How leadership development participants achieve results in government
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How leadership development participants achieve results in government

August 2, 2021 | Updated on August 5, 2021

Our leadership development programs recognize that public servants are driven by making a positive impact and not the bottom line. As such, we train federal leaders to do the most good they can for their teams, in their offices, at their agencies and beyond. Our Excellence in Government Fellows and Mission Support Leadership programs go one step further: They require leaders to apply what they learn in the classroom to solve real-world challenges in government and achieve results.

In small groups, participants are tasked with tackling a complex issue facing our country and asked to develop, pitch—and in many cases implement—a solution. Guided by program coaches and staff, teams apply the leadership lessons they discuss in class to plan their projects. We call these projects ‘results projects.’

Throughout this experience, teams practice the subcompetencies included in our Public Service Leadership Model. Two notable ones—Tech Savviness and Evidence-based Decision-making—compose an important part of the model’s Achieving Results competency, which requires leaders to think strategically and make good decisions that improve the quality of life for the nation and the world.   

Using tech savviness to make health care safer

Composed of a lawyer, an IT security specialist, two auditors and a facilities manager, one Excellence in Government Fellows team leveraged existing information technology resources within the federal government to identify health care providers convicted of opioid abuse, sexual assault and patient maltreatment, and exclude them from participating in federal health care programs.

Working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General, the team found that other federal, state and local law enforcement partners were not routinely sending exclusionary referrals to OIG. As a result, while the office annually excluded 3,500 individuals and entities for misconduct, it could have excluded even more.

To narrow this gap, the team piloted an interagency, data-sharing project with the Drug Enforcement Administration that other agencies, such as the FBI and Department of Veterans Affairs, are now considering replicating.

In its pilot year alone, the project was expanded to all 23 DEA regions nationwide and identified more than 100 additional exclusionary referrals. These efforts will further protect the patients served by federal health care programs.

Using evidence-based decision-making to address mental health

Another team within the Mission Support Leadership Program aims to identify solutions to federal employees’ mental and psychological distress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. To do so, the team collected important data through research reports such as a recent NIH study as well as individual interviews with employees to better understand their mental health challenges and explore possible solutions.  

Their findings challenged the group’s original assumption that employees suffered from a lack of resources and support services. Instead, the group found that already existing support resources and services were not always fully communicated to employees.

To fill this gap, the team created a “Kick the Stigma!” toolbox that aims to provide educational tools and best practices to the human resources leaders, managers and supervisors responsible for helping their employees access critical mental health resources. The team believes the new tool will appeal to agencies looking to further support their employees during challenging times.

These team projects—only small sampling of the ones our participants develop each year—demonstrate that enrollees in our leadership development programs learn by doing. In turn, they achieve results to make a positive impact on government, the federal workforce and the broader public, and develop critical leadership capabilities that help them work effectively.

Learn more about the Excellence in Government Fellows program, for GS-14 and GS-15 employees, and the Mission Support Leadership Program, for GS-12 to GS-14 employees in acquisitions, human resources or information technology. Applications for both programs are currently open.

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