5 Core Competencies for Effective Leadership
Written by Alex Fredkin
September 28, 2018
Leadership Competencies for C Level Executives
Developing competencies for an organization is as important as it is challenging. While most of the focus in competency management is for the individual employee, it is equally vital for C-Level executives, managers, supervisors, and other decision-makers to adhere to competencies specific to them.
In a Harvard Business Review study, Sunnie Giles analyzed 195 leaders in 15 countries over 30 global organizations. Participants were asked to choose the 15 most important leadership competencies from a list of 74.
These competencies were grouped into five major themes and priorities for leadership development programs. These have a significant impact on both operations and business development. The five groups are:
- Demonstrates strong ethics and provides a sense of safety
- Empowers others to self-organize
- Fosters a sense of connection and belonging
- Shows openness to new ideas and encourages organizational learning
- Nurtures growth
Giles concluded by saying, “These five areas present significant challenges to leaders due to the natural responses that are hardwired into us. But with deep self-reflection and a shift in perspective (perhaps aided by a coach), there are also enormous opportunities for improving everyone’s performance by focusing on our own.”
Core Leadership Competencies Evaluation
As a CEO, look at the above five groups as guiding principles to your management style. As other leaders have agreed upon these, they can help you make sure you are behaving in ways that not only benefit not only the organization as a whole in accordance to these themes, but also improving your own skills and personal development.
Demonstrates Strong Ethics and Provides a Sense of Safety:
Are you, as a CEO, upholding the standards that your company represents? Do you motivate your employees to act in a fair and balanced way in all their business transactions. Are you treating all individuals and customers with respect, and communicate about the importance of honesty in all business dealings? If you do, then you are contributing to your employees’ sense of safety. A workplace where standards are defined and upheld, and where personal differences are respected, is one where employees can thrive and work together as a team.
Empowers Others to Self-Organize:
As Giles noted, research has repeatedly shown that empowered teams are more productive and proactive, provide better customer service, and show higher levels of job satisfaction and commitment to their group and organization. Are you a leader who hesitates to let people self-organize or resists giving up power? A leader that is able to do this successfully sets his organization and individuals up for long term success.
Fosters a Sense of Connection and Belonging:
If you are a CEO who wants to promote a sense of belonging among your employees, this goes beyond simply holding a Holiday party every December! You need to reinforce this sense of connection every day, in all your corporate communications and in your behavior. Walking through your company’s offices each morning and greeting employees by name, asking about their families, and giving them recognition for a job well done all go a long way towards developing a sense of connection in your team. As you do this your employees will not only feel more appreciated and have improved morale, but improved performance as well.
Shows Openness to New Ideas and Fosters Organizational Learning:
You want to be the type of leader who shows support and encouragement to employees who come forward with ideas about how to improve processes, save time and money, and make other suggestions that will make the workplace more productive. You also want to foster organizational learning at your company, to give workers the chance to improve themselves, seek opportunities to advance and to acquire new skills. All of these will have an impact on both your operations and your business development. If you develop an environment that encourages risk-taking, and that sees failure as an opportunities for lessons and growth, then you will support employees in their creativity and find that your company is a place where people enjoy their work and thrive in their roles.
Are you a CEO who nurtures growth? Are you willing to listen to your managers as they grapple with problems, and do not judge them as they try out new solutions? If you do this, you will be nurturing their growth. People learn by experience. Sometimes they have to fail to grasp a lesson well. And if they do, help them get back up and try again. Your managers will grow in the process, they will trust you as their CEO, and they will feel confident they are developing skills as they move forward.
Competency Models Can Guide You in the Process
Many leaders instinctually have all of the above competencies, and some do not. But either way, it is important that leaders formalize their own competencies just as they do for their direct reports and others.
Develop or implement a competency management system in your company that allows you to lead by example, so you can clearly communicate expectations throughout the business. Don’t be restricted by what has been done in the past; push the boundaries and welcome feedback as to what your employees like or don’t like about your competency management process and learning and development program.
How to Deliver Competency Models to an Organization
If your company has been using a Learning Management Systems (LMS) for training, this can be very effective, but does not address all elements that come with the broader view competency management allows. This type of software can deliver competency models to individuals across the organization, accounting for not just hard skill trainings, but soft skills such as behaviors or knowledge. Moving to a competency management system can alleviate the following pain points:
- Organizational silos in big companies, where information is not readily or easily shared
- Allows C-level to step back and assess their goals, and use that assessment as a compass for their Learning and Development programs
- L&D and cultural knowledge can be formalized and distributed company-wide
Giving your team access to all relevant information on a dashboard will enhance business development and ensure you are poised to react to industry changes. As Pasmore and Taylor said in their article Core Competencies Remain Critical to Success, “In the future, change will be key to every major breakthrough, of which there are potentially very many. To seize these opportunities, leaders will need to up their game concerning change…”
Competency management software will help your senior team to get ahead of the change curve and identify opportunities quickly, which in turn “will build a greater capacity in individuals, teams, and networks to undertake successful change,” said the authors.
Most importantly, your competency management software will enable you to understand the potential of technology to transform your organization and the world. You want to achieve significant accomplishments and do so in an efficient, effective, and lasting way. Competency Management software will be critical to your success in this endeavor.
If you are interested in making this shift, talk to us! Our competency management software is flexible and scalable enough to accommodate growing organizations of any size.