Supervisory Training: Being a Great Federal Supervisor & Beyond

The panel on supervisory training featured Winona H. Varnon, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management within the Department of Education, as well as David M. Wulf, Deputy Director of the Infrastructure Security Compliance Division within the Office of Infrastructure Protection at the Department of Homeland Security.

For developing leaders, one pressing concern is career advancement. As Wulf described, qualities he sees as important to aspiring supervisors is first, a perceivable interest in the job. Beyond that, solid communication skills and the ability to work well with others are also important. Varnon added, all of those criteria along with a strong sense of self are essential – and a good sense of humor doesn’t hurt either. She also emphasized the importance of contributing a new skill set to the organization’s leadership. A variety of skillsets within leadership contributes to the diversity of an organization.

Reflecting upon his career in public service and time as a supervisor, Wulf said that his time has been incredibly rewarding. For those hesitating about entering into supervisory positions, he mentioned that while it definitely presents many challenges, for him the good has outweighed the bad. Some of the highlights he spoke to were having the opportunity to develop a workforce, establishing buy-in from followers, and leading through organizational change. To this last point, he said that nothing is more rewarding than leaving an organization better than you found it.

In addition to the takeaways of the panel discussion, Varnon left the audience with her compiled reading list for both followers and leaders, as well as her brief comment on their value.

  • Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry – Why? “To Thine Own Self Be True”
  • The 360 Leader by John C. Maxwell – Why? “You Have Influence Now”
  • The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn – Why? “Question Your Motives to Lead”
  • Leadership Without Easy Answers by Richard Heifetz – Why? “Understand Authority”
  • The Transformative CEO by Jeffery Fox & Robert Reiss – Why? “Stay Current”

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply