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Training and Development Policy Wiki

Page History: Supervisory Leadership Development

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Page Revision: 9/12/2013 4:40:15 PM

Supervisory Leadership Development

Supervisors and managers are the nexus between Government policy and action and the link between management and employees.  For this reason, the supervisor’s proficiency in both technical and leadership skills is important for success.  Effective supervisors increase employee motivation, communicate expectations, and ultimately increase organizational performance.   Investing in supervisory learning and development will save money in the future and improve work quality, professional development and job satisfaction throughout all levels of the Federal workforce.     

This page also includes existing online and classroom training materials and resources shared by Federal Agencies.  Agencies are encouraged to share course information that ties to any of the competency areas within the Supervisory Training Framework.


According to 5 U.S.C. 7103(a)(10), “supervisor” means …an individual employed by an agency having authority in the interest of the agency to hire, direct, assign, promote, reward, transfer, furlough, layoff, recall, suspend, discipline, or remove employees, to adjust their grievances, or to effectively recommend such action, if the exercise of the authority is not merely routine or clerical in nature but requires the consistent exercise of independent judgment...


Mandatory Training Requirements

All agencies are required to provide training within one year of an employee’s initial appointment to a supervisory position, as well as refresher training to all supervisors and managers at least every three years (5 CFR 412.202).  The training must address, at a minimum, options and strategies to improve employee performance.  These minimum training requirements, while helpful, do not address the full spectrum of skills and competencies a supervisor needs to be effective.


The revised 5 CFR 412.202 discusses systematic training and development of supervisors, managers, and executives, and requires new supervisors to receive:

  • Initial supervisory training within one year of the new supervisor’s appointment, and
  • Retraining in all areas at least once every three years
  • Agencies must also provide training when employees make critical career transitions, for instance, from a non-supervisory position to a supervisory position or from manager to executive. This training should be consistent with assessment of the agency’s and the employee’s needs.
  • OPM does not require a specific number of hours of training for supervisory and managerial development. Agencies are free to set their own policies and requirements for supervisors to engage in training that meets the needs of the organization.

The Federal Workforce Flexibility Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-411) directs agencies to provide specific training to develop supervisors as part of a comprehensive succession management strategy.  The Act requires agencies to provide training to supervisors and managers on actions, options and strategies to:

  • Mentor employees
  • Improve employee performance and productivity
  • Conduct employee performance appraisals
  • Identify and assist employees with unacceptable performance

Federal Government Tools and Resources

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

  • OPM Supervisory Training Framework: This framework incorporates mandatory training, recommended training outlined in the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations G.E.A.R. report and the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 ( GPRA-MA 2010), as well as critical leadership competencies and technical HR knowledge needed to succeed as a supervisor.  The framework is intended to assist agency instructional designers and training managers, as well as aspiring, new, and current supervisors, in charting their development as supervisors.  Experienced supervisors new to the Federal Government are also encouraged to review the framework to assess knowledge of Government-specific leadership and technical competencies.

  • Manager’s Corner:  This page will provide links to information of most interest and importance to Federal supervisors, managers, and executives.  Whether you are looking for training, performance management information, pay tables, information on how to successfully implement telework for your employees, or other topics related to human resources or employee relations you can find it on the Manager’s Corner.

Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

  • A Call to Action: Improving First-Level Supervision of Federal Employees:  In this report by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), identifies and discusses specific needs for improvement in the selection, development, guidance, and management of Federal first-level supervisors.  Additionally, MSPB offers recommendations to address each area identified for improvement. Some of those recommendations are new; others have appeared in previous MSPB reports or been made previously by other organizations. Not all of our recommendations will work for all agencies.

Agency Course Materials

The Smithsonian Institute
Course:  Fundamentals for Supervisors

  • Topics:  Making the Transition to Management, Equal Employment Opportunity, Workforce Planning & Management, Leave and Work Schedule Policies and Procedures, Managing Conduct Issues and Adverse Actions, Labor and Employee Relations Policies and Practices, Performance Management, Development Conversations, Types of Development Support, and Creating a Safe Work Environment.
  • Materials:  PowerPoint Slides, Facilitator Materials and Participant Materials
  • Instructional Method/ Duration:  Instructor-led Training, 6 Days


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Course:  Leadership in Context

  • Topics: Self- Awareness and Communication Skills: The Foundations of Success; Managing for Results; Managing Human Resources: The Legal Foundations; and Managing Change and Building Partnerships and Coalitions.
  • Materials:  PowerPoint Slides, Facilitator Guide, Participant Materials and Course Evaluation
  • Instructional Method/ Duration:  Instructor-led Training, 12 Days

Course:  Dimensions of Leadership

  • Topics: Self as Leader (Leading People), Skills of a Manager, Getting Things Done Through Others (Results Driven), Leading from the Middle (Building Partnerships and Coalitions), and Getting Results and Pulling it All Together (Leading Change and Results Driven)
  • Materials:  PowerPoint Slides, Facilitator Guide, Participant Materials and Course Evaluation
  • Instructional Method/ Duration:  Instructor-led Training, 12 Days

Course:  Introduction to Supervisor 101

  • Topics:  Merit System Principles and Prohibited Personnel Practices, Principles of NO FEAR and EEO, Hiring, Introduction to the Performance Management Appraisal Program, Performance Management, Telework, Employee Assistance Program, Leave Administration, Labor Relations, and Employee Relations.
  • Materials:  Participant Guide, Videos of Instructor-led Sessions
  • Instructional Method/ Duration:  Instructor-led Training, 3 Days

Course:  Essential Supervision Skills

  • Topics:  Communication Skills, Promoting Employee Performance, Federal Supervisor’s HRM Role and Ethics, EEO Basics, and Managing Conflict
  • Materials:  PowerPoint Slides, Facilitator Guide, and Participant Materials
  • Instructional Method/ Duration:  Instructor-led Training, 9 Days


Helpful Tips

Reach beyond the requirements in 5 CFR 412.202 to address key leadership competencies and human resources technical knowledge to become more successful.  Because training needs may vary across Government, agencies are encouraged to conduct a training needs assessment to design and develop a supervisory training program that meets agency-specific needs.

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