Mid-Level Leadership Stories


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Of the stories that have been published about effective leadership in government, the vast majority discuss leaders at the senior level (e.g. members of the Senior Executive Service, General Officers, or political appointees). There are numerous effective mid-level leaders within the Federal Government, but their stories are seldom told in a forum where they can be shared with others and used as a learning tool. Many of these stories offer real and compelling lessons for those who aspire to become more effective leaders.


The effectiveness of mid-level leaders has a very significant impact on the success or failure of Federal Government agencies. As such, it should be important for both senior leaders and more junior aspiring leaders to examine the views and lessons of mid-level leaders in the Federal Government.

The following collection of stories is a result of the work of the 2007 Fall Session Excellence in Government Fellows Program Group 2 Results Team. The collection captures stories of mid-level leadership from five different Federal Government agencies. For the purposes of the leadership stories in this collection, a mid-level leader is defined as GS-14/15 or Lt Col/Col equivalents.


The stories include:


While each of these stories offers unique perspectives and lessons, there are also some common themes. A clear vision of where the leader wants to take the organization is an important element in leading people. Communicating this vision and getting buy-in must also occur if the vision is to be attained. Dedication and persistence are also prevalent in these stories. Empowering your staff and letting them do their jobs without undue interference and micromanagement are also addressed. Finally, a leader must take care of their people to ensure they have the tools and resources they need to get the job done.

Our results team hopes that other stories can be added to this collection and shared with those interested in learning leadership lessons. Our vision is that this will become an enduring project that has lasting value for leaders at all levels, in both the public and private sectors!

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