Grace Smith
February 1, 2024

According to a study by Gallup, 10% of the population are natural leaders, and another 20% have leadership traits.

It is no secret that employees look up to their leaders for motivation and guidance. Leaders significantly impact workplace dynamics.

A leader has the power to shape the mindset of employees, thereby determining the kind of workplace they create. So, how do you cultivate reliable leaders in your company?

To begin, you must have a clear understanding of leadership competencies to know which skills to focus on and which ones to steer clear of. That’s exactly what we are going to discuss in this blog. 

The Leadership Competency Framework

We all know there is a certain set of skills that separates an average employee from a leader. These skills or competencies vary from one organization to another because what one company considers as a leadership quality might not be what another value as a skill a leader must have.

This is why competencies are highly personalized in nature.

So, what is a leadership competency framework?

Well, it is a tool that allows companies to identify individuals who have the competencies or skill sets to make a good leader for their company. It is a structure that explains the necessary skills a leader must have to make the leadership effective.

42% of companies are short of a leadership competency framework to base their development programs. If you do not want to fall into this category, start focusing on developing a leadership competency framework as soon as possible. Although the competencies a company looks for vary according to their goals, values, and vision, there are some common traits or skills that all companies consider a necessity for their leaders:

  • Communication skills
  • Decisiveness
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Team leadership
  • Credibility
  • Emotional intelligence
The 4 necessary leadership skills
The Skills necessary for every leader

The biggest advantage of setting up a framework is that it helps the companies define their leadership goals clearly and assess the capability of leaders at various levels. It paints a clear picture for the company and its leaders as to what is expected from an efficient leader. 

Also read: Top 10 Qualities of a Good Manager

Core Competencies of Leadership

The debate on whether leaders are born or made still goes on. However, it is still not clear as to whether one is born with certain traits that make them an effective leader or not. There is a specific set of competencies that makes a leader efficient, no matter what.

Certain competencies remain highly personalized and detailed to industries and companies. But even then, there are certain core competencies that companies expect from a great leader. Let us briefly look at what they are:

The 4 core competencies of leadership
The 4 Core Leadership Competencies

1. Decision-Making Skills

A leader has to make tons of decisions on a daily basis, some small and some big. Nonetheless, making effective decisions at the drop of a hat is a core competency every leader must possess. The ability to analyze data relevant to a particular situation and make the right decision is a highly coveted skill when it comes to leadership.

2. Change Leadership

Organizations undergo change every now and then, and this is not without resistance from employees. Change management is a skill, and those with the ability to handle employees during a time of serious organizational change, can consider themselves a great leader. 

3. Conflict Management

As a company consists of employees from different backgrounds and departments, the chances of conflict breaking out are rather high. A good leader must possess the core competency to resolve a conflict by appeasing both parties involved in the issue, which is not as easy a feat as it sounds. 

4. Communication Skills

I know this is a rather obvious competency, but that doesn't make it any less significant. Communication is the backbone of every company, and leaders with the ability to communicate the right thing at the right time transcend from good to great. 

Leadership Competency Model

A leadership competency model allows companies to lay out a framework that explains the essential set of skills a leader must have in an organization.

A competency model makes it super easy for companies to identify employees who show promise. In other words, it helps them see a pattern in the performance of their employees, select a few of them who have the potential to become great leaders according to the model, and then develop those abilities in them.

Although it is effective to hire a leader who has these competencies, it is always a bit more efficient to develop good leaders from your existing pool of employees. Your employees are already attuned to the company style and culture, making them easily malleable to fit the new role of the leader. When it comes to the employees, the leadership competency model acts as a guideline that helps them understand the skills that companies value, enabling them to identify and fill the skill gaps.  

Five Leadership Competencies

There are tons of leadership competencies companies value and would like to see in their leaders. Let us take a look at the top five of them:

  1. Integrity
  2. Self-discipline
  3. Trustworthiness
  4. Stress Management
  5. Self-awareness

#1 Integrity

The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity.

—Dwight D. Eisenhower

People often judge leaders by the kind of people they are. When making moral decisions, a leader with integrity puts the needs of others ahead of their own.

Leaders with integrity make sure that their character is the same in both their personal and business ties. Trustworthy leaders are honest, humble, and able to keep their word. 

#2 Self-Discipline

Self-discipline, or the ability to control your thoughts and get through tough times, is a basic trait that many of these skills require of leaders.

Leaders don't do things for themselves; they do them because they care about other people. Instead of deciding right away, leaders carefully think about what might happen if they do something. Controlling your natural urges to act out of anger, greed, or pride is part of self-discipline.

#3 Trustworthiness

There is a lot of business that depends on trust between companies, workers, and customers. To be a good team leader, you need to show that you can be trusted by both your bosses and your team members.

You will have more chances to succeed if you show that you can be trusted. Being trustworthy takes time to build and can only be shown through actions. As a boss, you need to be able to build trust with everyone and the people you work with.

#4 Stress Management

A leader's job is to make sure that everyone can do their best work in a safe and healthy setting. Managing stress and disagreement well is important because if you don't, you'll lose useful people, work productively for fewer hours, and be less productive.

Stress and disagreements can hurt the team's mental health and make it less able to work together. Emotional intelligence can also help people be more resilient, which makes them less likely to give up when things get tough.

That toughness will be needed in times of fast innovation and change when there is a lot of chaos and unpredictability.

#5 Self Awareness

A leader who is aware of their own strengths and shortcomings continuously work on improving themselves, making them efficient day by day. Because of this very reason, self-awareness is a highly sought-after competency in leaders. 

Leadership Competency Model Examples

Taking inspiration from other leadership journeys can help you create and implement your own leadership competency model. Here are some examples of widely used and successfully implemented competency models.

  1. Lominger Competency Model
  2. SHRM Competency Model
  3. IBM's Basic Blue Leadership Competency Model
  4. Google's Project Oxygen
  5. NHS Leadership Framework
Leadership Competency Models
5 Examples of Leadership Competency Models

1. Lominger Competency Model

This model was first developed by M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger. They developed this model at Lominger Limited, a company they founded, that specialized in creating tools and solutions for leadership development and talent management.

Korn Ferry later acquired Lominger Limited, and the Lominger competency model became part of their leadership development and talent management tools.

The Lominger Competency Model acts as a skill management system that assesses 38 different competencies on certain skills and behavioural traits.

2. SHRM Competency Model

Developed by The Society of Human Resource Management, this model is tailored for HR professionals to guide their development and performance.

Key Competencies under focus:

  • Relationship Management
  • Ethical Practice
  • Critical Evaluation
  • Global and Cultural Effectiveness

3. IBM's Basic Blue Leadership Competency Model

Developed by IBM, this model is aimed at identifying and nurturing essential leadership qualities within the organization. It's a cornerstone of their approach to developing effective and forward-thinking leaders.

Key Competencies under focus:

  • Team Leadership
  • Change Leadership
  • Client Focus
  • Strategic Thinking

4. Google's Project Oxygen

Initially a research study by Google, Project Oxygen evolved into a comprehensive competency model for managers. It serves as a guideline for what makes a successful manager at Google, influencing their management training and development practices.

Key Competencies under focus:

  • Being a Good Coach
  • Empowering the Team
  • Results Orientation

5. NHS Leadership Framework

Developed for the UK's National Health Service, this framework focuses on leadership competencies within the healthcare context. It's instrumental in guiding leaders in the NHS to deliver effective and high-quality healthcare services.

Key Competencies under focus:

  • Delivering the Service
  • Improving the Service
  • Setting Direction

Each of these models are tailored to their own organizational context, and you can use them as a guide to frame your own.

Now You Know What to Look for

Efficient leadership is no joke, as it has a direct relationship with employee engagement and employee productivity. Now you know what skills to develop in a leader and how to do so. We suggest you start with surveys and efficient ones at that. ThriveSparrow specializes in creating all shapes and sizes of surveys, helping you understand your employees and develop the right form of leadership that fits your company like a glove. It is high time that you invested in your leadership, so take this blog as the sign to do so!