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SOURCES: This generic competence framework distills findings from: MOSAIC competencies for professional and administrative occupations (U.S. Office of Personnel Management); Spencer and Spencer, Competence at Work; and top performance and leadership competence studies published in Richard H. Rosier (ed.), The Competency Model Handbook, Volumes One and Two (Boston : Linkage, 1994 and 1995), especially those from Cigna, Sprint, American Express, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals; Wisconsin Power and Light; and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland. Much of the material that follows comes from Working with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman (Bantam, 1998).



EMOTIONAL AWARENESS: Recognizing one’s emotions and their effects. People with this competence:

– Know which emotions they are feeling and why

– Realize the links between their feelings and what they think, do, and say

– Recognize how their feelings affect their performance

– Have a guiding awareness of their values and goals

ACCURATE SELF-ASSESSMENT: Knowing one’s strengths and limits. People with this competence are:

– Aware of their strengths and weaknesses

– Reflective, learning from experience

– Open to candid feedback, new perspectives, continuous learning, and self-development

– Able to show a sense of humor and perspective about themselves

SELF-CONFIDENCE: Sureness about one’s self-worth and capabilities. People with this competence:

– Present themselves with self-assurance; have “presence”

– Can voice views that are unpopular and go out on a limb for what is right

– Are decisive, able to make sound decisions despite uncertainties and pressures


SELF-CONTROL: Managing disruptive emotions and impulses. People with this competence:

– Manage their impulsive feelings and distressing emotions well

– Stay composed, positive, and unflappable even in trying moments

-Think clearly and stay focused under pressure

TRUSTWORTHINESS: Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity. People with this competence:

– Act ethically and are above reproach

– Build trust through their reliability and authenticity

– Admit their own mistakes and confront unethical actions in others

– Take tough, principled stands even if they are unpopular

CONSCIENTIOUSNESS: Taking responsibility for personal performance. People with this competence:

– Meet commitments and keep promises

– Hold themselves accountable for meeting their objectives

– Are organized and careful in their work

ADAPTABILITY: Flexibility in handling change. People with this competence:

– Smoothly handle multiple demands, shifting priorities, and rapid change

– Adapt their responses and tactics to fit fluid circumstances

– Are flexible in how they see events

INNOVATIVENESS: Being comfortable with and open to novel ideas and new information. People with this competence:

– Seek out fresh ideas from a wide variety of sources

-Entertain original solutions to problems

– Generate new ideas

– Take fresh perspectives and risks in their thinking


ACHIEVEMENT DRIVE: Striving to improve or meet a standard of excellence. People with this competence:

– Are results-oriented, with a high drive to meet their objectives and standards

– Set challenging goals and take calculated risks

– Pursue information to reduce uncertainty and find ways to do better

– Learn how to improve their performance

COMMITMENT: Aligning with the goals of the group or organization. People with this competence:

– Readily make personal or group sacrifices to meet a larger organizational goal

– Find a sense of purpose in the larger mission

– Use the group’s core values in making decisions and clarifying choices

– Actively seek out opportunities to fulfill the group’s mission

INITIATIVE: Readiness to act on opportunities. People with this competence:

– Are ready to seize opportunities

– Pursue goals beyond what’s required or expected of them

– Cut through red tape and bend the rules when necessary to get the job done

– Mobilize others through unusual, enterprising efforts

OPTIMISM: Persistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks. People with this competence:

– Persist in seeking goals despite obstacles and setbacks

– Operate from hope of success rather than fear of failure

– See setbacks as due to manageable circumstance rather than a personal flaw


Social Awareness

EMPATHY: Sensing others’ feelings and perspective, and taking an active interest in their concerns. People with this competence:

– Are attentive to emotional cues and listen well

– Show sensitivity and understand others’ perspectives

– Help out based on understanding other people’s needs and feelings

SERVICE ORIENTATION: Anticipating, recognizing, and meeting customers’ needs. People with this competence:

– Understand customers’ needs and match them to services or products

– Seek ways to increase customers’ satisfaction and loyalty

– Gladly offer appropriate assistance

– Grasp a customer’s perspective, acting as a trusted advisor

DEVELOPING OTHERS: Sensing what others need in order to develop, and bolstering their abilities. People with this competence:

– Acknowledge and reward people’s strengths, accomplishments, and development

– Offer useful feedback and identify people’s needs for development

– Mentor, give timely coaching, and offer assignments that challenge and grow a person’s skill

LEVERAGING DIVERSITY: Cultivating opportunities through diverse people. People with this competence:

– Respect and relate well to people from varied backgrounds

– Understand diverse worldviews and are sensitive to group differences

– See diversity as opportunity, creating an environment where diverse people can thrive

– Challenge bias and intolerance

POLITICAL AWARENESS: Reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships. People with this competence:

– Accurately read key power relationships

– Detect crucial social networks

– Understand the forces that shape views and actions of clients, customers, or competitors

– Accurately read situations and organizational and external realities


Social Skills

INFLUENCE: Wielding effective tactics for persuasion. People with this competence:

– Are skilled at persuasion

– Fine-tune presentations to appeal to the listener

– Use complex strategies like indirect influence to build consensus and support

– Orchestrate dramatic events to effectively make a point

COMMUNICATION: Sending clear and convincing messages. People with this competence:

– Are effective in give-and-take, registering emotional cues in attuning their message

– Deal with difficult issues straightforwardly

– Listen well, seek mutual understanding, and welcome sharing of information fully

– Foster open communication and stay receptive to bad news as well as good

LEADERSHIP: Inspiring and guiding groups and people. People with this competence:

– Articulate and arouse enthusiasm for a shared vision and mission

– Step forward to lead as needed, regardless of position

– Guide the performance of others while holding them accountable

– Lead by example

CHANGE CATALYST: Initiating or managing change. People with this competence:

– Recognize the need for change and remove barriers

– Challenge the status quo to acknowledge the need for change

– Champion the change and enlist others in its pursuit

– Model the change expected of others

CONFLICT MANAGEMENT: Negotiating and resolving disagreements. People with this competence:

– Handle difficult people and tense situations with diplomacy and tact

– Spot potential conflict, bring disagreements into the open, and help deescalate

– Encourage debate and open discussion

– Orchestrate win-win solutions

BUILDING BONDS: Nurturing instrumental relationships. People with this competence:

– Cultivate and maintain extensive informal networks

– Seek out relationships that are mutually beneficial

– Build rapport and keep others in the loop

– Make and maintain personal friendships among work associates

COLLABORATION AND COOPERATION: Working with others toward shared goals. People with this competence:

– Balance a focus on task with attention to relationships

– Collaborate, sharing plans, information, and resources

– Promote a friendly, cooperative climate

– Spot and nurture opportunities for collaboration

TEAM CAPABILITIES: Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals. People with this competence:

– Model team qualities like respect, helpfulness, and cooperation

– Draw all members into active and enthusiastic participation

– Build team identity, esprit de corps, and commitment

– Protect the group and its reputation; share credit