen their effectiveness
  • Introduction to leadership essentials for candidates for local office
  • Developed in partnership with the National League of Cities

Newly elected officials come into their roles from different backgrounds and occupations—and their first job is to find their place on the team responsible for establishing strategic community policy. While they each have different issues that they plan to tackle, their team vision will be essential to success. City managers can help newly elected officials step into their new roles and be effective members of the team with this valuable resource from ICMA and the National League of Cities.

Leading Your Community: A Guide for Local Elected Leaders is a quick and easy-to-understand introduction to the roles, responsibilities, and relationships of local elected officials. This 90-page guide provides a framework to help the newly elected official strengthen his/her effectiveness as an individual leader and as a member of the local leadership team.

This guide provides strategies to help local elected leaders broaden their leadership perspective to be able to anticipate new challenges while maintaining attention to day-to-day service needs.

From policy making to citizen engagement, ethics to intergovernmental roles, Leading Your Community: A Guide for Local Elected Leaders focuses on the local elected official as:

  • A visionary leader
  • A champion of democratic governance
  • A values-driven and ethical leader
  • A collaborative leader who recognizes the interdependence of governments
  • A knowledgeable leader who pays attention to issues that shape public policy decisions.

The five chapters in Part I feature the basics of local leadership to help the local elected official understand:

  • How to build an effective leadership team within the local legal framework
  • Setting policy goals and developing plans to support them
  • Using meetings to support good decision making
  • Communicating and connecting with your constituents
  • Working with the chief administrator

The four chapters in Part II address the bigger picture of leading in the 21st century, helping the local elected official understand:

  • Democratic governance and broad citizen engagement
  • The importance of values-driven and ethical leadership
  • The role he/she plays in the larger intergovernmental system
  • The impact of national trends on local public policy.

Each section offers guidance on local processes and provides examples of approaches in communities of all sizes. A resource section highlights Web sites and publications for more information.

About the Author

Christine Becker has served as NLC's deputy executive director, ICMA's director of education services, and the chief of human resource development for the District of Columbia. The book was created with input from ICMA staff, and reviewed by elected officials and managers, as well as state league directors.

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