|Biomedical librarian Doug Joubert
If you have ever used the Johari window for self-assessment, you know that the “blind spot quadrant” helps you discover what you do not know about yourself. While the tool is useful, NIH’ers pursuing top jobs may find the USDA Graduate School’s Executive Leadership Program (ELP) a more enlightening way to gain self-knowledge.
Doug Joubert of the NIH Library and 179 other federal employees are currently enrolled in the 9-month program targeted to individuals at the GS 11-13 levels. ELP participants, most with little or no supervisory experience, are gaining skills through developmental work experiences, needs assessment and career planning. The NIH Library is sponsoring Joubert’s education, aimed at helping him move to a higher level.
Karen Stakes, head of information services at the library, is Joubert’s ELP mentor. “The mentoring process has afforded me the opportunity to improve upon my coaching, counseling and listening skills,” she said. “It has also been very rewarding to see how Doug has taken ownership of the mentoring process by willingly accepting challenges, taking risks and developing new competencies.”
Joubert said he “chose a mentor [Stakes] who had been in the federal service a long time. The benefit was to learn the social and professional aspects, which I wasn’t accustomed to because I came from academia.”
To date, Joubert has completed a leadership-effectiveness inventory as well as a shadowing assignment with the International Trade Association. “The ITA helped me meld my developmental needs in the use of financial management and strategic thinking,” he said. “The analogy I can give you is that my perspective at the library is at the 10,000-foot level; the person I was shadowing thinks at the 30,000-foot level.”
The last phase of his leadership training involves a 3-month detail at the Department of State. The experience will help Joubert fill in a key developmental area identified for his personal growth—human capital management, one of the executive core qualifications.
During his training, Joubert and members of his student team are exploring leadership development opportunities for people just entering federal service. “The primary unifying element of our diverse group of ELP participants is that we want to become better leaders,” he said. He expects that an outcome of the program will be better customer service to the public. “Any federal employee who is interested in assuming a leadership position in public service would benefit from formalized leadership training,” he suggested.
Joubert is set to graduate from the program in June. Along with his ELP training, he is also completing a master’s degree in biotechnology at the University of Maryland’s University College. “Basically, I have no life for 9 months,” he said with a smile. He is looking forward to implementing what he learns and enjoying a rich social life this summer.
To learn more about the Executive Leadership Program, including application details, visit www.grad.usda.gov/index.