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” is defined as, "…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:

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:

Federal Government Tools and Resources

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

a 508-compliant version of this memorandum is available at:


The U.S. Department of Justice

LEAP into Success: An Overview of the DOJ Leadership Excellence and Achievement Program (LEAP)
This interagency learning opportunity can help you in your efforts to develop successful leadership programs that build a talented, diverse, and skilled Federal workforce.

LEAP is a competitive DOJ program designed to prepare up to 30 participants for future management positions. The LEAP curriculum addressing the five Executive Core Qualifications: leading change, leading people, results driven, business acumen, and building coalitions/communications.  This successful program consists of mentoring, classroom and electronic education, developmental assignments, shadowing assignments, and other experiential exercises.

Bill Thimmesch, DOJ’s Leadership and Executive Development Program Manager, shares a brief history, the current state, and what the future holds for LEAP.  The presentation ends with an emphasis on action planning, to build executive involvement and appreciation for the program, and to assist LEAP participants in gaining practical leadership skills by working on real-world organizational problems.

LEAP Webcast Materials

To view the LEAP Webcast, please click here.


The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

From #172 to #1: The US Patent & Trademark Office’s leap to the top of the Best Places to Work ranks is a direct representation of all the hard work, visionary leadership, and strategic planning that made the agency what it is today. There are many ‘keys to success’ that can be gleaned from the agency’s journey to #1, including providing developmental opportunities for leaders at all levels, collaborating across organizational boundaries, and engaging the virtual workforce, leadership commitment, among others.

Jennifer Tokar and John Tindal from the USPTO tell the story of how the agency made the climb from a Best Places to Work ranking of 172nd place to 1st place in just 6 years! They highlight how the USPTO overcame distinct challenges by making leadership development a priority, and discuss how the agency truly exemplified the values of engagement, excellence, and collaboration.

USPTO’s presentation ‘Leadership Development Best Practices from a #1 Place to Work’

Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

Agency Course Materials

The Smithsonian Institute
Course:  Fundamentals for Supervisors

Download here.

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

Download here. 

Course:  Dimensions of Leadership

Download here.

Course:  Introduction to Supervisor 101


Download here.

Course:  Essential Supervision Skills

Download here.

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.