Leadership Competencies


What are the behaviors and skills that drive superior employee performance? The answer is leadership competencies. For the U.S. government, the Office of Personnel Management defines 28 leadership competencies plus proficiencies – or mastery levels – within each competency. So why is this important? Because these are the qualities that make you stand out as a leader and drive organizational success.

The Learning Upshot

After completing the work on this page, you will be able to:

  • Identify the 28 competencies of a successful leader
  • Comprehend how proficiency levels encourage personal development
  • Recognize the connection between competency-based leadership and organizational success

Explore OPM’s Leadership Competencies

Make It Actionable

Now it’s time to personalize it. Give this concept some momentum in the workplace and your own life by completing the following activity.

Reflect on your own or discuss with others:

  • How do OPM’s leadership competencies compliment the notion that “every employee is a leader”?
  • How do the proficiency levels for each competency promote personal development and self-evolution?
  • How are the leadership competencies interconnected and reliant upon each other?
  • How does competency-based leadership contribute to organizational success?
  • If you had the opportunity, what changes, if any, would you recommend to the list of OPM leadership competencies?

Want More?

Dig deeper on this topic with the following resources:

Note: Harvard Business Review (HBR) has a limit of 2 articles per month for guest users and 4 articles per month for users who register their email. Subscribers have unlimited access.

Write a Review

  1. I enjoyed the article, “What It Takes to Be a Great Leader” because it provided a framework for setting goals, objectives, and milestones to assist with solving problems when trying to achieve future results. I will be cognizant of how my assumptions might shape the behavior or others, and to adopt mindsets that provide better leadership outcomes. I will engage our team with identifying the problem, articulating what it’s importance, seeking an information bases approach, identifying measures of success, guiding my intention with key indicators, seeking feedback, and celebrating progress. It is my hope this competency-based leadership contributes to organizational success.


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