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March 2006Vol. 7, No. 2Developing Leaders

Many local, State, and Federal agencies are resorting to a "just-in-time" approach for replacing retiring leaders, and planning and training for new leaders may be lacking. According to a study released by CPS Human Resource Services, many organizations rely on last-minute hiring and training; instead, these organizations should be looking toward an integrated approach in which the long-term needs of many workers at many levels are addressed across the full life cycle of employment.

One element of the study involved interviews with expert sources and leaders in 35 jurisdictions that were addressing leadership development and succession planning. Three themes emerged from the interviews regarding what qualities and skills new leaders need to possess:

  • Knowledge and understanding outside their own department or functional area
  • Knowledge and understanding at the executive level
  • A broad network of relationships

Based on their research findings and experience, the study’s author offers eight recommendations for jurisdictions attempting to build their leadership pipelines:

  • Make workforce planning the foundation.
  • Engage senior leaders.
  • Identify competencies that leaders will need.
  • Assess developmental needs.
  • Create a leadership development strategy.
  • Institutionalize the process of creating and following through on Individual Development Plans.
  • Tap into the talent pool of retirement-eligible employees and retirees.
  • Do not let cost keep your organization from building the leadership pipeline.

The study also includes 15 case studies from local, State, and Federal Government, in which jurisdictions used an integrated approach to developing leaders.

Building the Leadership Pipeline in Local, State, and Federal Government, by M. B. Young, is available on the website of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources:

Related Item

The U.S. Government’s Office of Personnel Management offers guidance on succession management on its website: