The Leadership Journey

By Diane Hudson Burns, FJSTC, CPCC, CLTMC, CPRW

SES Project Manager, The Resume Place

SES Resume Writing
The Leadership Journey chart, used by OPM (*acronyms are translated below), is the focus of a chapter in the new book, “The New SES Application” (publication date September 2011 by Kathryn Troutman and Diane Hudson Burns).

The Leadership Journey serves as a road-map for leadership development and walks a professional through his career via leadership steps, with a goal of attaining SES. The chart covers all 28 leadership competencies required of OPM to be selected for SES. The model is used to help individuals and federal agencies build the development segment of employees’ succession plans.

The core Leadership competencies are basic competencies for all employees (Managing Yourself) – these are the cross functional competencies that are the foundation of leadership and personal management: Interpersonal Skills; Oral Communication; Continual Learning; Written Communication; Integrity/Honesty; Public Service Motivation. Research indicates that without these core competencies, success at upper levels is not possible.

The Leadership Journey illustrates the customary levels of management and leadership. Associated with each level are related competencies that are critical for success at that level, and form a developmental step for the next level of management or leadership. There are key experiences at each level that are designed to reinforce the associated competencies. These key experiences eventually serve as building blocks for the ECQs.

As the model’s steps move upward, Managing Yourself, moves to Managing Projects (equivalent to GS 5-11 positions). Employees in this stage of their careers build project management skill sets and five additional leadership competencies in Team Building; Customer Service; Technical Credibility; Accountability; Influencing/Negotiating.

At the next level, Managing People (GS 11-13 equivalent), employees gain an additional five leadership competencies attributed to the ECQs: Human Capital Management; Leveraging Diversity; Conflict Management; Developing Others; Problem Solving.

From this level, employees move into more senior leadership and management roles (Managing Programs / GS 14-15 equivalent) focusing on six additional leadership competencies: Technology Management; Financial Management; Creativity & Innovation; Partnering; Political Savvy; Flexibility. At this stage, most career professionals have some 12 to 20 years of experience.

Combining all of the previous 22 leadership competences with six more: External Awareness; Vision; Strategic Thinking; Entrepreneurship; Resilience; Decisiveness, professionals who have climbed the steps of the Leadership Journey are ready for SES and Leading Organizations.

To attain SES, candidates must submit an SES level resume and Executive Core Qualifications for review by the Qualifications Review Board, which determines if candidates meet the requirements for SES and demonstrate the 28 requirements leadership competencies to Lead Organizations.

As an employee moves through the steps of the Leadership Journey – combined with a succession plan that may include training, certifications, education, and specialized detail assignments to gain all 28 leadership competencies, the individual’s resume will evolve as it begins to express stronger leadership and management skills. The accomplishments (as opposed to duties) selected for an individual’s resume seeking more senior level positions, will demonstrate leadership and senior management roles, focusing on managing people, projects, and programs. As the employee gains more leadership skills, the resume will need to convey more focused and stronger accomplishments.

If you would like to learn more about the Leadership Journey and development of the SES five-page resume and traditional ECQ resume package, please join us in Baltimore on September 8 and 9, 2011 for the SES / ECQ development workshop. The book, The New SES Application is the base curriculum. You will experience hands-on, interactive training with four instructors during two days, with a goal of completing several ECQs and the five-page SES resume.

* OPM = Office of Personnel Management

SES = Senior Executive Service

ECQ = Executive Core Qualifications

Find out more about our SES Application Writing Workshop.
Order The New SES Application book today!

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