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Classification & Qualifications General Schedule Qualification Standards

Supervisory Guide

The Supervisory Qualification Guide prescribes general guidance when determining requirements for supervisory positions in the General Schedule (GS) or equivalent at grades 15 and below. While not mandatory, use of this Guide is strongly recommended.

Ten (10) competencies listed in this document reflect those considered as most important for successful performance of Federal supervisory work. Candidates should possess proficiency or the potential to develop proficiency in these competencies prior to entry into a supervisory position.

The specific level of proficiency identified for each competency depends on the specific requirements of the position being filled and must be determined by the employing agency.

10 Competencies Most Important For Supervisory Work

Supervisory Work
Accountability Holds self and others accountable for measurable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results. Determines objectives, sets priorities, and delegates work. Accepts responsibility for mistakes. Complies with established control systems and rules.
Customer Service Anticipates and meets the needs of both internal and external customers. Delivers high-quality products and services; is committed to continuous improvement.
Decisiveness Makes well-informed, effective, and timely decisions, even when data are limited or solutions produce unpleasant consequences; perceives the impact and implications of decisions.
Flexibility Is open to change and new information; rapidly adapts to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles.
Integrity/Honesty Behaves in an honest, fair, and ethical manner. Shows consistency in words and actions. Models high standards of ethics.
Interpersonal Skills Treats others with courtesy, sensitivity, and respect. Considers and responds appropriately to the needs and feelings of different people in different situations.
Oral Communication Makes clear and convincing oral presentations. Listens effectively; clarifies information as needed.
Problem Solving Identifies and analyzes problems; weighs relevance and accuracy of information; generates and evaluates alternative solutions; makes recommendations.
Resilience Deals effectively with pressure; remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity. Recovers quickly from setbacks.
Written Communication Writes in a clear, concise, organized, and convincing manner for the intended audience.

Technical Requirements

Many supervisory positions have specific subject-matter knowledge and skill requirements (i.e., technical requirements) candidates must meet. When the supervisory position has technical requirements, the employing agency must use an occupation-specific qualification standard. The Supervisory Qualification Guide should be used in conjunction with the occupation-specific qualification standard.

Other Competencies Related To Leadership Positions

When filling supervisory positions agencies may consider using additional competencies beyond the ten (10) recommended competencies listed above. Agencies may choose from among any of the leadership competencies listed below or, based on job analysis, agencies may develop their own competencies/Knowledge, Skills, Abilities (KSAs).

Leadership Competencies
Conflict Management Encourages creative tension and differences of opinions. Anticipates and takes steps to prevent counter-productive confrontations. Manages and resolves conflicts and disagreements in a constructive manner.
Continual Learning Assesses and recognizes own strengths and weaknesses; pursues self-development.
Creativity and Innovation Develops new insights into situations; questions conventional approaches; encourages new ideas and innovations; designs and implements new or cutting edge programs/processes.
Developing Others Develops the ability of others to perform and contribute to the organization by providing ongoing feedback and by providing opportunities to learn through formal and informal methods.
Entrepreneurship Positions the organization for future success by identifying new opportunities; builds the organization by developing or improving products or services. Takes calculated risks to accomplish organizational objectives.
External Awareness Understands and keeps up-to-date on local, national, and international policies and trends that affect the organization and shape stakeholders' views; is aware of the organization's impact on the external environment.
Financial Management Understands the organization's financial processes. Prepares, justifies, and administers the program budget. Oversees procurement and contracting to achieve desired results. Monitors expenditures and uses cost-benefit thinking to set priorities.
Human Capital Management Builds and manages workforce based on organizational goals, budget considerations, and staffing needs. Ensures that employees are appropriately recruited, selected, appraised, and rewarded; takes action to address performance problems. Manages a multi-sector work force and a variety of work situations.
Influencing/Negotiating Persuades others; builds consensus through give and take; gains cooperation from others to obtain information and accomplish goals.
Leveraging Diversity Fosters an inclusive workplace where diversity and individual differences are valued and leveraged to achieve the vision and mission of the organization.
Partnering Develops networks and builds alliances; collaborates across boundaries to build strategic relationships and achieve common goals.
Political Savvy Identifies the internal and external politics that impact the work of the organization. Perceives organizational and political reality and acts accordingly.
Public Service Motivation Shows a commitment to serve the public. Ensures that actions meet public needs; aligns organizational objectives and practices with public interests.
Strategic Thinking Formulates objectives and priorities, and implements plans consistent with the long-term interest of the organization in a global environment. Capitalizes on opportunities and manages risks.
Teambuilding Inspires and fosters team commitment, spirit, pride, and trust. Facilitates cooperation and motivates team members to accomplish group goals.
Technical Credibility Understands and appropriately applies principles, procedures, requirements, regulations, and policies related to specialized expertise.
Technology Management Keeps up-to-date on technological developments. Makes effective use of technology to achieve results. Ensures access to and security of technology systems.
Vision Takes a long-term view and builds a shared vision with others; acts as a catalyst for organizational change. Influences others to translate vision into action.

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