Post: What is a Leadership Competency Framework?

December 30, 2015

What is a leadership competency framework?

To answer this question, let’s first define what a competency is.

A competency is a characteristic, skill, attitude, or behavior which when present will result in effective performance on the job. An example of a competency would be:

Communication – Keeping direct reports and leaders informed about decisions, events, and developments that affect them.

Typically competencies are defined and then broken down into proficiency levels so that they can provide a way to quantify an employee’s current level of performance and convey a clear path for how to achieve the next level.

An example of a breakdown of competency levels for Communication may look like this:

ACCEPTABLE

ACCOMPLISHED

ADVANCED

Shares relevant information and ideas in a timely manner with staff, supervisor/ manager, colleagues and others. Communicates information in effective, creative ways within the department. Develops and cultivates information sharing strategies between departments and amongst staff. Establishes a network of contacts/ processes/ strategies to facilitate communication.

So, now that you have a clear idea of how we define a competency, and different levels of succession execution, it is important to understand how we conceptualize a leadership competency framework.

A leadership competency framework is a collection of competencies identified as necessary for success in leadership positions. Organizations typically work from a larger leadership competency library to develop and refine the leadership competency framework relevant for their leaders and their organization.

When developing your leadership competency framework, ensure that it is:

  • Focused on results: How leadership behavior and traits benefit the organization must be clearly linked
  • Organization-specific: Despite the existence of several universal competencies, not all competencies will be equally valuable to every organization. The competencies you chose need to be well aligned with your business objectives and strategy
  • Forward thinking: What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. Figure out what it will take to get your organization to succeed in the future and select your leaders based on those criteria
  • Clearly tied to rewards: It is vital that there is a relatively quick and appropriate response and acknowledgement to reward employees who meet performance criteria for critical competencies
  • Accepted: There must be buy-in from all stakeholders

For more information, we have developed a free EGuide to help walk you through the steps required to create your own leadership competency framework that reflects the unique characteristics of your organization and your people. Click here to download.

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