Although this idea is specific to the US Patent and Trademark Office, it could readily be applied to other agencies and departments.
The functions that a manager performs currently includes supporting the work force that work under them, monitoring their work habits, motivating them to produce more, reward them for their hard work and punish them for their slack. The managers are periodically trained in order to do these jobs, the end goal being -- increase production, which directly relates to increasing income to the government. Although the managers are well trained in the managerial tasks, what they miss is "the actual work being performed." They are rusty on the 'real' problems that workers (called examiners) face. The reason being, they don't do any real work, and end up rattling advice that they picked up from their managerial training, without being in touch with reality. SOLUTION: If a Manager was assigned to do some 'real work' , then he/she will get into the shoes of the worker (examiner) and will be more capable of advicing, in practical terms. Above all, and most important, there will be increased production, as a result of the management pitching in. PUNCH LINE: Get the management to pitch in and share some low level tasks, for example, in case of USPTO, the managers should be examinign at least a few applications, which would improve their management skills as well as production for the department.