If you attend leadership development programs, you know it's good for your career.

But how often and what programs should you be attending?

To answer those questions, the University of Kansas and two of its professors ran a study to address the effectiveness and "skill decay" of leadership training at the local government level.

The data, published by Public Personnel Management earlier this year in "Considering the Effects of Time on Leadership Development: A Local Government Training Evaluation," states:

City department supervisors would benefit from training roughly every eight to nine months on conceptual leadership skills, like strategic planning and conflict resolution and supervisors need less frequent training on interpersonal skills, such as team collaboration, accepting and providing feedback, and understanding citizens' needs.

Why is conceptual leadership training like strategic planning more important than interpersonal skill training? 

While surveyed leaders of various departments from police, fire, public works, parks and recreation and others reported instituting strategies of conceptual leadership that they learned, such as providing clear goals and defining expectations from their departments, the study found that roughly eight months after the training, the effects in this area seemed to wane.

One of the professors of the study, Heather Getha-Taylor stated, "You probably need more frequent reminders because you may not actually be putting that into practice on a daily basis."

And why is leadership training so important to the profession? 

"You can't have good service provision if public employees are not well-trained. If they're not up to date on their knowledge, if they don't have the appropriate skill sets, then we're not going to get the performance we want," Getha-Taylor said.

You can find excellent leadership development programs through ICMA and closer to home through your state or national associations. Some programs allow you to participate conveniently from your home or office.


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