Top 15 Leadership Competencies that HR Professionals should be aware of

Leadership Competencies

One of the top priorities for HR should be to develop a diverse leadership bench that is always filled with the right leaders. As the business environment is changing, HR roles are also evolving. Far from simply organizing and managing major events, HR professionals are uniquely positioned to look ahead into the industry and measure the impact of how businesses are performing. HR leaders are increasingly asked to guide organizations through changes that occur because of multiple factors including globalization, technology, or financial outlooks. And to successfully meet these expectations, HR professionals must develop and identify leadership competencies required to fill their dynamic roles. 

Let’s learn about 15 key leadership competencies that all HR professionals need to be aware of and make a plan on how to develop them in their workforce. 

What are leadership competencies?

Leadership competencies refer to a specific set of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) representing effective organizational leadership

However, there is not just a single set of leadership competencies that work across different industries and departments. Different leadership positions demand different sets of leadership competencies within a single organization. 

As a result, many organizations work with a leadership competency framework which is a collection of competencies identified as critical for success and relevant to their job responsibilities and organization. 

What are the types of Leadership Competencies? 

Certain competencies are essential for every leader irrespective of their industry and department. 

Being able to spot these competencies enables HR to make informed and insightful decisions for hiring, developing, retaining, and promoting leaders.

Leadership competencies are distinguished into three categories:

Leadership Competencies required for Leading Organizations:

  1. Social Intelligence: the ability to understand different social situations and how to deal with them effectively.
  2. Conflict Management: how to avoid and resolve interpersonal conflicts. 
  3. Decision Making: A good leader always knows when to make a decision by themselves and when to consult their team. 
  4. Change Management: Effective leaders understand how to prepare, support, and guide their teams for various organizational changes.
  5. Sharing a Vision: Leaders need to share their organizational vision compellingly because that is the reason why people want to work for you. 

Leadership Competencies required for Leading Others: 

  1. Emotional Intelligence: Ability to understand other people’s emotions and how to deal with emotional situations. 
  2. Interpersonal Skills: These skills include people’s skills, soft skills, active listening, giving and receiving feedback. 
  3. Trustworthiness: Trust is crucial for building and maintaining strong relationships with people they manage
  4. Inclusiveness: How leaders can treat every employee equally and respectfully. 
  5. People Management: It involves overseeing training, development, day-to-day management of employees, how to keep them motivated and productive. 

Leadership Competencies required for Leading Yourself:

  1. Learning Agility: The ability to continuously learn and relearn for growth and development within the organization. 
  2. Industry Expertise: Effective leaders always know that there is a continuous need to develop expertise in the area and industry they are working in.
  3. Courage: It is all about standing by your values and people and if required, defending in front of others. 
  4. Organizational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB): It refers to all constructive and positive employee behaviors and actions that are not part of the overall job description. 
  5. Managing Yourself: This includes your workload, emotions, schedule, and many more. Strive to be well organized, plan, and learn to prioritize. 

How to Develop Leadership Competencies?

You can develop leadership competencies by creating and implementing a leadership plan. Here is how you can go about doing this.

Competencies required for leading an organization:

Here, Peer mentoring and coaching are considered two good options. They can be used in combination for more formal training topics like conflict management, change management, decision-making.

Competencies required for leading others:

Here practices like giving, receiving feedback, active listening, verbal, non-verbal communication can be helpful. People management training is very important at this stage depending on the leadership level.

Competencies required for leading yourself:

Here leaders can learn a lot about the company, its product, people by themselves or from other people in the organization for industrial or company expertise. Moreover, they can follow a course or workshop to improve their planning and time-management skills. 


Leadership competencies, in general, depend on industry, company, department, and leader’s position within the organization. For HR professionals, it is crucial to understand what skills are important for leadership success to help them make informed decisions while hiring or promoting leaders. What leadership competencies are important for your organization?


What are the 3 leadership competencies?

The capacity to lead, develop, and achieve results are three in particular that are critical for leaders to develop.

Why is it important to have leadership competencies?

A strong corporate culture, aligned workforce, and vital competitive differentiators can all be established with clearly defined competencies. Additionally, they aid in ensuring that you set consistent performance standards for workers, which can help retain and energize your workforce.

What are the best ways to demonstrate leadership competencies?

A leader with high ethical standards exudes a commitment to justice, inspiring trust that they and their team members will uphold the game's law. Similarly, when leaders make their expectations clear, they prevent people from being caught off guard and ensure everyone is on the same page.

How does leadership competencies influence decision-making?

Managers use their leadership skills to mentor their teams and advance the company. Managers may be required to make choices that affect workers in the name of leadership. Understanding how decision-making abilities can help you make difficult decisions as a leader may be helpful.

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