8 Core Competencies Leaders Need to Sustain Performance

By Dr. Terry Jackson

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

Core competencies are two words that we often hear in conjunction with leadership and sustainability.

Organizations and governments need those who can successfully lead others and sustain success. When choosing a leader for public or private sector work, we must look for certain criteria or core competencies.

These competencies will serve as the foundation and metric to ensure leaders can create environments that are productive and sustainable.

8 Core Competencies Every Leader Should Possess

1. Communication

All leaders must be able to listen to others, process information, and communicate effectively.

Within the Communication core competency, listening to others enables leaders to encourage the sharing of information and ideas, as well as concerns. Listening openly to others without interrupting them is one of the keys to becoming more effective.

Processing information is crucial to being a good leader. It is vital to be able to get to the point, weigh the pros and cons, and evaluate short and long-range consequences of decisions. It helps leaders develop logical and clear conclusions.

The final component of the communication core competency is a leader must communicate effectively.

Leaders must express themselves clearly in writing and speaking. They must be thorough, concise, and consistently straightforward when sharing information and their vision with others.

2. Leadership

Successful leaders instill trust, provide direction, and delegate responsibility.

Ultimately, leadership is about producing the desired results. Building and instilling trust enables leaders to show they can be trusted to keep promises and confidence. It also shows that they are honest and ethical.

Leaders provide direction by establishing clear expectations and developing a manageable workload to accomplish those expectations.

A leader must be able to delegate responsibility. Leaders delegate jobs to the appropriate people. Leaders empower others to work and solve problems on their own.

3. Adaptability

Adaptability is the ability to adjust to circumstances and think creatively.

Adjusting to circumstances involves the ability to adjust to people’s diverse work styles and to varying environments. Competent leaders know how to deal with setbacks constructively, and they anticipate change.

Thinking creatively brings an imaginative approach to the job. Creative thinking leaders inspire innovation, risk-taking, and creative problem-solving.

4. Building Relationships

Building a personal relationship may be the most crucial component of being a leader.

It means being considerate of others’ feelings. Leaders must also show freedom from unfair biases and be tactful when giving criticism. Leaders must remain composed under stress.

The next component of Building Relationships is ensuring team success. Team success is crucial in the workplace as “no man is an island.” Within team success, leaders must resolve conflicts fairly and in a spirit of cooperation.

Leaders must build a consensus and lead teams with appropriate goals.

5. Task Management

Task Management involves working efficiently and competently.

Working efficiently means a leader uses current technology and wise use of outside resources. The leaders avoid procrastination and set priorities.

Working competently means the leader has mastered the fundamentals of the job. This leader can apply new methods and information appropriate for new tasks.

6. Production

Leaders take action and achieve results.

An effective leader knows when the time is right to initiate action. Leaders handle problems assertively and make time as well as firm decisions.

Leaders take action so they can achieve results. Leaders must know how to overcome obstacles for achievement and set high standards that positively impact the organization.

7. Developing Others

Leaders develop leaders. Two important areas in developing others are cultivating individual talent and successfully motivating others.

Leaders who are successful at cultivating talent are effective at coaching and making training available. These leaders also provide objective performance feedback on a timely basis.

As a leader, one must be able to give recognition to people who produce excellent work and give extra effort.

The leader also has an enthusiastic attitude that positively affects others.

8. Personal Mastery

A leader who masters themselves seeks improvement and displays personal commitment.

This leader learns positive lessons from mistakes, accepts constructive criticism, and pursues resources to improve and develop professionally. They do not set limits on personal potential.

A high level of commitment is needed by leaders to be successful. This leader maintains a high level of energy and perseverance and remains positive.

These eight core competencies provide a systemic approach to personal leadership development. Effective leaders are committed to developing these competencies in themselves on an ongoing basis.

What Do You Think About Leadership Core Competencies?

If you have ideas about core competencies that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

Would you like to contribute a post?

Dr. Terry Jackson
Dr. Terry Jackson
Terry is Managing Partner for WEpiphany. Developing People is Terry’s purpose and passion. Terry brings 25 years of experience working for organizations and is also a certified Executive and Business Coach, and Sales Trainer.


  • David McCuistion says:

    Dr. Jackson:

    You have covered a wide spectrum in this great article. I know leader foresight is a critical leadership trait, especially for Servant Leaders. However, I am having a problem placing it in your compentencies. My first thought is within adaptability.

    I’m interested in your thoughts. Thank you.


  • Kari nelson says:

    Love this article. Thanks for sharing it!

  • great article.Its smazing to note how great leaders think..

  • Devora Davis says:

    Yes, I agree. Leaders need of all the above plus trust which is in itself being competent of these eight cores.

  • Concepts Of Leadership: The four Concepts You Must Know. - Creative World says:

    […] This theory looks at understanding the relationship between a leader and their subordinates. Mainly, the theory dictates that how an individual behaves in certain situations determines leadership competency. […]

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