What Are Leadership Competencies? (And How to Improve Them)

Updated May 1, 2023

Having strong leadership requires a variety of leadership competencies to ensure that you can succeed and motivate those around you, regardless of your industry. These competencies require reflection of your overall abilities and your assets. By knowing which competencies you require to be a strong leader, you become a more reliable team member and employee. In this article, we discuss the competencies to consider regarding your leadership.


  • Guidelines on Effective Leadership in the Workplace

  • What Are Competencies? (With Examples and a Guide)

Leadership competencies to consider

Leadership competencies refer to a leader's combination of knowledge, skills and abilities. These competencies also refer to your ability and proficiency as a leader. Improving your leadership skills ensures you can plan projects effectively and improves overall company culture by ensuring leaders provide team members with appropriate support. Here are some leadership competencies to consider:


Integrity refers to your ability to maintain your overall values, both in your professional and personal life. Those with integrity consider their values and whether their projects conflict with their values. Leaders who use integrity also consider the values of those around them and demonstrate honesty and humility during their conversations. Here are some ways to improve your integrity:

  • upholding the values and beliefs of your company or organization, even when it is a challenge

  • admitting your mistakes with an honest and humble attitude

  • prioritizing honesty in all your professional dealings

  • making sure all your professional decisions are in line with the values of your employer

  • doing everything you can to ensure the well-being of your customers, clients and employees

  • considering whether your personal values conflict with your professional values

Read more: What Is Honesty and Integrity in a Workplace Setting?


Self-discipline is necessary for leaders because they navigate multiple responsibilities and require the motivation to accomplish tasks quickly. These professionals also display self-discipline for team members and provide them with additional structure. They discuss potential consequences involved with their actions rather than make quick decisions. Self-discipline involves controlling impulsive decisions. Here are some possibilities for improving your self-discipline:

  • Make yourself aware of how your decisions affect others.

  • Choose to prioritize the needs of others over yourself.

  • Manage your time carefully.

  • Use your energy wisely.

  • Make a commitment to self-improvement.

  • Accomplish tasks right away.

  • Create schedules for your tasks and time.


Interpersonal skills are essential for effective leaders because they enable you to navigate various interactions throughout the workday. Professional leaders undergo evaluations and can see how their overall competencies impact their team's productivity. The key to improving productivity in the workplace is often clear and open channels of communication. Leaders willing to share their ideas with their team experience more success, along with those who share information clearly and concisely. Often, employees complete assignments well if they have accurate and actionable information. It is a leader's responsibility to impart instructions and expectations clearly.

An equally important element of good communication is a leader's ability to listen. Effective leaders are willing to listen to input and ideas from their teammates. Even if you cannot implement a particular team member's suggestion, they still appreciate you taking the time to listen. Team members who see that their opinions and ideas are acknowledged and respected are more willing to trust their leader's decisions and judgment. Here are some suggestions for improving your communication skills:

  • Make an effort to ask your colleagues for their opinions and ideas.

  • Deliver instructions clearly and thoroughly.

  • After sharing information, ask your listeners if they have any questions or concerns.

  • Be open to considering others' points of view.

  • Maintain an atmosphere of openness in your workplace.

  • Make it clear to your team that their input is valuable to you.

Read more: How to Improve Communication Skills


Trust is an essential component of all workplaces because team members trust their leaders and supervisors to provide them with appropriate direction. Most industries operate depending on established trust between employers, employees and consumers. In order to lead a team effectively, you will have to prove your trustworthiness to both your superiors and your team members. The more trustworthiness you show, the more opportunities you have to succeed. Trustworthiness is acquired over time and can only be proven by action. Building trust with everyone in your workplace is an important part of being a competent leader.

Here is how to develop your trustworthiness as a leader:

  • Endeavour to always meet deadlines and turn in assignments on time.

  • Work on delivering reliable and worthwhile results.

  • Always follow through on your promises.

  • Be forthcoming about your mistakes.

  • Prioritize honesty in your professional relationships and interactions.

  • Display honesty when assigning tasks and your reasoning behind those assignments.

  • Discuss your strengths and weaknesses with team members.

Related: What is an Authentic Leader? Definition and Characteristics


A valuable leadership competency is teamwork because leaders work with many professionals and departments daily. Having strong teamwork skills ensures you cooperate seamlessly with other team members and supervisors. All teams depend on the various skills that individual team members develop. These individuals develop a holistic skill set that increases their overall productivity and capabilities. Leaders with strong teamwork skills know how to identify various skills in their team members and encourage their team members to work together. You can show your teamwork skills by encouraging team members to teach each other their skills.

If you want to improve your overall teamwork, you can familiarize yourself with the strengths, weaknesses, and skills of your team members. You may also want to volunteer for group projects and tasks to learn about your team members' interests and personal motivations. Consider supporting your team through career advancement opportunities and remaining open-minded. This open-mindedness ensures you consider the opinions of those around you and provides team members with the opportunity to express their ideas during meetings.

Read more: How to Improve Teamwork in the Workplace (With Tips)

Conflict management

Conflict management competencies help you navigate conflict and crises within the workplace. When you work with multiple personalities and encourage team members to express themselves during meetings and throughout their day, crises and conflicts may occur naturally. Leaders who demonstrate competencies understand how to manage and reduce conflict. They also teach their team members that conflict is safe and that it's a natural occurrence when team members feel passionate about their tasks and responsibilities. These skills are important in both small and large workplaces. Conflict management requires strong cooperation to ensure the success of group projects.

When individuals and teams experience conflicts, leaders ensure that the group atmosphere and company culture remain healthy and supportive. Leaders typically act as mediators in these situations and listen to all parties involved in disagreements. Authentic leaders help to dissolve tension and navigate cooperation by promoting discussions and allowing all individuals to express themselves. Here are some suggestions for how you can work on your conflict management skills:

  • Learn to sense tension in your workplace.

  • Make sure your coworkers or employees know they are welcome to come to you directly with any complaints or dissatisfaction.

  • Practice tact when offering advice or input on a situation.

  • Research negotiation skills or seek out opportunities to observe them in action.

Read more: 5 Conflict Management Styles (And How to Use Them)


Authentic leaders demonstrate problem-solving in the workplace by providing strong solutions for complex issues. Leaders also understand that they require the collaboration of all team members to create those solutions. These professionals also ensure that their team members combine their overall knowledge, skills and practical experience. Problem-solving improves overall productivity and efficiency by ensuring that projects have limited issues. When obstacles arise, leaders also use the resources available to them. Here are some ways to improve your problem-solving at work:

  • Study the details of how your job, workplace and industry function.

  • Seek advice from senior professionals in your workplace.

  • Research logical thinking skills and how to implement them in your workplace.

  • Learn from any mistakes you might make while gaining experience.

Read more: What Is a Problem-Solving Strategy? (With 9 Examples)


Leaders require strong initiative because team members will model the behaviours of their leaders. By showing initiative, you can accomplish additional responsibilities and discuss potential ideas or viewpoints with those around you as well as encourage others to do the same. Someone who shows initiative sees tasks that require accomplishment and oversees their completion without delay. Here are some ideas to help you demonstrate initiative:

  • Look for needs in your workplace and think about how you might be able to meet them.

  • Volunteer to solve an inconvenience or inefficiency in your workplace.

  • Go above and beyond the minimum requirements of a task whenever appropriate.

  • Take it upon yourself to do the necessary research before pitching an idea.

  • Handle any problems that might appear with your methods or plans instead of expecting someone else to solve them.

Read more: How to Take Initiative in the Workplace (With Useful Skills)

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