Leadership Competency Framework Template

Our leadership competency framework template includes 25 competencies defined for five levels of mastery. Download now and develop effective leaders.

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What's included

Leadership competency framework template overview

Leadership is critical to any successful organization, yet developing leaders can be challenging and time-consuming. As a result, it is crucial to have a comprehensive and inspirational framework to guide your effective leadership development efforts.

Our leadership framework template is the result of extensive research and input from leading organizations such as The Executive Coaching Forum, OECD, and ICC (International Criminal Court), as well as academic resources such as S. Sanghi's Handbook of Competency Mapping.

What you'll find in this leadership competency framework template:

  • Definition of each competency: A clear and concise explanation of the competency's purpose and significance
  • Five mastery levels: Competencies span five levels of mastery—from basic to expert—to ensure a clear path for career progression
  • Behavioral indicators: A comprehensive list of observable and measurable behaviors that demonstrate the presence of leadership skills in an individual
  • Performance metrics and KPIs: A set of performance indicators and key performance metrics that reviewers can use to evaluate leaders on the mastery of specific competencies
  • Developmental activities: An extensive list of concrete and actionable steps, training programs, mentoring, and other developmental activities that can help leaders attain expert competency mastery
  • Editable template: Feel free to add additional competencies or proficiency levels or edit the template down with the relevant competencies for your organization


How to use this leadership competency framework template

Follow these steps to create a comprehensive leadership competency framework tailored to your organization’s specific needs:

  1. Select core leadership competencies: Choose core leadership competencies from the database—these should be universally applicable across the organization, ensuring a consistent standard of leadership excellence
  2. Incorporate functional and technical competencies: For a comprehensive framework, add relevant functional and technical competencies specific to different departments to ensure that the framework addresses general leadership qualities and specific departmental needs
  3. Engage stakeholders: Involve key stakeholders from different departments to ensure the selected competencies align with organizational goals and departmental needs—you can use interviews, focus groups, or surveys to collect stakeholder insights
  4. Adjust the distribution of competencies: Adjust the distribution of competencies based on your organization's unique needs and structure
  5. Map competencies to roles: Align the selected competencies with specific roles within your organization to ensure that each role has a clear set of expectations and development goals
  6. Customize and adapt: Tailor the competencies and their descriptions to reflect your organization’s culture and strategic objectives
  7. Limit the total number of competencies: Maintain focus by keeping the total number of competencies to a maximum of 15
  8. Communicate clearly: Develop a communication plan to explain the new competency framework to all employees, highlighting its benefits and how the organization will use it


What is a leadership competency framework?

A leadership competency framework is a structured guide that outlines the skills, behaviors, and attributes required for effective organizational leadership. It provides a set of standards and expectations for leaders at various levels, helping to align their capabilities with the organization's strategic goals. This framework supports leadership development by identifying key competencies that leaders need to succeed and provides a basis for assessing and developing these competencies through training, coaching, and performance management.

Why is a leadership framework important?

A leadership competency framework is vital for building a solid leadership pipeline, driving organizational success, and creating a cohesive, high-performing leadership team.

  1. Alignment with organizational goals—Prioritize leadership skills and behaviors that align with the organization’s strategic objectives, fostering a unified direction and focus
  2. Consistency in leadership development—Establish standard expectations for leaders across the organization, promoting consistent development and assessment practices
  3. Improved performance—Help leaders understand role expectations, leading to better decision-making and overall performance
  4. Enhanced talent management:—Identify and nurture high-potential employees, providing clear criteria for leadership development and succession planning
  5. Facilitation of targeted training—Design targeted training programs that address specific leadership competencies, fostering more effective learning and growth
  6. Objective evaluation and feedback—Ensure objective performance evaluations and constructive feedback, helping leaders continuously develop and refine their skills

How to roll out a leadership competency framework?

olling out a leadership competency framework involves several key steps:

  1. Engage stakeholders: Involve senior leaders and key stakeholders in the development process to ensure buy-in and support
  2. Communication plan: Develop and implement a communication plan to clarify the purpose, benefits, and components of the framework to all team members
  3. Training and development: Provide training to human resources professionals, managers, and leaders on how to use the framework effectively
  4. Integration with HR processes: Integrate the framework into existing HR processes such as recruitment, performance management, and talent development programs
  5. Pilot testing: Conduct a pilot test of the framework with a select group of leadership roles to gather feedback and make necessary adjustments
  6. Full Implementation: Roll out the framework across the organization, ensuring consistent application and monitoring
  7. Continuous improvement: Regularly review and update the framework based on feedback and changing organizational needs to ensure its relevance and effectiveness

By following these steps, organizations can effectively implement a leadership competency framework that supports the development of strong, capable leaders aligned with strategic objectives.

What is the leadership competency model?

A leadership competency model describes the competencies required for successful leadership within a specific organizational context. It includes a range of competencies categorized by proficiency levels, such as foundational, intermediate, advanced, and expert. The model serves as a blueprint for leadership development, guiding the selection, assessment, and development of leaders. It typically covers areas such as strategic thinking, establishing partnerships, emotional intelligence, problem-solving, and talent management.

What are the core competencies of a leader?

The core competencies of a leader are essential skills and attributes that enable effective leadership. These typically include:

  1. Strategic thinking: The ability to set long-term goals and develop actionable plans to achieve them
  2. Communication: The capacity to clearly convey information and ideas and listen actively
  3. Emotional intelligence: The skill to understand and manage one’s own emotions and empathize with others
  4. Decision-making: The ability to make informed and timely decisions (e.g., on budgets, project planning, managing employees) 
  5. Change management: The capability to lead and manage organizational change effectively
  6. Team building and teamwork: The ability to build cohesive teams and promote a collaborative work environment
  7. Conflict resolution: The capability to address and resolve conflicts proactively and constructively

What are the four competencies of great leaders?

The four competencies of great leaders often highlighted are:

  1. Vision: The ability to create and communicate a compelling vision for the future
  2. Integrity: Consistently demonstrating honesty, ethical behavior, and accountability
  3. Inspirational motivation: The skill to act as a role model and motivate others to achieve their best
  4. Adaptive leadership: The capacity to be flexible and adaptable in the face of changing circumstances and challenges

What is a competency map for a team leader?

A competency map for a team leader is a visual representation that outlines the essential competencies required for the role, categorized by proficiency levels. It identifies specific skills and behaviors needed for effective team leadership, such as communication, conflict resolution, team building, decision-making, and performance management. The map helps assess current competency levels and identify areas for development to enhance team leader effectiveness.