Executive Development Programs for Government Managers
The GovLeaders.org web site is primarily
designed as a self-study aide for government managers who wish to improve
their leadership and management skills. We thought it would be useful,
however, to mention some formal training programs that are available to
government managers with the sponsorship of their agencies. These
programs are all highly regarded. We recommend becoming familiar with
these training opportunities so you will know to seek out them out if/when they
become appropriate for (or available to) you.
The Public Sector Consortium has created an innovative
for public leaders. The formal
programs are only one
part of a system of learning which includes a community of practice,
on-site consulting, and coaching. Courses are delivered on-site
and can be designed and tailored to meet the needs of your organization.
Some of the offerings include:
Systems Thinking, Achieving results with Organizations that Learn,
Leadership Through Productive Conversation,
Managing Your Time as a Leader,
Strategies for Facilitative Leaders, and
Succeed in Any Conditions Using After Action Reviews. Contact
for information on how to schedule one of these
programs on-site. Also check out the Public Sector Consortium's
systems thinking analysis of public leadership,
The Leadership Dilemma in a Democratic
The Power Lab is a week-long executive development program that features a total
immersion experience involving a three-class community with distinct differences
in wealth and power. Participants are "born" into one of the three classes. In
this setting all the critical issues of power and leadership emerge clearly, and
participants are confronted with these head on. Participants get to take a good
look at their usual ways of handling these issues, explore new approaches, and
test their limits. The program combines this intense total immersion experience
with expert in-the-action coaching, personal and system reflection, and system
frameworks. For a taste of the learning from The Power Lab, see the
" by Power lab founder Barry Oshry.
AMA offers a wide variety of courses in
leadership and management with a curriculum specifically tailored to the
needs of government managers. Leadership courses are 2-5 days in
duration and are offered at their training center in Washington, DC.
They can also provide on-site training at agency locations.
The highly rated Key Executive MPA program offered by American University and OPM is
designed for high potential government employees at approximately the
GS-13 level. The 22-month program consists of three 2-week
residential sessions at OPM's Eastern Management Development Center in
Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and 16 weekends of intensive course-work at
American University in Washington, DC.
The Partnership for Public Service's Center for Government Leadership includes
the one-day and two-day Annenberg Leadership Seminars and the highly successful
Excellence in Government Fellows Program.
The year-long Excellence in Government Fellows Program includes 19 days
of program content, executive coaching, benchmarking, and networking with
executives from other agencies. It is structured in a way that promotes
immediate on-the-job application of the course material in order to
facilitate leadership learning and achieve real results at the same
time. The program primarily targets high-potential
GS-14s and GS-15s, but exceptional GS-13s may also apply.
Brookings offers a number of one week training programs on public policy
and leadership for mid-level government managers and senior executives.
They also have a Masters of Science in Leadership specifically tailored for
members of the Senior Executive Service.
CCL is considered by many to be one of the the top-rated organizations in the
world dedicated exclusively to leadership research and executive development.
Their programs are built on a developmental model of assessment, challenge and
support, using both 360-degree feedback and individual assessment. Many of their
courses offer post-program development in the form of a three-month goal setting
process and follow-up; an assessment of behavioral change; and/or one-to-one
interaction with a certified CCL coach.
OPM has Management Development Centers (MDCs) in Shepherdstown, West Virginia,
and Denver, Colorado. They offer a wide range of 1-2 week leadership
development courses for managers at various levels. Leaders at the GS-15 level
and above (including Senior Executive Service and equivalents)
may take courses at OPM's Federal Executive Institute (FEI) in
Charlottesville, Virginia. Most FEI courses are less than a week
Management Concepts offers a comprehensive program management
course in partnership with the Federal Managers Association
This targeted certificate program consists of nine classes (totaling 29
training days) at the Management Concepts Training Centers in Vienna,
Virginia, and Washington, DC. Participants have three years to
complete the program, and may earn credit towards a graduate degree.
GWU's Senior Executive Development program is designed to prepared candidates
for the Senior Executive Service. This 80-hour open enrollment program is
designed for senior managers in the Federal government (GS-13 through SES
level), military officers, and state and local officials.
The Graduate School USA's Leadership Development Program has a number
of long-term leadership development training programs for managers (and aspiring
managers) at all levels. The very rich course curriculum generally includes team
activities, developmental work assignments, and executive shadowing/interviews.
There are 3- to 9-month programs for aspiring leaders and new managers, as well
as 12-month programs for mid-level managers and executives. These courses
require participants to be away from their regular jobs about half the time over
the length of the program. Nomination by your supervisor or agency is required
for admission to the long-term programs. The Leadership Development Program also
has several 1-2 week courses for members of the Senior Executive Service and
those who aspire to be.
Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government offers a number of leadership
courses for government managers and executives that range in length from two
days to four weeks. Courses are usually given at Harvard, but they also
have a number of online courses and custom two-day courses that can be taught at government agency
Part of the University of Maryland University College, NLI offers three and
five-day leadership courses based on the curriculum and research of the Center
for Creative Leadership. Services include leadership assessment tools and
The National League of Cities provides
seminars for elected local leaders to help them develop practical
leadership skills needed to lead change and innovation in their
communities. Their main program is
the organization's annual Leadership Summit. They also offer a variety of regional
training programs that address specific leadership competencies.
Participation in these programs can lead to a Certificate of Achievement
The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) established the National Public Health Leadership
Institute in 1991 to enhance leadership in public health at the federal,
state, and local level. The 24-month program is run by the Center
for Creative Leadership in conjunction with the University of North
Carolina-Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School and the UNC School
of Public Health. Most of the course-work is done via distance
learning, but the program does includes an intensive week-long Leadership
Development Program in Chapel Hill.
The National War College
has a 1-year program to prepare future leaders for high-level policy,
command, and staff responsibilities. The curriculum emphasizes the
joint and inter-agency perspective. Three-quarters of the students are
drawn from the military services, and the remaining 25 percent from the
Department of State and other foreign affairs agencies. If you
work for a participating agency, check with your training or career
development officer to find out how to apply.
The Performance Institute offers conferences, training, and
certification programs for government managers. Their curriculum
includes a wide variety of courses related to improving the performance of government, including a
leadership and change management.
The courses are held in
a variety of locations in the United States and Canada.
The Graduate School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado at Denver,
offers a one-week residence program for elected officials and
upper-level managers from the federal, state and local levels of
government. The course focuses on enhancing the participants'
leadership skills and encourages the use of innovative approaches to
governance. Offered twice a year.