Leadership Competency Model

This competency Model is divided into three main groups:

These three groups of competencies can be thought of as the Pyramid of Leadership, which collectively form the basic requirements for becoming a leader.

Since this site has a lot of readers interested in the training/learning craft, the Professional Competencies have been directed toward learning and training leaders.

The Diagram below shows the Pyramid of Leadership, while the table below it explains each level in more detail:

Pyramid of Leadership

Core Competencies

These are the personal skills required at all levels of leadership. Essential competencies provide the foundation that a person needs to become a leader. Without a strong foundation, the sides of the pyramid will soon crumble and fall as the base gives away.


    Basic Communications

  • Expresses oneself effectively both orally and in written form.
  • Communicate plans and activities in a manner that supports strategies for employee involvement.
  • Actively listens to others.


  • Skillfully settles differences by using a win-win approach in order to maintain relationships.


  • Uses appropriate interpersonal style to steer team members towards the goal.
  • Allocates decision making and other responsibilities to the appropriate individuals.
  • Organizes resources to accomplish tasks with maximum efficiency.
  • Influences events to achieve goals beyond what was call for.

Creative Problem Solving

  • Identifies and collects information relevant to the problem.
  • Uses brainstorming techniques to create a variety of choices.
  • Selects the best course of action by identifying all the alternatives and then makes a logical assumption.

Interpersonal Skills

  • Ues Emotional Intelligence to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself and of others.
  • Treats others with respect, trust, and dignity.
  • Works well with others by being considerate of the needs and feelings of each individual.
  • Promotes a productive culture by valuing individuals and their contributions.

Manage Client Relationships

  • Works effectively with both internal and external customers.
  • Gathers and analyzes customer feedback to assist in decision making.


  • Establishes goals, deliverables, timelines, and budgets with little or no motivation from superiors (self-motivation rather than passive acceptance).
  • Assembles and leads teams to achieve established goals within deadlines.


  • Willingness to change to meet organizational needs.
  • Challenges established norms and make hard, but correct decisions.
  • Adapts to stressful situations.

Build appropriate relationships

  • Networks with peers and associates to build a support base.
  • Builds constructive and supportive relationships.


  • Sets the example.
  • Stays current in terms of professional development.
  • Contributes to and promotes the development of the profession through active participation in the community.


  • Does not waste resources.
  • Looks for methods to improve processes that have a positive impact on the bottom line.

Business Acumen

  • Reacts positively to key developments in area of expertise that may affect our business.
  • Leads process improvement programs in all major systems falling under area of control.

Leadership Competencies

These are the skills needed to drive the organization onto the cutting edge of new technologies. Leadership Competencies form the basic structure that separates leaders from bosses. These skills create the walls and interiors of the pyramid. Without them, a leader is just a hollow windbag, or as Scott Adams of Dilbert fame best characterizes it, "a pointy-head boss."

Leadership Abilities

  • Displays attributes that make people glad to follow.
  • Provides a feeling of trust.
  • Rallies the troops and builds morale when the going gets tough.

Visioning Process

  • Applies effort to increase productiveness in areas needing the most improvement.
  • Creates and set goals (visions).
  • Senses the environment by using personal sway to influence subordinates and peers.
  • Gain commitment by influencing team to set objectives and buy in on the process.
  • Reinforces change by embracing it (prevents relapse into prior state).

Create and Lead Teams

Assess Situations Quickly and Accurately

  • Takes charge when the situation demands it.
  • Makes the right things happen on time.

Foster Conflict Resolutions (win-win)

  • Effectively handles disagreements and conflicts.
  • Settles disputes by focusing on solving the problems, without offending egos.
  • Provides support and expertise to other leaders with respect to managing people.
  • Evaluates the feasibility of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

Project Management

  • Tracks critical steps in projects to ensure they are completed on time.
  • Identifies and reacts to the outside forces that might influence or alter the organization's goals.
  • Establishes a course-of-action to accomplish a specific goal.
  • Identifies, evaluates, and implements measurement systems for current and future projects.

Implement Employee Involvement Strategies

  • Develops ownership by bringing employees in on the decision making and planning process.
  • Provides the means to enable employee success, while maintaining the well-being of the organization.
  • Develops processes to engage employees in achieving the objectives of the organization.
  • Empower employees by giving them the authority to get things accomplished in the most efficient and timely manner.

Coach and Train Peers and Subordinates

  • Recognizes that learning happens at every opportunity (treats mistakes as a learning event).
  • Develops future leaders by being involved in the company mentoring program.
  • Provides performance feedback, coaching, and career development to teams and individuals to maximize their probability of success.
  • Ensure leadership at every level by coaching employees to ensure the right things happen.
  • Ensures performance feedback is an integral part of the day-to-day activities.

Professional Competencies for Learning/Training Leaders

These are the skills and knowledge needed to direct the systems and processes that a leader controls. Professional Competencies form the mortar that binds the pyramid together. Without some knowledge of the technical skills that they direct, the pyramid soon begins to fall apart and the organization begins to operate in damage control mode.

Each organization requires a different set of professional competencies for each leadership position. Although leaders do not need to be the Subject Matter Experts (SME) for the tasks that they direct, they must have a basic understanding of the systems and processes that they control. Again, each position requires a different set of skills and knowledge.

NOTE: In this example, the competencies for learning and training professionals are listed.

Adult Learning

  • Understand and appreciate the diverse experiences of learners.
  • Facilitate self-directed and help with the informal learning of others.

Instructional Design

  • Use the Instructional System Design (ISD) model:
    • Conduct needs assessment and analyze for performance needs.
    • Design for maximum performance.
    • Development material by fleshing out design.
    • Deliver (implement) learning package.
    • Evaluate using formative and summative methods throughout entire process.

Rapid Design

  • Uses prototypes for to quickly create and deliver learning packages.


  • Determine stakeholder's needs.
  • Negotiate a solution.
  • Ensure solution fulfills a business and/or organization requirement.


  • Plan and prepare for instruction
  • Engage learners though out entire instruction.
  • Demonstrate effective presentation and facilitation skills.
  • Provide clarification and feedback.
  • Provide retention and transfer of newly learned skills and knowledge.

Next Steps