Competency is a recognized and important part of modern workforce management. Ensuring that leaders have the necessary competencies, rather than simply hard skills, to excel in their position is becoming increasingly crucial, as attention shifts from simply getting teams to do their jobs, to getting teams to efficiently do their jobs.
While necessary competencies can vary depending on a specific role (factors such as job environment, and or who is doing the work do affect requirements) experts agree that the most important leadership competencies include strong ethics, empowering self and others, openness to new ideas, nurturing, and communication.
How do these leadership competency examples play out in a real work situation?
5 examples of leadership competency at play
A leader with strong ethics can a) adhere to strong moral standards, making choices based on an ethical code to follow company procedures and policies, follow the law, and make choices based on empathy. In real-life, a strong ethical code results in leaders who follow the rules, who respect the safety and emotional safety of their employees, and who work to build others up.
This allows a leader to build a safe environment, where employees understand that they will be treated fairly and can therefore trust their leadership.
Empowering Self and Others
Empowerment ties into motivation and direction – giving others the tools and motivation to perform well in their jobs. This directly benefits any organization, because no matter how technically skilled a leader, they are wasting resources if they are trying to do everything themselves.
Teams that understand they will have the tools and resources they need and that are motivated are also more productive and proactive, with more job satisfaction.
What does empowering self and others look like on the job? A leader demonstrating this skill works to allow employees to self-organize, provides insight and guidance where necessary, and works to empower others to do their own work rather than taking it all on themselves. What else? They’re openly working to apply the same standards to themselves.
Openness to New Ideas
Being open to new ideas ties into several leadership competencies. For example, flexibility to change, willingness to learn, providing room for trial and error, and willingness to adapt to new technologies and ideas. This means being open to admitting that you’re wrong, accepting ideas from unlikely sources, identifying and working to correct ‘tunnel-vision’ or an unwillingness to learn or problem solve in employees, and the ability to withhold judgement until hearing or experimenting with all the options.
Why? Taking an active problem-solving approach, whether to technology, tasks, or employees is crucial to adapting to an ever-changing digital world. Building new techniques and options requires a certain “fail fast and forward” mentality, where leaders are encouraged to try new things, test, and allow small failures with rapid feedback and correction – to not only build teamwork and collective knowledge, but also to improve the collective capabilities of the organization.
Workforce management is a valuable part of any organization, and any leader should be able to nurture those under him or her. A leader who is committed to helping employees to do and become their best adds value to the organization by improving the competencies and skills of an employee, by nurturing future leaders, and by building employee loyalty and motivation.
This means that a good leader must be able to mentor and coach, to recognize where people are succeeding and failing, and be able to motivate individuals to improve.
Strong communication skills allow leaders to share often and openly with others and to build teams by creating a sense of connection and belonging. Communicating openly with teams allows members to build a sense of trust, to become friends with each other, and to be more open and honest when they themselves need help.
Teams that communicate well, enjoy each other’s company, and work well together are more productive and have more energy than those who frequently miscommunicate, hold negative emotions towards each other, and otherwise don’t know how to interact on a social level.
Each of these five leadership competency examples can greatly affect how a leader is able to perform inside your organization. It also impacts the direct value they drive in their interactions with workforce they are leading.