Agencies throughout Government have delayered and adopted more team-oriented ways of organizing their work. A significant issue in making these changes concerned the role of team leaders, the duties they would perform, and how their jobs would be classified. In April 1998, the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) Classification Programs Division published the General Schedule Leader Grade Evaluation Guide, which was developed to support agencies moving to team or work group structures. Part I of the Guide reissued the guidance for classifying work leaders of employees in clerical and other one-grade interval occupations in the General Schedule (GS).
More significantly, however, Part II of the Guide "General Schedule Team Leader Positions" provided brand-new guidance for classifying positions whose primary purpose is to lead a team of other GS employees carrying out two-grade interval work. Most of the recent Government delayering and team formation has occurred in these latter situations.
The Guide provides information about certain minimum authorities and responsibilities that must be exercised to merit classification as a leader. From a performance management perspective, the Guide clearly recognizes the role leaders can play in the performance management processes of planning, monitoring, developing, rating, and rewarding employee and group performance.
Part II of the Guide presents specific team leader duties. Many of them describe performance management responsibilities, including:
In total, Part II presents 20 such team leader duties. Team leaders must perform a total of 14 of them, but their specific combinations would be a matter of management discretion, rather than any classification requirements. Moreover, the Guide describes those duties in terms of minimum authorities and responsibilities. The actual range of duties a team leader may be assigned is very flexible. For a given duty, an agency would be free to give a team leader greater authority to carry out responsibilities than are specifically described in the Guide's minimum statements. So long as the position as so defined does not reach the minimum requirements for supervisory positions set out in the separate General Schedule Supervisory Guide, the position would be properly classified as a team leader rather than a supervisor. The team leader's bargaining unit status could be affected, however, if the position includes "supervisor" duties as defined by labor relations law.
With respect to performance management duties in particular, team leaders at a minimum may make recommendations for appraisals and awards. This does not necessarily preclude them from being appraising officials or from having the authority to grant awards. Governmentwide appraisal regulations (i.e., part 430 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations) do not prescribe that the rating official must be the first-line supervisor. When delegating authority and responsibility to leaders, agencies need to carefully balance the responsibilities between the leader and the supervisor to ensure that the supervisory position is sustained and that the overall responsibilities of the leader position do not exceed the Guide's limits.