Bespoke leadership competency framework design

A leadership competency framework will help you recruit and develop your leadership talent more effectively


Define 'what good looks like' for leadership in your organisation

How leaders behave has a huge impact on the employee experience and your organisation's culture. Everything they say and do, and how they say and do it, has an impact on everyone around them. If you want to change your culture then ensuring your leaders behave in a way that is consistent with your values and culture is crucial.

We specialise in designing bespoke leadership competency frameworks that enable you to strengthen your recruitment, succession, performance management and learning and development processes.

How we design your leadership competency framework

Leadership is complex. There are dozens of behaviours that impact a leader's effectiveness. In addition, the context a leader operates in has an influence on the most appropriate behaviours for the situation.

As such, designing a totally comprehensive leadership framework can be a little unrealistic so we take a more pragmatic approach.

Identify the purpose and scope of the framework

Before creating a competency framework, it is important to understand the purpose and scope of the model. For example, is the model intended to be for all leaders at a certain level of the organisation? Is the model to be used to support development or recruitment selection etc.

Seek input from key stakeholders

Central to the process of creating your competency model is to engage with the relevant stakeholders in the business. This could be your CEO or senior members of the HR team, anyone who has clarity around the organisation's values and what kind of culture they want for your business.

Whilst you could easily download a bunch of competencies and behaviours from the internet, they are likely to be quite generic and unlikely to reflect your organisation’s tone of voice of specific ways of working.

Identify a broad range of behaviours to include in your competency framework

This is where engaging with stakeholders is important. We find that starting with a blank sheet of paper is the best approach, but the key technique to use here is something called a critical incidents interview to start identifying the things that effective leaders do in your organisation.

Identify the core competencies

After several interviews we will have gathered lots of information so this phase is about reflecting on all the information you have and starting to cluster it into themes. These themes are what will become your competencies. It takes time and a fair bit of thought.

Depending on how you intend to use your competency framework we recommend keeping it to around 8 competencies.

Refine the behaviours within each competency

The next step is to review all of the individual behaviours we identified in the critical incidents interviews. The goal here is to start assigning them to the appropriate competency to create a structure with behaviours defined within each competency.

What does a competency framework look like?

This graphic below shows the competencies in our standard leadership 360 feedback questionnaire.

Behind each competency is a series of behavioural statement. For example, if we take the competency Emotional Intelligence, some of the behaviours might be:

  • Remains calm, even when times are stressful
  • Is positive and optimistic
  • Demonstrates empathy, understands the perspectives of others
  • Behaves in a predictable and consistent way so people always know where they stand

Need help developing your leadership framework?