top of page

Leading Democratic Society




Embark on life-empowering and career-strengthening leadership experience through our renowned Leadership for a Democratic Society (LDS) program. Serving as an enduring foundation of your personal and professional growth journey, the LDS program offers an unmatched learning experience to prepare you for the complex challenges of leadership.

The Leadership for a Democratic Society program focuses on three crucial areas for effective leadership: Vision, Alignment and Execution. Every leader must create a compelling vision appropriate at their level and work with people above, below and across to align with that vision as the championing results Both experience and research highlight that time and attention are often lacking in regard to building alignment and frequently a cause for failure. How often do strategic plans wither and die because there was a lack of alignment? Completing this program will improve your proficiency in these three key areas.

Using the U.S. Constitution as a principal foundation, the LDS program guides you to understand the diverse goals of the government and the citizens it serves. The LDS program is anchored in current leadership theory, OPM’s Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs), and leadership competencies. You’ll engage with faculty experienced and credentialed in leadership development, human capital management, education, political science, behavioral science, international affairs, public administration, adult education, and more.


Through a combination of larger class sessions and small teams, you’ll expand your professional networks and gain knowledge on leadership concepts, models, and tools from a variety of assessments, readings, case studies, written assignments, and individual presentations.

An integrated mix of readings, lectures, discussion, field experiences, assessments, and case studies will help you to:


  • Develop a stronger awareness of how your values and prior experiences influence your success as a leader.

  • Gain a better understanding of how the U.S. Constitution impacts your leadership in the federal government.

  • Personalize your learning through course selection within the program and further recognize that no two leaders are alike.

  • Network and learn from your colleagues across government to harness the diverse talents and resources found within public servants like you.

  • Learn ways to improve resiliency, mental and physical wellness, and work-life balance from peer-to-peer learning guided by expert faculty.

  • Become part of a learning community by leveraging the expertise and experience of faculty and your peers within your program.

  • Create an organizational change plan that turns knowledge into action with strategies that align with your agency’s vision.

  • Create an individual change plan to improve your leadership knowledge, skills, and behavior to help accomplish your mission.


Who Should Attend


  • Senior Executive Service members, GS-15 employees, and equivalents in other pay systems.

  • Selected senior non-federal employees, to include private sector, state, and local government who are of an equivalent grade/level, as determined by program administrators.

  • GS-14 employees and equivalents in other pay systems with executive-level duties who are approved for a grade waiver.



  • GS-14 employees and equivalents with executive-level duties must submit and receive a grade waiver.


  • Registration requests and payments must be submitted and complete 3 weeks prior to the start of the program.


Additional Information

To receive a certificate of mastery, you must complete short written assignments, give at least two presentations, and create both an individual and organizational change plan.

Please refer to the FEI Handbook or LDS program description for additional information.

  • Leadership Assessment Instruments:


    • Work of Leaders: Crafting a Vision, Building Alignment, and Championing Execution

    • Usild Leadership 360™

  • Program Formats
    The Leadership for a Democratic Society program is offered in three formats. All three achieve the same learning outcomes, provide executives with the same access to faculty and educational-support opportunities unique to the LDS program, and equally meet the certificate of mastery requirements.


    Tuition Note: Tuition is All-Inclusive. Lodging, meals, and all educational resources and materials (books, assessments, field experiences, and three hours of executive coaching) are included in the tuition. 

    • Applied
      The applied learning format (AL) challenges you to apply knowledge and skills gained through coursework to your workplace. During an intersession between two residential sessions, you’ll go back to your agency and apply program context to your work environment, promoting a deeper understanding and application of leadership. ALP consists of three sessions:

      1. Two weeks in-residence

      2. Intersession

      3. Two weeks in-residence

    • Virtual
      The virtual learning format (VL) consists of various learning modules over 4 weeks. You’ll be expected to devote 40 hours per week to the program. The program consists of a combination of virtual classroom and self-paced work. During an intersession between two virtual sessions, you’ll go back to your agency and apply program context to your work environment, promoting a deeper understanding and application of leadership. VLP consists of three sessions:

      1. Two weeks: Virtual classroom sessions and short learning modules.

      2. Intersession

      3. Two weeks: Virtual classroom sessions and short learning modules.

    • Residential
      The residential learning format (RL) is a four-week continuous, in-residence immersion program. The program consists of on-campus learning sessions, off-campus field experience activities, and small-team learning environments. You’ll engage in a variety of activities while attending sessions Monday through Friday for four weeks (including some evening sessions), along with a full weekend of sessions during the first weekend.

bottom of page