Objective: This study sought to determine the best practices of women leaders in the public sector. Methods: This phenomenological study used purposive sampling to identify women leaders and used the interview protocol. Researcher interviewed 8 women leaders from City, State, County, and higher education agencies. Researcher used public open source Web sites such as LinkedIn and LAAAWPPI to recruit participants, and 12 open-ended interview questions were posed. From these, 5 themes emerged (a) Collaboration, (b) Communication, (c) Be coachable, (d) Manage Bureaucracy, and (e) Have integrity. Findings: The findings show women in the public sector face challenges in the workplace, such as harsh judgments, uneven and different work standards than men, and feel compelled to go above and beyond work requirements in order to be taken seriously on the job. However, the participants noted their interpersonal skills, executive functioning skills, and ability to move past those challenges helped to advance their careers. Best practices of women leaders included operating with personal integrity, being coachable, and using a situational leadership style. Conclusions. Strong perceptions of women leaders in the public sector are quite evident. The conclusion shows women are still judged differently than men. Women value working in collaborative teams, listening, and having open communication. Recommendations: Women leaders should approach change positively, be coachable, and use situational leadership to navigate organizational barriers and advance in the workplace. Public sector employers must provide executive coaching and mentoring and opportunities for collaboration to attract, recruit, retain, and promote high potential women leaders in the public sector.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Women in leadership; Political leadership; Women -- Political activity

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Madjidi, Farzin;