The value of our leadership development programs: Perspectives from a two-time participant

September 4, 2019

Lawrence Chambers is the director of the risk management and compliance unit for the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C. Chambers is a graduate of the Partnership’s Leadership Excellence for Acquisition Professionals program, a leadership development opportunity for GS-12 to GS-14 acquisition federal employees. He is also a current participant in the Excellence in Government Fellows program for GS-14 to GS-15 employees. We recently spoke with him about why these programs have been a valuable experience.

Partnership: How did the Leadership Excellence for Acquisition Professionals program help you become a better leader?

Through the LEAP program, I learned that I emulate a servant leadership style, which means that I focus more on the well-being of the people on my team rather than being primarily task-oriented. I began to learn more about the characteristics of being a servant leader to enhance my leadership skills. Through my newfound knowledge, I was able to lead my team more effectively, and my management team noticed these efforts.

Partnership: Why did you apply for the Excellence in Government Fellows program after graduating from LEAP?

I had such a great experience in LEAP, and I wanted to do something more to give me a broader viewpoint of leadership outside of the acquisition profession. In EIG, I knew that the dialogue between federal employees in diverse job functions would broaden my leadership perspective.

Partnership: What leadership skills or knowledge have you developed through EIG?

I have significantly developed my ability to drive results. The EIG program enhanced my technical knowledge, ability to analyze problems and techniques to calculate risk—all of which contribute to helping me produce high-quality results. 

Partnership: What was the benefit of the coaching style in both programs?

The ability to have one-on-one professional coaching was invaluable. This allowed me to take an introspective look at myself and determine what areas I needed to improve in, as well as develop my short- and long-term career goals.

Partnership: We recently released a Public Service Leadership Model that identified four key competencies of government leaders. Why are those competencies important to you as a leader, and how has EIG helped you develop them?

Those competencies totally encapsulate everything we must do as government leaders. Each of these is a stepping stone to completing a task or running a program in order to accomplish the goal of government.

The cohort’s dialogue and benchmark speakers’ insights have been beneficial in teaching these competencies. The fellows’ willingness to share their experiences from their work environments is helpful in learning more about these competencies from different perspectives. The diversity of the benchmark speakers in their backgrounds and experience in the private and public sectors provided an eye-opening lesson into how these competencies can be best applied.