Eliminating Gaps in Agency Leadership Part I: Identify and Assess

Nothing is constant but change. While the qualities and skill-levels of your organization’s leaders may have been top-rate when they were appointed, constant innovation and evolving priorities can transform a well-equipped leadership team into one that struggles to meet basic requirements. On which end of the spectrum does your agency’s leadership reside? Let’s explore the process of identification and assessment.

First, in order to identify leadership gaps within your organization, you’ve got to determine which qualities are necessary to successfully meet (and potentially exceed) the requirements of your agency’s mission.

Second, determine to what extent these qualities exist among your current leaders.

Third, identify the difference between what you need and what you’ve got. While it may be hard to admit that shortcomings exist, this acknowledgment is a critical step in closing the leadership skills gaps within your agency.

Not sure where to begin? Here are a few questions to consider:

  • What qualities are needed to support your agency’s mission?
  • What qualities are needed to accomplish everyday tasks?
  • What qualities are essential for motivating this group of people?
  • What challenges is your team or organization having the most difficulty with?
  • Are the difficulties your team or organization is facing related to a leadership shortfall?

When considering which leadership qualities are necessary to successfully achieve your agency’s mission, a good place to start is the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) defined by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as the “competencies needed to build a Federal corporate culture that drives for results, serves customers, and builds successful teams and coalitions within and outside the organization.”

Conducting an assessment will help you measure to what extent the necessary qualities exist within your current leaders. Because each agency is unique, appropriate assessment tools should be aligned with job-related competencies, interests, and the nature and complexity of the work. For general information about assessments, refer to Assessment & Evaluation at OPM.gov. Or, to see a comprehensive comparison of assessment types, read An Introduction to Competency Assessments.

Once you have identified your specific needs for improvement, it’s time to devise a plan of action to address the skill gaps. If you need help in doing so, check out Unleveraged Talent: Exploring Gaps in Federal Workforce Management. In this whitepaper, the Government Business Council and Management Concepts share results from a study indicating how implementing and leveraging a talent management system while offering employees a wide range of career development opportunities is the best course of action for Federal agencies to increase workforce effectiveness.

If you would like to take the first step toward closing the leadership gap in your organization, Management Concepts is available to assist you. We offer an array of Federal workforce management consulting services that can help to administer assessments as well as design and implement an action plan including, but not limited to, our ECQ-aligned courses.

Be on the lookout for our next installment in this five-part series which will explore the role of introspection when seeking to eliminate gaps in agency leadership.

Written by:
Natalie Komitsky
Human Capital & Human Resources



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