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U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Ensuring the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce

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The Leadership and Knowledge Management System

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"Leaders must assume responsibility for the development of future leaders as coaches, mentors, teachers, and most of all, exemplars within and without leadership development programs." Organizations Growing Leaders: Best Practices and Principles in the Public Sector

The Leadership and Knowledge Management system focuses on identifying and addressing agency leadership competencies so that continuity of leadership is ensured, knowledge is shared across the organization, and an environment of continuous learning is present.


A system that ensures continuity of leadership by identifying and addressing potential gaps in effective leadership and implements and maintains programs that capture organizational knowledge and promote learning.

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Agency leaders and managers effectively manage people, ensure continuity of leadership, and sustain a learning environment that drives continuous improvement in performance, and provide a means to share critical knowledge across the organization. Knowledge management must be supported by an appropriate investment in training and technology.

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Critical Success Factors

Each system is based on critical success factors that make up the overall system. Critical success factors are the areas on which agencies and human capital practitioners should focus to achieve a system's standard for success and operate efficiently, effectively, and in compliance with merit system principles. The Leadership and Knowledge Management system is comprised of five critical success factors:

  • Leadership Succession Management
  • Change Management
  • Integrity and Inspiring Employee Commitment
  • Continuous Learning
  • Knowledge Management.

Each critical success factor has several key elements that indicate effectiveness and are linked to suggested indicators that identify how well the agency is doing relative to key elements. Together, these critical success factors ensure:

  • A constant flow of leaders who can properly direct an agency's efforts to achieve results
  • A workforce with the competencies required to achieve the agency's mission
  • That the workforce is motivated to use its competencies in service of the agency's mission.

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Applicable Merit System Principles

The following merit system principle is especially relevant to the Leadership and Knowledge Management system:

  • Employees should be provided effective education and training in cases in which such education and training would result in better organizational and individual performance. (5 U.S.C. 2301(b)(7))

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