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Assistant Deputy Minister Profile

Government of Alberta
Executive Manager II
August 2003

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Role of the Assistant Deputy Minister

Government Ministers are responsible for the affairs of one department or ministry, and collectively are responsible for the conduct of the government as a whole.

The Deputy Minister provides advice and support to the Minister and acts as the major interface between the political and administrative function of government. The Deputy Minister supports the Deputy Minister of Executive Council in ensuring that all over-arching policies of government are communicated and coordinated, and that matters and sensitive issues requiring strategic direction on the part of government are monitored to ensure their expeditious resolution. The Deputy Minister also leads the organization as the administrative head in achieving the ministry business plan goals and furthering the strategic corporate agenda for the government and its public service.

The Assistant Deputy Minister is a key contributor who provides advice and support to the Deputy Minister, recommends and implements government policies, plans strategies, provides leadership within the organization by committing to action the business goals of government and the ministry, and contributes to furthering the strategic corporate agenda for the government.

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Role Summary

The Assistant Deputy Minister provides leadership and direction to a division of a department or ministry, applying strategic thinking and results orientation to ensure that the business plan goals and objectives are achieved and that the division is successful in meeting the measures and targets of its business objectives. The Assistant Deputy Minister provides leadership in resource management and in mentoring, coaching and developing a management team to deliver services, often through partnerships with other governments and the private sector. Relationship building is key in working with diverse internal and external stakeholder groups, as the Assistant Deputy Minister develops service standards according to the needs of clients and within the realm of government policies and available resources. As a member of the organization's executive team, the Assistant Deputy Minister shares responsibility for policy development, planning and implementation of cross-ministry initiatives, and contributes to achieving the corporate goals of government. Representing the department and the province on various committees, task forces and teams, the Assistant Deputy Minister provides input on program initiatives as required.

The above role summary highlights leadership, strategic thinking, results orientation, resource management and relationship building which are key competencies for Assistant Deputy Ministers. Further information on these key competencies is in the last section of this profile.

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Major Responsibilities

  • Leading and managing a division to be effective and responsive in implementing strategies that address client needs and align with government policy.

  • Leading, coaching and mentoring a management team to achieve business plan goals and link services and program activities within the department and across departments to develop processes and to optimize capacity.

  • Providing leadership, and supporting the Deputy Minister on cross ministry initiatives when the initiatives are the profiled goals and strategies of the ministry.

  • Providing strategic options, comprehensive policy advice, briefing papers, recommendations and perspectives to the Deputy Minister on functions, activities and issues.

  • Representing the department and the province on various committees, task forces and teams to provide input and perspectives on program initiatives as required.

  • Operationalizing the department's vision and mission in relation to the goals of the division, linking the work of the division to the work of other divisions across the department and ensuring consistency with the government's goals.

  Strategic Thinking
  • Managing the division's fiscal and human resources to ensure the effective use of resources in meeting business plan objectives.

  Resource Management
  • Developing and maintaining partnerships with appropriate public and private sector organizations in the delivery of the division's programs and services.

  • Developing and maintaining effective, open and consultative relationships with clients and stakeholders.

  Relationship Building
  • Participating as a team member or leader with other government departments to ensure cross ministry initiatives and the corporate goals of government are achieved.

  • Participating as an executive team member providing executive leadership within the organization and furthering the strategic corporate agenda for government.

  Results Orientation

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The Assistant Deputy Minister is directly involved with the administration of legislation relating to the business of the ministry and other legislation related to leadership responsibilities and delegated authorities. The Assistant Deputy Minister is also accountable for managing resources within budget, and for meeting program deliverables within budget and on time.

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Reporting to the Deputy Minister, the Assistant Deputy Minister provides leadership and guidance to functional areas within a division, through a management team.

Each Assistant Deputy Minister has a performance contract and is evaluated annually by the Deputy Minister.

The Assistant Deputy Minister is responsible for the effective management of significant fiscal and human resources.

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Significant Contacts

Internal contacts include the Minister, Members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta (dependent upon the nature of the issue), senior officials of government, the Deputy Minister and members of the ministry's executive team, staff within the ministry, senior officials and staff in other ministries. Contact with elected officials is primarily on operational issues.

External contacts include various municipal, provincial and federal governments, stakeholder groups and associations, non-government organizations and the general public.

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The Person

1. Knowledge/Experience Requirements
  • Extensive related senior management experience with proven success as a leader, formulating policies, directing diverse programs to achieve results.

  • Indepth knowledge and understanding of business planning and accountability processes, and performance excellence systems.

  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and collaborate strategically with a wide variety of stakeholders and balance the needs and interests of these diverse groups.

  • Exceptional verbal, written, listening and interpersonal communication skills.

  • Demonstrated ability to take a strategic approach on opportunities for innovation and find creative solutions to issues.

  • Proven ability as a team leader with a commitment to create, support and sustain an environment that enables staff to achieve results and to develop and build organizational capacity for the future.

  • Experience in effectively managing significant fiscal and human resources.

  • Strong project management and organizational abilities, including the ability to manage a number of complex issues while still delivering results.

  • Proactive problem solving and decision making abilities.

  • Encourages new approaches and questions existing ones to ensure the most efficient and effective outcomes are achieved.

2. Academic Background
  • Post-secondary education in a related area is preferred.

3. Key Competencies
The following five key competencies are drawn from the Alberta public service (APS) competency model to reflect the Government's focus on planning, strategizing and leadership to accomplish goals.

Assistant Deputy Minister level of excellence (or target level - what the behaviour looks like when we think of superior performance) for each of these five competencies, is reflected as the second highest level in each competency as outlined in the APS competency model. The full APS competency model is available online.

Strategic Thinking

Taking a broad scale, long-term view, assessing options and implications

  • Develops strategies to respond to broad-scale, long term view of challenges and opportunities.

  • Creates a strategy for own area that supports the government's and ministry's vision.

  • Considers the big picture when considering possible opportunities or thinking about long-term applications of current activities.

  • Uses knowledge of the projected direction of the government in order to anticipate the impact of changes on the department.

Relationship Building

Developing and maintaining win/win relationships and partnerships

  • Develops formal and informal relationships with a wide circle of people, beyond those involved in current activities, including potential clients, stakeholders, and information links.

  • Promotes fairness by ensuring the department's business is conducted with impartiality.

  • Develops relationships with the intent of achieving effective delivery of relevant services.

  • Nurtures existing and potential relationships to help achieve the department's strategic plans.

  • Manages difficult and complex interpersonal relationships effectively.

Resource Management

Effectively managing internal and external resources to achieve organizational goals

  • Uses partnerships and other indirect resourcing approaches.

  • Identifies appropriate fiscal and human resources based on organizational strengths and weaknesses, and positions them to meet specific issues.

  • Ensures appropriate accountability and performance standards are met.

  • Delegates authority and responsibilities appropriately.

  • Identifies resource sources (which might include partnerships or indirect resourcing approaches) which will facilitate the achievement of organizational goals.

  • Questions conventional means of service delivery, which results in greater ability to more effectively, efficiently meet organizational goals.

  • Effectively oversees a range of significant programs and time-sensitive issues using appropriate resources.


Positively influencing people and events in a leadership role

  • Communicates a compelling vision.

  • Works with the team to develop strategies to meet future challenges.

  • Communicates a vision for the team that generates excitement, enthusiasm and commitment to the team mission.

  • Articulates a vision that raises commitment to action that is aligned with the government's strategic direction.

  • Models ethical behaviour consistent with the values of the Alberta public service.

  • Engages others in strategic thinking and challenges them to take action in spite of barriers.

  • Alerts and commits groups to the need for specific change and its implementation.

  • Provides leadership to an organization where team members have the technical expertise.

Results Orientation

Knowing what results are important, focusing resources to achieve them in alignment with the goals of the organization

  • Develops a view and establishes a course of action to accomplish a long-term goal related to the enhancement of organizational effectiveness.

  • Uses knowledge of all the factors affecting improvement of results within the organization to improve performance.

  • Initiates actions to optimize resources for the achievement of improved results.

  • Sets goals and priorities in order to deliver results consistent with government direction, departmental objectives and public expectations.

  • Uses information from program/policy evaluation measures to improve performance.

  • Sets priorities and takes calculated risks in order to improve the delivery of services and operations.

  • Recommends new policy/program directions focused on the enhancement of program outcomes.

The following ten competencies from the Alberta public service (APS) competency model have been well developed at the senior management level including both core and role specific.

Personal willingness and ability to effectively work in, and adapt to change.

Client Focus
Understanding and meeting or exceeding client needs.

Clearly conveying and receiving messages to meet the needs of all.

Organizational Awareness
Understands the structure and culture of the organization.

Problem Solving and Judgment
Ability to assess options and implications, in order to identify a solution.

Working cooperatively and productively with others to achieve results.

Developing Others
A desire to work to develop the long-term capability of others.

Using original and creative thinking to make improvements and/or develop and initiate new approaches.

Impact and Influence
Persuading, convincing or influencing.

Reflecting on past experiences in order to manage and continually improve our own performance.

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Last Review / Update: 2015-11-09

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