What are the Different Leadership Competencies?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 12 December 2019
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There are many different leadership competencies required to obtain executive positions in today's workplace. In general, there are four primary competencies: strategic thinking, creative problem resolution, communication, and interpersonal skills. The term leadership competencies is used to describe the skills, abilities, and characteristics expected in a leader. Every organization has its own list of core leadership competencies. Take the time to find out what they are in your organization.

The development of leadership competencies is a human resources exercise, designed to help senior management create a standard for leadership. Existing and potential leaders can be evaluated against this standard in a fair, objective way. This type of standard development is a growing trend in large organizations. By allocating specific skills to leadership, candidates for senior positions can be selected based on merit and not connections or prior relationships.

Strategic thinking is a very important leadership competency. The ability to plan ahead, understand the long-term implications of a decision, and make the necessary adjustments to meet unexpected challenges are essential leadership functions. Many organizations look at past performance as an indicator of future direction. The ability to change the course of an organization to avoid difficulty is very important.


Leadership positions are all about problem solving. However, it is important to note that all the simple challenges are resolved by staff lower down in the organization. The problems addressed by senior management require considerable creativity and ingenuity to resolve. Skills in this area are typically developed over time, and not through any academic process.

There are two levels of communication required in most leadership roles: group presentation and interpersonal. Leaders must have excellent public speaking and presentation skills. The ability to inspire, motivate, and communicate is a central requirement of this role. Many people who aspire to this type of position take courses in public speaking to learn this essential skill.

Interpersonal communication includes the ability to persuade, negotiate, and resolve issues. Written and oral communication standards are very high, as this is a central leadership competency. Most leaders have multiple writing styles, depending on the situation, strategic position, and long-term goals.

The ability to work with people from a wide range of industries and very different backgrounds is essential in any leadership role. It is important to remember that business ethics must play a large part in all interpersonal relationships. Good leaders are able to resolve issues without resorting to heavy-handed tactics.


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Post 2

Becoming a good leader has become such an important factor in all fields these days. When I was young, it was generally thought that some people are born as leaders and others as followers. I studied as an engineer and having intelligence and technical skills was enough to be a good engineer and to have a good job.

My grandson is studying to be an engineer now and I'm surprised to hear about how important and necessary communication and interpersonal skills are considered for engineers. Now the general belief is that leadership competencies can be developed, it's not necessary to be born with them.

I think this is great. The educational system of today is much more aware of each student's potential to be a leader and teachers are really doing their best to get them there.

Post 1

Of course, the different qualities the article mentioned is necessary for all leadership positions. But I also think that some jobs require more of certain qualities than others.

I've been working as an Office Manager in the administrative offices of a University program for several years now. From my experiences here, I feel that the most important quality for a University administrator is problem-solving skills.

I feel that it is not really possible for someone to reach this level without ambition or communication skills. But there are some administrators who are very poor at solving problems and try to avoid them altogether. This causes misunderstandings and problems to become bigger. That's why I think the most important competency of leadership is problem solving.

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