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The path to becoming a top-notch leader is one that requires constant attention and fine-tuning, whether we are preparing to lead small groups, large teams, or simply preparing for the next steps in a leadership role. Useful tools and tips are available in a plethora of subjects important to employees interested in becoming a supervisor. By sharing our knowledge, ideas, and best practices agencies can collaborate to not only reach but exceed their training goals by developing top notch talent for the aspiring supervisor.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has trained Federal managers and executives to be effective Government leaders. We recognize the need for leadership at all levels, encompassing the many roles that influence, create and implement good governance. We seek to empower Federal leaders by providing career-long training that enlightens and fortifies them on their Leadership Journey.
To assist in the targeted training and development of current and future leaders, OPM has created the "Effective Learning Interventions for Developing Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs)" report. The report provides information on the most effective ways to develop each of the twenty-two (22) core leadership competencies and six (6) fundamental competencies within the ECQs. The report includes a Leadership Development Matrix, which serves as a quick reference guide and summary of the report.
If you have any questions regarding training policy or executive development, you can contact the Training and Executive Development Group by sending an email to HRDLeadership@opm.gov.
All leadership development should begin well before an individual transitions into a supervisory or managerial position. To ensure these individuals are well prepared to fill supervisory and managerial positions, agencies may provide training for those who are interested in becoming supervisors or managers. The head of each agency is responsible for establishing a succession management program which includes training to develop employees to become managers (5 U.S.C. 4121 and 5 CFR 412.201). Employee development programs are a fundamental tool for a robust leadership succession management plan. As a result of effective succession planning, an agency's employee development program can ensure an adequate number of educated/qualified individuals to fill supervisory and managerial positions for critical functions within the organization.
For more information and examples of agency pre-supervisory development programs please go to OPM's Training and Development Wiki.
Statute: 5 U.S.C. 4121
Regulation: 5 CFR 412.201
Leadership development should begin well before an individual transitions into a supervisory or managerial position. To ensure these individuals are well prepared to fill supervisory and managerial positions, agencies may provide training for those who are interested in becoming a supervisor or manager. Critical to the supervisory development process is the Individual Development Plan (IDP) crafted by the employee and their supervisor. Through the IDP, the employee should be able to clarify professional aspirations and the supervisor can provide insights on career tracks essential to the organization.
The head of each agency is responsible for establishing a succession management program which includes training to develop employees to become managers (5 U.S.C. 4121 and 5 CFR 412.201). Employee development programs are a fundamental tool for a robust leadership succession management plan. As a result of effective succession planning, an agency's employee development program can ensure an adequate number of educated/qualified individuals to fill supervisory and managerial positions for critical functions within the organization.
Agencies should consider the competencies listed in the OPM Supervisory Guide when developing their pre-supervisory developmental programs. In addition, pre-supervisory developmental programs should be based on the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs). Agencies may identify specific competencies from the ECQs and OPM Supervisory Guide and apply them to all leadership development programs starting with pre-supervisory training extending through executive development. Agencies should develop their pre-supervisory training programs to meet the needs of the organization and the aspirations of individual employees.
Many agencies have already established pre-supervisory training programs. A catalogue of Federal leadership development programs can be found on OPM's website under FedLDP. It is a searchable catalogue of leadership development programs throughout the Federal Government. Programs are listed in this catalogue by agency.
The Federal Workforce Flexibility Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-411) requires agencies to provide specific training to develop supervisors and managers as part of a comprehensive succession management strategy. To implement the requirements of this Act, OPM published final regulations on December 10, 2009.
The Act requires agencies to provide training to supervisors and managers on actions, options and strategies in:
The revised 5 CFR 412 on Supervisory, Managerial, and Executive Development requires new supervisors to receive:
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.
Those individuals new to the Federal Government who were previously supervisors in another organization must also receive training within their first year of appointment. Agencies may decide if these individuals should complete their entire new supervisory training program or only parts of the program that are Federal Government specific, such as recruitment and hiring. However, these individuals must still receive training in mentoring employees, performance management, and conducting performance appraisals.
Political appointees who are supervisors must also receive training within their first year of appointment. They must also receive refresher training.
The regulations mention specific topics including mentoring employees and performance management, but it is recommended to go beyond the requirements outlined in 5 CFR 412 when developing supervisory and managerial programs. Here are some additional topics agencies typically include in supervisory and managerial programs:
Please contact us by email at HRDLeadership@opm.gov. You may also check the OPM Training and Development Wiki for agency best practices and additional information.
Chief Human Capital Officers Memorandums for Supervisory Training
U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has trained Federal managers and executives to be effective Government leaders. We recognize the need for leadership at all levels, encompassing the many roles that influence, create and implement good governance. We seek to empower Federal leaders by providing career-long training that enlightens and fortifies them on their Leadership Journey.
Agencies should prepare, implement, and continually update Executive Development Plans (EDPs) for all senior executives. EDPs should outline a senior executive's short-term and long-term developmental activities which will enhance the executive's performance. These developmental activities included in an executive's EDP should allow the executive to develop a broader perspective in the agency as well as Government-wide. These activities should meet organizational needs for leadership, managerial improvement, and results. EDPs should be reviewed annually and revised as appropriate by an Executive Resources Board or similar body designated by the agency to oversee executive development.
Here is an EDP template your agency can use.
The Senior Executive Service is committed to developing leaders in the 21st century. One way to become an SES is to participate in a SES Candidate Development Program (SESCDP). These programs are designed to create pools of qualified candidates for SES positions. All SESCDPs address the five ECQs that embody the leadership skills needed to succeed in the SES. Many of the leader development activities on this website are also incorporated into SESCDPs.
Please visit the OPM Training and Development Wiki for more information and sample EDP templates
A Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SESCDP) is one succession management tool agencies may use to identify and prepare aspiring senior executive leaders. An SESCDP is designed to further develop SES candidates’ competencies in each of the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs). Graduates of SESCDPs who are certified by OPM’s Qualifications Review Board (QRB) may receive an initial career SES appointment without further competition. QRB-certified graduates typically start their SESCDP with experiences normally obtained at the GS-15 level, or equivalent. However, some agencies open their SESCDPs to individuals at the GS-14 level, or equivalent. Note that QRB certification does not guarantee placement in the SES, and SESCDP participation is not required for selection into the Senior Executive Service.
Agencies tailor their SESCDPs to meet their particular succession planning needs and organizational missions. An SESCDP must last a minimum of 12 months and include the following requirements (mandated by 5 CFR 412.302(c)):
SESCDPs provide SES candidates with Government-wide leadership challenges, interactions with senior employees outside their department and/or agency, interagency training experiences, executive level development assignments, and mentoring.
The combination of these experiences should enhance participants’ executive competencies and increase their understanding of Government-wide programs and issues beyond their individual agency and profession. SESCDPs address the five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) that embody the leadership skills needed to succeed in the SES. OPM's Guide to Senior Executive Service Qualifications describes these leadership skills (competencies) and the behaviors associated with the ECQs.
In addition, SESCDPs advance the goal of a "corporate SES," a diverse corps of career executives who share a Government-wide perspective. They are well positioned to lead change both within their agencies and throughout Government.
Agencies must obtain OPM approval of their SESCDP before they conduct their next SESCDP and whenever there are substantial changes to the program. Agencies must seek re-approval every five years thereafter.
All SESCDPs are announced via USAJOBS. To be notified of future programs, you can set a search on USAJOBS.gov. To create a saved search:
Please note that SESCDPs are required to be open a minimum of 14 days
Executive onboarding is acquiring, accommodating, assimilating and accelerating new leaders into the organizational culture and business. The best onboarding strategies will provide a fast track to meaningful, productive work and strong employee relationships and be tailored specifically to the needs of the individual. Executive onboarding should be strategic, so that it not only prevents executive derailment, but expedites the executive's contribution to optimize strategic achievement.
While the terms onboarding and orientation are sometimes used interchangeably they are notably different. Nevertheless, they are both critical processes in the successful assimilation of new hires. Here are some important distinctions between the two:
The sooner a new executive experiences the benefits of a comprehensive and well-implemented orientation and onboarding program, the sooner the executive will become a contributing member of that organization.
To assist agencies in creating or modifying their own executive onboarding programs OPM created an Executive Onboarding Framework. The framework designed to provide a consistent model in which to introduce new executives into the SES and to maximize executive effectiveness. It is a flexible framework allowing adjustments that adhere to specific agency rules, policies, procedures and needs.
Agencies can access the framework on OPM's Wiki page on Executive Onboarding.
To maximize effectiveness, broaden perspectives and potential, and prepare for challenges on the horizon, Federal agencies should invest in and emphasize career development. In 2011, the President’s Management Council (PMC) and the Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) Council launched the PMC Interagency Rotation Program to bolster cross-agency exposure for high-potential GS 13-15s. This cost-efficient program provides each participant an interagency rotation assignment to help develop or enhance specific leadership competencies identified by both the participant and his/her home supervisor. These competencies align with the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs), and are outlined in the participant’s Individual Development Plan (IDP).
The PMC Interagency Rotation Program enables emerging Federal leaders to expand their leadership competencies, broaden their organizational experiences, and foster networks they can leverage in the future. Specifically, the program aims to:
Current Federal employees should contact their Learning and Development office to learn more about participating in the program. Learning and Development offices with questions regarding program participation can contact the PMC Interagency Rotation Program by sending an email to PMCRotations@opm.gov (DC metro area employees) and PMCFieldRotations@opm.gov (Field employees).