Leadership Capability Frameworks
Leadership competency frameworks vary from overly simple to overwhelmingly complex. The trick in developing an effective framework is getting the balance right between being:
The right balance may vary between organisations and industries, because certain elements of leader behaviour may be less or more important. But in large part, effective leader behaviour is determined by fundamental human needs so competency frameworks should converge with many similarities.
Voice Project recently won the Emerald Literati Awards For Outstanding Paper 2018 for our paper in the peer-reviewed Leadership and Organization Development Journal, describing a valid and user-friendly model of leadership. Although it wasn’t our intention, we converged on a model that mirrored the “Big Five” model of personality – the most commonly cited and researched model of human behaviour in psychology. In hindsight, we perhaps should not be surprised given the Big Five describes five fundamental categories of human behaviour. But what is surprising is that the Big Five is not commonly used to describe leader behaviour – something we believe should change.
The following five major categories of leader behaviour are described in the language of Voice Project’s leadership 360 survey, but you can apply your own labels and descriptions. The important points here is to ask:
- “Does the way you assess and develop leadership cover each of the following five major categories of behaviour?"
- "What important behaviours might you be missing?"
5 Key Leadership Behaviours
Described as “extraversion” in the Big Five: visionary, inspirational, strategic thinker, results oriented, wants to achieve, is an advocate for the team and organisation, strong communicator, influential, able to rally support.
“Conscientiousness” in the Big Five: task-oriented, quality focused, high attention to detail, efficient, strong problem solver, rational decision maker, manages time and projects well, operational excellence.
“Open-mindedness” in the Big Five: Creative, stimulates new ideas, encourages continuous improvement, optimistic, willing to take educated risks, comfortable with change.
“Agreeableness” in the Big Five: Empathic, cooperates well, recognises achievements, develops others, corrects performance sensitively, responds well to feedback.
“Emotional stability” in the Big Five: Enjoys work, manages stress, maintains work-life balance, models good health and safety behaviour.
Note that, for our internal use at Voice Project, we’ve shamelessly taken some poetic licence with the acronym VOICE for these five categories of behaviour.
So where are the gaps in your current leader assessment and development?
On average, competency frameworks overemphasise “Organise” behaviours, and are light or devoid of “Innovate” and “Enjoy” behaviours. And frameworks for lower-level supervisors often ignore “Voice” behaviours, based on the belief that these should be reserved for executives, however, we’ve found “Voice” behaviours predict success among all levels of staff including frontline supervisors and non-supervisory staff.
For a copy of our research paper go to the publisher’s website here or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just a note – this is an academic paper, so it doesn’t make for light bedtime reading!