A new standard for government leaders
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A new standard for government leaders

June 17, 2019 | Updated on January 8, 2024

Leading in the federal government is unique and, in an increasingly complex and divided world, demands the highest levels of stewardship and commitment to public service.

To help federal leaders perform effectively and anchor them to government core values, we developed the Public Service Leadership Model. It’s designed to meet the needs of federal employees in any agency, location or role.

Think of the model as a map—it helps federal employees identify their direction and destination but leaves the navigation up to them. For example, the model includes guidance on how to empower others, but federal leaders will come up with their own distinct ways to motivate their teams to achieve the agency’s mission.

The model also can set the standard for teams and organizations, help agencies identify and recruit the right people, and establish criteria for what a good leader is.

If we at the Partnership have seen one theme reinforced repeatedly in our nearly 17 years of working with government, it’s this: When leadership is strong, so is government. This message was reinforced as we built the model with our newly formed Government Leadership Advisory Council.

 Through our programs, we have trained more than 15,000 federal leaders.  We’ve learned under what conditions employees perform their best and how leaders can adopt a management approach to improve individual, team and organizational performance.

For examples of effective government leaders, we don’t have to look much further than the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, a Partnership program that recognizes federal employees.

Take Ryan Shelby of USAID, who leads a team that provides vital training and resources for people in Haiti, rebuilding thousands of homes and roofs ripped apart by a Category 4 hurricane, making them safer and stronger so they can withstand future disasters. Or Victoria Brahm of the Department of Veterans Affairs, who restored the quality and safety of a broken health care center for veterans that had become notorious for unsafe medical practices, excessive opioid use and a toxic work environment.

These two mission-driven stewards exemplify the tenets we identified in the model and represent the more than two million federal employees who serve every day for the long-term benefit of the American people.

There are more tools and resources coming in the months ahead, but for now, we challenge public servants everywhere to explore the model and reflect on their leadership ability and potential.

With its release, we’re eager to galvanize the federal workforce and support all federal employees in reaching their leadership potential.

Andrew Marshall oversees the strategy, design and delivery of the Partnership’s leadership development programming.