The most recent edition of Public Personnel Management,10 Tips for Creating a Public Sector Leadership Development Program Articles Winter 2004, focused solely on one of the hottest issues facing today’s public sector human resource professionals: workforce and succession planning. During the 2004 IPMA-HR International Training Conference, numerous sessions focused on the growing need to implement workforce and succession planning systems in order to address the mass exodus of workers that is anticipated in the next five to ten years. In both Public Personnel Management and at the conference, the issue of leadership development was cited as a primary tool for preparing the workforce for the future.
Numerous agencies are incorporating leadership development as an element of their workforce planning efforts. Notable leadership development programs that have been documented include those implemented in San Diego http://technologieit.com/ County, CA; Henrico County, VA; Hennepin County, MN; City of Las Vegas, NV; City of Phoenix, AZ; and City of San Jose, CA. In my observation, many of the best practice elements in public sector leadership development are consistent between agencies. The purpose of this article is to share ten practices that appear to be common threads among agencies that are developing leaders internally to fill anticipated vacancies in the future.
The following tips are provided as guidance to public sector organizations that may be interested in developing their own leadership development programs.
Tip One: Base the program on a competency model.
Before any training or development activities can take place, it is critical to identify the skills and competencies that will be developed as a result of the effort. As discussed in the Public Personnel Journal, Winter 2004, Henrico County developed 20 core leadership competencies including communication, critical thinking and decision making, organizational astuteness, and personal integrity. These competencies provided the framework for their development efforts. Other agencies, including the County of San Diego base their leadership academy on the same model as the multi-rater, 360-feedback tool that is used in the program.
Whether your organization has an established competency model that is used throughout your human resource programming or not, it is critical to spend some time defining the skills that leadership program participants are expected to develop. For example, the City of San Jose conducted a survey of top managers, followed by round-table discussions to determine the competencies to be developed in their leadership program called The Art and Practice of Leadership.