Leadership Corner

Redefining the roles of supervisors across the Forest Service

July 10th, 2019 at 12:41PM
Protrait photo of Leslie Weldon. U.S and Forest Service glags in the background
Leslie Weldon, senior executive for Work Environment and Performance Office

During last year’s “Listen and Learn” sessions across the agency, some of the loudest messages we received had to do with the needs of supervisors to be successful with the important role they play in guiding employees and delivering the diverse work of the USDA Forest Service. Over the past year, employees continued to emphasize the need to support supervisors in conversations in many parts of the agency.  

During the March National Leadership Council, Chief Christiansen recognized the central role supervisors can play in accelerating and sustaining change in the Forest Service. She also shared her intention to evolve the system of supervision in support of a more agile, professional and forward-looking workforce in accordance with our mission. 

Significant shifts in how we do business are necessary to create a work environment that is safe and free from harassment, evolving to be more inclusive and one in which everyone thrives. The investments we make to address quality of supervision at all levels—from senior executive to local work group leader—will directly affect the quality of our work experiences and the quality of the services we deliver to one another and to the public.

We are looking at a number of ways in which we can do this. As an example, this year supervisors are now required to conduct quarterly progress reviews with each of their employees. The third quarterly review should be taking place this month and documented in your performance appraisal form.

I will be leading a new team charged with exploring our current approach to supervision, and how support for the work of leadership, expectations, training and quality of the work environment all contribute to or detract from mission results. The Guiding Team will be engaging with personnel across the agency to better understand the experiences of both supervisors and employees and get their feedback on opportunities to help shape this transformational work. This team is composed of Kerwin Dewberry, Coronado National Forest; Jacqueline Emanuel, National Partnership Office; Alex Friend, Research and Development; Melany Glossa, Eastern Region; Mark Green, Human Resources Management; Patti Hirami, State and Private Forestry; Kimberley Peters, Training and Employee Development; Shoni Pilip-Florea, Work Environment and Performance Office; John Phipps, State and Private Forestry; and Nora Rasure, Intermountain Region.   

For more information, please contact Jacqueline Emanuel at jacqueline.emanuel@usda.gov or (202) 205-1072.