Create lists of behaviors to determine what good leadership looks like in your organization


Create lists of behaviors to determine what good leadership looks like in your organization.

This can be done in one of three ways as mentioned above: interviews, strategic planning sessions, or selecting behaviors from competencies known to be important.

Use the following guidelines to group common behaviors and name them. These will be your leadership competencies.

  • Competency names should be as specific as possible.
  • They should also be a noun (e.g., delegation) or a gerund (e.g., listening).
  • Names should be easily understood, so avoid jargon and ambiguous words with more than one meaning.
  • Use adjectives to clarify ambiguous nouns (e.g., disciplined management).

Finally, define the competencies.

  • Competency definitions, as with competency names, should be unambiguous and specific.  Use complete sentences when writing definitions, and avoid jargon and abbreviations.  Also, a competency should be observable.  Your competency definition should specify the “what” and the “why.”  For example, a definition of active listening should include the what: “Communicating and clarifying understanding, and eliciting information using both active and passive behaviors,” and the why: “In order to engage others, make people feel heard, and gather information.”  Using these parts, active listening would then be defined as “Communicating and clarifying understanding, and eliciting information using both active and passive behaviors, in order to engage others, make people feel heard, and gather information.” If you find the competency you have created is not observable through leader behaviors, it is likely that you have created a meta-competency – a larger pattern of behavior made up of a set of related competencies.

Once you have created a competency model for your organization, the next step is to think about systems you can put in place to ensure organizational leaders are supporting the organization’s mission, vision, and strategy through effective use of these competencies.  Four levers to use are selection, assessment, rewards and recognition, and leadership development, an essential tool to support these activities is 360 feedback.  For more information visit www.leadernation.com.

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