Excel as a High-Performing Agency

National New Leader program develops next generation of Forest Service leaders

NEW MEXICO — Leaders come in all job series and grade levels. The challenge for the agency is identifying them early and helping them take their skills to the next level. The National New Leader Program, which just wrapped the week-long orientation session for its second class, does exactly that.

Successfully piloted in 2017, the NNLP supports Forest Service leadership’s commitment to succession planning, workforce development and a continuous learning environment. Targeted to GS-7 to GS-11 employees, the program brings together high-performing, highly motivated employees from across the country to participate in a six-month development program focused on Leading Self.

The 39 participants in the FY 2018 class represent diverse professional experiences in 22 different job series. Over the next six months they will have the opportunity to assess their individual leadership capabilities and strengths by learning about their own personality traits, leadership styles and conflict behaviors. By the September 21 graduation, students will have completed a rigorous curriculum that includes a Personal Development Action Plan, a team project, a shadowing assignment with a GS-13 or higher manager, and a 30-day developmental assignment beyond the scope of their normal work duties.

Sponsored by the Human Resources Management Training and Employee Development branch, the NNLP uses experiential learning and a deep-dive into the Forest Service leaders’ stance and habits to give students foundational leadership skills. Communication, team building, problem solving and decision making are some of the core competencies addressed by the program.

Now that the FY18 program is underway, employees interested in applying for the FY19 NNLP class can find an overview of the program and additional information on the NNLP SharePoint site. The call for FY19 nominations will be issued later this year.


On March 22nd, the second NNLP class took a break from orientation to enjoy the Albuquerque sunshine and take their first group photo. Forest Service photo.