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HRDG 4511 - Section F - Position Management

Subchapter 4511
Position Classification
Section F - Position Management

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Position management is the continuous and systematic process for determining the number of positions needed, the skill and knowledge requirements of those positions, and the organizational grouping of positions to carry out the work of an organizational unit.


Directors, managers, and supervisors should design organizations that efficiently utilize employees to meet mission goals; provide for career progression; and eliminate excessive layers of supervision.

There are two underlying principles of balancing economy and efficiency:

  1. Designing positions that accomplish the mission and motivate the employee.
  2. Designing and structuring organizations that are both effective and economical.

Effective managers employ measures to:

  • Design positions around skills and mission essential tasks rather than the personal qualifications of employees.
  • Establish the fewest number of needed positions that will effectively meet assigned missions.
  • Ensure that complex work assigned to higher graded positions is actually performed by employees the majority of their time.
  • Design positions to promote career progression whenever possible; explore all opportunities to re-engineer jobs downward for entry level and upward mobility purposes.
  • Use position management to meet Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) objectives.
  • Limit the number of deputy and assistant positions.
  • Ensure that supervisor to employee ratios are consistent with USDA objectives.
  • Review organization structures to identify and eliminate positions/organizational elements that perform similar functions.
  • Review all vacancies closely for necessity.
  • Ensure organizational listings match the structure of organizational charts.
  • Use part-time, intermittent, or temporary employees when necessary.
An economical and effective position structure is critical for responsible use of limited financial and personnel resources. It involves a balance between employees needed to carry out the major functions of the organization and those needed to provide adequate support.
Team Leader Positions

A team leader position can be very useful when part of a team-based organizational structure where managers have implemented significant changes in work processes and have reduced the number of supervisory positions. The range of duties a team leader may be assigned is very flexible. The duties may be just sufficient to meet the minimum coverage for establishing a leader position, to almost sufficient to warrant a supervisory classification.

For quick reference, the chart below lists examples of some of the more significant differences between team leaders and supervisors. These examples are not intended to be all inclusive:

Explain team goals and objectives to assigned team members and assist team in organizing to accomplish work Set team goals, select team leaders, assign team members and administratively and technically direct the work of subordinates
Coach, facilitate, solve work problems and participate in the work of the team Plan, assign, review and accept, amend or reject work done by teams and subordinates
Provide information to the supervisor on performance of the team and individuals Assign performance ratings, approve awards and take performance-based corrective actions
Communicate assignments, milestones and deadlines to the team and individuals based on supervisor’s instructions Make work assignments, set or negotiate deadlines and completion dates
Observe training needs and relay training needs and requests to supervisor Schedule and approve funding for team and individual training
Inform supervisor of attendance and behavioral problems Counsel employees on behavior and initiate disciplinary actions if required
Relay requests for resources and supplies Allocate resources to teams

Team leaders usually also participate in the work of the team by performing work that is of the same kind and level as the highest level of work accomplished by the team led.

More detailed position management guidance can be accessed in the Department’s Position Management and Vacancy Control Directive, DR 4020-250-002.

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