What Are Leadership Competencies?

by Julie Davoren; Updated September 26, 2017
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Leadership competencies are a combination of traits, skills, behaviors and gathered knowledge that organizations attempt to quantify for the purpose of vetting potential leaders. Leadership competencies encourage subordinates to manage their goals and provide a tool for overall development. Different competencies apply at various levels of leadership and are dependent on the given organization. Further, organizations sometimes group certain competencies and categorize them based on importance and need.

Desired Leadership Competencies

Generally, leaders must possess visionary thinking that involves encouraging the organization. Such leaders must address issues pertaining to competition with relevant responses. Further, leaders must be success-driven and passionate about quality work. They should demonstrate a high level of optimism and be persistent to complete tasks. Additionally, leaders must abide by the set codes of conduct and ethics, should be fair and responsible for their actions and need to be willing to learn from their mistakes. Other major competencies include the areas of risk management, team leadership and staff development.

Evaluations

Leadership competency evaluation processes can help determine the strengths and weaknesses of individuals. For example, self-assessments require that you rate yourself honestly to determine your existing level of competence. Your manager may also complete an assessment of you, and you can then compare your results with your manager’s results. Many organizations use feedback assessment from reports, clients, supervisors and peers to improve on the validity of evaluation results; this helps give an impartial picture of the individual.

Models

Leadership competency models are practical strategies used to create a brainstorming tool for competency assessment. Each organization may have its own unique way of developing and using these models. A general model touches on the major aspects of leadership competencies. Although a leader is expected to demonstrate many competencies, the main competencies include self management, leading others, innovation, social responsibility and task management. These main competencies apply to all leadership roles regardless of management level or the organization.

Benefits

Leadership competencies can be powerful tools that lead to the growth and overall development of an organization when embraced into the main narratives of the organization. By using targeted leadership competencies as the baseline for leadership selection, these competencies can provide a framework for the recruitment, development and assessment of the organization’s leaders. For example, competencies such as service and quality orientation analysis, team leadership and staff development help boost the organization’s enthusiasm toward achieving set goals and materializing the organization’s primary desired outcomes.

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