Leadership in the Public Sector


Course Overview

Welcome to our e-learning course on "Leadership in the Public Sector". This is a self-paced course for you to manage and distribute your workload as per your convenience. 

The overall aim of the course is to strengthen the competences required by public sector leaders and public servants for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, to recognize the most important skills required for effective leadership, and to gain a comprehensive overview of the current and future challenges facing public leaders.


Leaders, rather than providing a solution, create opportunities for people to come together and generate their own answers. Leaders should not only bring people together and encourage creative participation, but should help people to find opportunities when faced with uncertainty, chaos, and emergence. Working together to solve problems, even when values are shared, can be a difficult process. Leaders must understand that the tension, conflict and uncertainty that come from differences provide great potential for the creative emergence of viable solutions.

The performance of any country, in seeking to achieve the SDGs, to a large extent depends on its public-sector leadership. Effective leadership translates into prudent public policy formulation and implementation, as well as good public service delivery, to meet the needs and aspirations of citizens. A single leader can create an endless chain of social change. Achieving the SDGs will require the concerted efforts of governments, the business sector, society, and individual citizens. Innovative leadership and management will be essential for organizations in all sectors to integrate these sustainable development goals into strategic plans and operational activities in service of realizing the 2030 aspirations.

The logical conclusion from the above observation is that there is a need for effective leadership education and training to enhance the capacity in this respect and enable countries to translate their commitments into strategies and actions as well as concrete positive results.


Learning Objectives

At the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe different approaches to leadership

  • Recognise the role of public sector leaders

  • Recognise the challenges facing public sector leaders

  • Describe the potential benefits and costs of collaboration in the context of achieving development results

  • Identify possible strategies, techniques and tools to lead effectively and support the achievement of the SDGs

  • Describe future challenges for public sector leaders and identify strategies in response


Course modules

Module 1: Introduction to Leadership

Module 2: Leadership in the Public Sector

Module 3: Today’s Challenges for Public Leaders

Module 4: Collaborative Leadership

Module 5: Leadership and the Agenda 2030

Module 6: Forecasting Future Global Trends and their Impact on Leadership



The course is based on UNITAR’s sound adult learning pedagogical principles. Each module includes readings, self-assessment activities and quizzes. The learning activities are distributed in such a way to ensure the achievement of the learning objectives in a flexible manner.


Participant profile

The course is designed for public sector leaders, civil servants and managers from both developed and developing countries.



A certificate of completion will be issued to participants who achieve a minimum total score of 70%. A certificate of participation will be issued to participants who complete all mandatory activities but achieve a final score lesser than 70%.