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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:

  • 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 and Managerial Frameworks and Guidance:

    These products provide direction on the development of individuals in supervisory, managerial and executive positions, as well as individuals whom agencies identify as potential candidates for such leadership positions, based on the agencies' succession plans as specified by 5 CFR 412.201. These resources cover both mandatory training and recommended training on leadership competencies and human resources (HR) technical knowledge, important for supervisory and managerial success. The materials also help agencies accomplish the delivery of required training for new supervisors, 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, as mandated by 5 CFR 412.202.  Additionally, the frameworks and guidance include OPM-developed definitions, learning objectives, and evaluation materials to assist agencies in evaluating the effectiveness of their supervisory and managerial development programs.

    Please click here to view OPM's Memorandum to Human Resources Director's announcing the release of the Federal Supervisory Framework.
  • Federal Supervisory Training Program Survey Results

    This memorandum highlights information on the current state of agencies’ training programs for new and experienced supervisors and provides recommendations on how to improve supervisory training program curriculums. OPM analyzed the responses to this survey, along with information from a review of the supervisory development literature, to provide the following Governmentwide recommendations on how to improve supervisory training program curriculum(s): 

    • Every supervisory training program should begin with specific business requirements. 
    • Agencies should build leadership capability at all levels to support effective succession management. 
    • Agencies should take a broader approach to supervisory training and continue using OPM’s Federal Supervisory and Managerial Frameworks and Guidance.
    • New and experienced supervisors should have Individual Development Plans (IDPs) to improve organizational and individual accountability of training requirements. 
    • Agencies should develop an evaluation strategy that aligns with the organizational strategy to obtain more robust and meaningful contributions to agency outcomes.

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


  • Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking in the Workplace course- This training is designed to provide guidance and tips on the sensitive and difficult topics related to managing a domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking (DVSAS) matter in the workplace. Among other things, this course will provide information on the definitions and types of DVSAS, how DVSAS is a workplace issue, possible signs and symptoms of DVSAS, confidentiality in the workplace, and identifying the internal and external resources available to assist employees and managers. Duration: 90 minutes. Download the SCORM 1.2 course package here. Please contact Alexis at

  • OPM's "Executive Excellence and Wellness through Strategic Leadership"- this course is a tool you can use to gain valuable knowledge, strategies and resources on how to use strategic leadership skills in your work and personal life to achieve executive excellence and wellness. The strategies in this training — even if obvious or intuitive — are designed to provide a helpful reminder of the value of strategic approaches to both work and personal life. Duration: 30 minutes.  Download the SCORM 1.2 course package here.  Course Contact:

  • OPM’s “Maximizing Employee Engagement”- this web-based training course is designed to provide supervisors, managers and executives with education about employee engagement and its relationship to organizational success, financial performance, and employee outcomes such as retention and attraction. This course is highly participatory, integrating job aids, activities, case studies and assessments to enhance interactivity. Course Duration: 30 minutes. Download the SCORM 1.2 course package here.

  • OPM’s “Leading Change”- This online course was developed by OPM and is a tool that executives can use to practice their leadership skills by leading an organization through a significant transition. During this simulation, executives will be provided with information that they will use to make decisions regarding a change management initiative. The executive will need to manage all the aspects of their daily office environment: emails, voicemails, phone calls, and meetings. The decisions that are made throughout the course will impact their team, their relationship with their supervisor, and the outcome of the initiative.  Download the SCORM 1.2 course package here.   Course Contact:
  • OPM’s “Emotionally Intelligent Leadership”- This online course was developed by OPM and is a tool that leaders can use to learn about and apply the principles of Emotional Intelligence. The course has two components: an instructional component that provides an overview of Emotional Intelligence, and a scenario component that allows you to practice your new skills within various realistic contexts. The strategies in this training are designed to provide leadership with strong emotional intelligence skills that can be used to help build stronger relationships among leaders, peers, and staff. Download the SCORM 1.2 course package hereCourse Contact:

  • OPM's "A Roadmap to Success: Hiring, Retaining, and Including People with Disabilities" - this course provides Federal employees with some basic resources and strategies to successfully hire, retain, and advance employees with disabilities. This course will benefit all Federal employees. The training should be considered a requirement for HR personnel and hiring managers.
    • To download the SCORM 1.2 course package, please visit the "Mandatory Training for Specific Groups of Employees" section on the  Federal Mandated Training Wiki page. Please contact OPM's Office of Diversity and Inclusion, at for instructions on how to upload the course files. 

  • *New Course* OPM's "Introduction to Leave, Work-Life, and Workplace Flexibilities"course- This course is designed for managers and employees seeking to understand the vast resources and flexible workplace options available in the Federal government as well as how to access and apply those resources effectively. Duration: 90 minutes. Download the SCORM 1.2 course package here. Please contact Porschetta at for instructions on how to upload the SCORM package to your agency's LMS.

  • *New Course* OPM’s Basic Employee Relations:  Your Accountability as a Supervisor or Manager- This course is designed to build the supervisor, manager, or ER practitioner’s skills in handling performance and discipline problems. Students will explore the importance of communicating and documenting, and the procedures from counseling for improvement to implementing formal consequences, including how to take appropriate action to effectively address performance, leave and other disciplinary concerns. This course also covers a supervisor’s or manager’s accountability in basic performance management, labor relations, as well as accountability in the Senior Executive Service. Download the SCORM 1.2 course package here.

     POC: Employee Accountability,, 202-606-2930

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)

  • 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

Download here.

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

Download here. 

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

Download here.

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

Download here.

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

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.

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