Leadership Competencies

A list of competencies provides goals, directions, and outcomes for leadership educators and learners.  Competencies help the campus to inclusively define the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for effective leadership practice, and they provide a structure to communicate how leadership-specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes are inter-related.

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The Illinois Leadership Competencies consist of four levels of practice:

1. “PERSONAL/SELF” LEVEL 

The practice of effective leadership begins within oneself. Leaders work to develop a set of individual skills and attitudes necessary for being productive members of society. 

2. “INTERPERSONAL/TEAM” LEVEL

Effective leadership requires working with and influencing others to achieve common goals and shared vision. Leaders need to develop skills for building personal, authentic, and productive relationships.

3. “ORGANIZATION” LEVEL

Significant accomplishments achieved within organizations are the result of teams interacting together.  Leaders must navigate systems and influence people when they do not have interpersonal relationships with all others.

4. “COMMUNITY/SOCIETY” LEVEL

The values and actions of individuals, teams, and organizations interact with and affect the broader communities in which they are situated.  Leaders are role models and influencers with several communities simultaneously, and must possess skills and attitudes consistent with success in this larger context.

Leadership education at the University of Illinois consists of developing competence in a set of skills and attitudes within each Level. 

 

1. PERSONAL/SELF

The practice of effective leadership begins within oneself. Leaders work to develop a set of individual skills and attitudes necessary for being productive members of society. 

 

Self-Knowledge

Possesses an accurate sense of one’s current interests, values and goals in life

• Describes how one’s choice of academic major is personally significant

Can describe one’s personality, interests, strengths, and weaknesses

• Is able to articulate the skills that they can bring to a team

Self-Management

Manages one’s self  and actions with a healthy attitude and productive relationships

• Recognizes when they are frustrated in an argument with another, and can ask for a break in the discussion

Consciously identifies one’s goals and works towards them

• Identifies what type of lifestyle they would like to lead in five years

Starts work on one’s goals and plans

• Rarely requires time extensions on project deadlines

Proposes new ideas or actions after consideration of options

• Consistently volunteers for ad-hoc tasks within a group

Reflection

Considers past experiences and current situations to inform current and future actions

• Identifies specific examples in their life that define their leadership

Utilizes past mistakes and actions as learning opportunities to improve skills

• Regularly asks, “What can we do better next time?” 

Empathy

Understands the perspectives of others, without necessarily agreeing with them

• Sees a supervisor’s point of view in why they did not receive an assignment

Recognizes and acknowledges the emotional context of interactions

• Recognizes the nervousness of a new team member 

Openness

Values new experiences and people 

• Is excited to meet someone of a different background and learn new things

Maintains a strong sense of personal values while being responsive to new ones

• Authentically considers and evaluates a perspective contrary from their own

Integrity

Acts to do the “right” thing consistently

• Can be trusted with privileged information 

Possesses a strong personal character

• Is respected by most people

 

2. INTERPERSONAL/TEAM

 

Effective leadership requires working with and influencing others to achieve common goals and shared vision. Leaders need to develop skills for building personal, authentic, and productive relationships.

Common Purpose

Facilitates conversations within groups to agree upon goals and tactics

• Reminds the team of its core priorities as it decides on its future goals

Builds a sense of commitment from team members

• Facilitates activities and discussions that help team members bond interpersonally

Communication

Shares perspectives and gathers viewpoints, in both formal and informal environments

• Ensures open understanding of team and individual priorities

• Balances the priority to be understood with the priority to understand

Engages in active listening

• Practices empathy when team emotions are high

Relationship Management

Builds and maintains healthy and productive relationships 

• Seeks to learn about the interests, values, and goals of others

• Creates communication structures to stay in touch with colleagues 

Adapts personal interaction style to build relationships in a variety of environments

• Introduces oneself to others in both formal and informal settings

• Connects to various student communities by developing friendships/networks 

Group Dynamics

Recognizes how relationships within groups change and accordingly adapts personal leadership style 

• Knows how to facilitate ice-breaking conversations for new teams

• Senses when a team is ready to focus on tasks or relationships

Manages interpersonal conflict appropriately 

• Compromises and accommodates others

Followership

Supports other leaders and their initiatives

• Works productively to support and shape initiatives

Challenges the group and other leaders with respect and consideration

• Confronts or challenges one’s supervisor in a respectful way

Cultural Competency

Possesses the skills, knowledge, and attitude necessary to create authentic relationships with those from different cultures 

• Builds relationships with people outside their dominant cultural group

• Explores new cultural experiences

Recruits diverse membership within groups or teams

• Facilitates cross-cultural understanding within groups

3. ORGANIZATION

Significant accomplishments achieved within organizations are the result of teams interacting together.  Leaders must navigate systems and influence people when they do not have interpersonal relationships with all others.

Change Management

Creates successful change in organizations with a planned and disciplined process

• Develops transition plan for next leader(s)

• Uses organizational meeting time to provide updates and status reports of ongoing projects

Engages others in developing a strategic future

• Works to develop an organizational strategic plan with other members

Diversity Advocacy

Promotes a culture of diversity to make organizations stronger

• Engages underrepresented populations within the organization in discussions focused on improvement

Advocates for processes that are inclusive of diverse cultures

• Moves an event that would occur during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan

Creates events and celebrations that teach the value of diversity of cultures

• Plans an International Night to celebrate diverse cultures

Systems Thinking

Creates sustainable standard processes for ongoing tasks

• Establishes a procedure for approval of budgetary expenditures 

Organizes the work of others in a systemic and consistent manner

• Defines people’s roles to avoid overlapping responsibilities or ambiguous functions

Innovation

Values continuous assessment and improvement 

• Asks, “What can we do better next time?” at the completion of an initiative

Challenges the traditional ways of doing things

• Balances the need for stability with the goal to improve an annual program

Changes processes and structures with purpose and meaning

• Questions the need to change something before considering changes

 

4. COMMUNITY/SOCIETY

The values and actions of individuals, teams, and organizations interact with and affect the broader communities in which they are situated.  Leaders are role models and influencers with several communities simultaneously, and must possess skills and attitudes consistent with success in this larger context.

Human Dignity

Recognizes the worth of all people 

• Adopts an attitude of reciprocity when interacting with others

Ensures their human rights are a priority

• Motivates group members to treat others with respect 

Social Justice

Engages in opportunities to learn about privilege, and the distribution of wealth and resources within a community

• Attends a rally on the Quad to increase awareness of human rights

Strives to reduce economic, political, and social inequality

• Creates a member recruitment process that reduces inequality in its policies

• Plans a Hunger Banquet to educate members on issues of poverty

Global Competence

Recognizes and understands the value of global perspectives 

• Interacts effectively with people from people from geographically diverse communities

Respects local cultures within a global context

• Is excited to learn about local history when visiting a new place

Service-minded

Finds meaning in their work through service to others

• Communicates how their work contributes to the health and wellness of others

Models service to others by engaging in actions that serve others in and outside of their community

• Volunteers time at a local animal hospital

Sustainability

Ensures the impact of work benefits the organization as well as the broader society

• Considers the human impact of budgetary decisions

• Considers whether a project might negatively impact a local community

Improves environmental conditions within their community

• Plans a community garden to increase local access to nutrients while reducing carbon dioxide emissions

• Works with facilities staff to install “smart” thermostats in campus residences