Leadership Competencies

  • Communications is the exchange of information and ideas from one person to another. Effective communication occurs when others understand exactly what you are trying to tell them and when you understand precisely what they are trying to tell you.
  • You communicate to direct, influence, coordinate, encourage, supervise, train, teach, coach and counsel. You need to be able to understand and think through a problem and translate that idea into a clear, concise, measured fashion.
  • Your message should be easy to understand, serve the purpose and be appropriate for your audience.


  • You must control, direct, evaluate, coordinate and plan the efforts of team members so that you can ensure the task is accomplished. Supervision ensures the efficient use of material and equipment and the effectiveness of operational procedures. It includes establishing goals and evaluating skills. Supervising lets you know your communications are understood and shows your interest in the team members and the mission.
  • Remember that over-supervision causes resentment and under-supervision causes frustration. By considering your team member’s competence, motivation and commitment to perform a task, you can assess the amount of supervision needed.

Teaching and Counseling

  • Teaching and counseling refer to improving performance by overcoming problems, increasing knowledge, or gaining new perspectives and skills. Teaching your team members is the only way you can truly prepare them to succeed and survive on the business battlefield.
  • You must take a direct hand in your team members’ professional and personal development. Personal counseling should adopt a problem-solving, rather than an advisory approach. You also need the judgment to refer a situation to your leader or a service agency if it’s beyond your ability to handle. You will, of course, follow-up on this action. Performance counseling focuses on team members’ behavior as it relates to job performance.

Team Development

  • You must create strong bonds between you and your team members so that they function as a real team. Since work is a team activity, cohesive teams are a business requirement. You must take care of your team members and conserve and build their spirit, endurance, skills and confidence. Good leaders recognize how peers, seniors and team members work together to produce success. Team development is significant in training and orienting team members to new tasks and departments. You can help new team members become committed members of the organization if you work hard at making them members of your team.

Technical and Tactical Proficiency

  • You must know your job. You must be able to train your team members, maintain and employ your resources to help win business battles. You will gain technical proficiency in formal training programs, self-study and on-the-job experience. You have to know your job so you can train your team members and employ your resources efficiently. Tactical competence requires you to know your business’ doctrine so that you can understand your leader’s intent and help win battles by understanding the mission, MODD (anything that: Makes Our Day Difficult), terrain, team, and time available (METT-T). Technical proficiency and tactical proficiency are difficult to separate.

Use of Available Systems

  • You must be familiar with techniques, methods and tools that will give you and your team members the edge. Use of available systems literally means that you know how to use computers, analytical techniques and other modern technological means to manage information and to help you and your team members better perform the mission. This competency may vary depending on your leadership position. You must use every available system or techniqe that will benefit the planning, execution and assessment of the task at hand.

Decision Making

  • Decision making refers to skills you need to make choices and solve problems. Your goal is to make high-quality decisions your team members accept and execute quickly and effectively. Furthermore, it is important that decisions be made at the lowest organizational level where information is sufficient. Like planning, decision making is an excellent way for you to develop your leadership team. Include team members in the decision making process if time is available and if they share your goals and have information that will help produce high-quality decisions.


  • Planning is intended to support a course of action so that an team or organization can meet an objective. It involves forecasting, setting goals and objectives, developing strategies, establishing priorities, delegating, sequencing and timing, organizing, budgeting and standardizing procedures. Team members like to have order in their lives, so they depend on you to keep them informed to ensure success. Including your junior leaders in the planning process is an excellent way for you to develop your leadership team. Remember, one of your tasks is to prepare your team members and help them grow into new roles and responsibilities.

Professional Ethics

  • Professional ethics includes loyalty to your organization and your Team, duty, selfless service and integrity. The leadership competency relates to your responsibility to behave in a manner consistent with the professional business ethic and to set the example for your team members.
  • As a leader, you must learn to be sensitive to the ethical elements of situations you face, as well as to your directives, plans, and policies. You must learn to use an informed, rational decision-making process to reason through and resolve ethical dilemmas and then teach your team members to do the same.

Assuming a Leadership Position

  • Assuming a leadership position is one of the special leadership situations you will face. Everything discussed in this supplement, about what you must BE, KNOW, and DO, is relevant to assuming a leadership position.

Choosing the best Leadership Style

  • Do not fall into the trap that some techniques always work, such as observing for a week or two and then making changes, or going into an organization like “a lion” and then becoming “a lamb”. Such beliefs will cause you to miss the benefits of the thought process used to select the appropriate leadership style (directing, participating, or delegating). The best strategy in one situation can be exactly the wrong strategy for another. For example, you would use a different leadership style when taking over a well-trained and proficient Team, than when replacing a leader who was inefficient or unable to lead.
  • As a leader, you must always establish and enforce standards and provide purpose, direction, and motivation for your team members. When assuming a leadership position, you must assess the readiness of the Team to perform its mission and then develop a strategy to provide what the team needs to be successful. You should use the leadership style that your experience tells you will be most appropriate after you have assessed the Team’s level of competence, motivation and commitment to accomplish the mission or task. In fact, you will probably use all three styles with different team members and/or in different situations. Your style will need to change when new objectives are established, new team members and leaders are assigned, or the competence, motivation or commitment of your team members changes.
  • When you assume a leadership position, talk to your leader, your peers and other key people. Seek clear answers to the following questions:
  • What is the team’s mission?
  • How does the mission fit into the mission of the next higher Team?
  • What function am I responsible for, such as training, maintenance and administration?
  • What are the standards the team must meet?
  • What resources are available to help the team accomplish the mission?
  • What is the current state of morale?
  • Who reports directly to me?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of my team members, individually and collectively?
  • Who are the key people outside of the team who support mission success and how can they add value?

Be sure you ask these questions at the right time, of the right person, and in the right manner. Answers to these questions, and others that follow should give you the information you need to correctly assess the situation and select the right leadership strategy. You must also remain flexible enough to adapt your leadership style as you continually assess the competence, motivation and commitment of your team members and the organization.


Sharing your leadership philosophy with your team members will make your transition more efficient. Your team members will appreciate the chance to see how you intend to lead and welcome the chance to ask questions. Your leadership philosophy is your promise of how you intend to lead and interact with your team members.

Developmental Leadership Assessment

  • Developmental leadership assessment is a process used to improve a person’s ability to lead. It involves comparing performance to a standard or performance indicator, giving feedback and developing a plan to improve leadership performance. It is an essential element of your leader development responsibilities. Just as you need your leader’s coaching, your team members need your help to improve their leadership performance.
  • You have two leadership assessment responsibilities. First, assess your own leadership performance. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and work to improve yourself. Second, assess your team member’s leadership performance, give them feedback and help them overcome their weaknesses.

The Leadership Assessment Process

The goal of leadership assessment is to develop a competent and confident leader. Leadership assessment should be a positive, useful experience that does not confuse, intimidate or negatively impact young leaders. It should be conducted as follows:

  • Decide what leadership skill, knowledge or attitude you want to assess.
  • Make a plan to observe the leadership performance.
  • Observe the leadership performance and record your observations.
  • Compare the leadership performance you observed to a standard or performance indicator.
  • Decide if the leadership performance you observed exceeds, meets, or is below the standard or performance indicator.
  • Give the person leadership performance feedback.
  • Help the person develop an action plan to improve leadership performance.

Normally, leadership assessment will not lead to improved performance unless it includes an action plan designed to redirect undesirable performance and reinforce desirable performance. The leader and the team member must:

  • Design the action plan together
  • Agree on the action necessary to improve leadership performance
  • Review the action plan frequently to see if the team member is making progress and to determine if the plan needs to be changed.

Naturally, when assessing your own leadership performance you have to modify the steps. First, examine your performance in a particular situation. Then, compare your performance to a leadership standard or performance indicator. Finally, decide how you can improve your leadership performance. You must want to discuss your self-assessment with your leader, peers, team members and others.


Feedback Sources

A complete and accurate leadership assessment includes feedback from these six sources:

  • The person being assessed
  • Leaders
  • Peers
  • Team members
  • Close friends and family members
  • Trained leadership assessors (You can find these in a number of places. For example, some service school instructors have received special leadership assessment training.)

It will not always be possible to get feedback from all of these sources, but each of them can give valuable information about leadership performance. If you can get feedback from all six sources, you will have a complete picture.


Note to the Leader:

Grow your people. They’re your only real competitive advantage. Often they are the only true indicators of your leadership abilities and success. It’s up to you. Use the tools you learned while at Leading Concepts. Open and review your Course Reference Guide. Review your LC Handbook, CD’s, and Supplements. Lead and set the example for others to follow.


Lead the way!


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