Competencies and Skills

  • Leadership Competencies
  • Leadership Principles
  • BE-KNOW-DO
  • Values and Ethics

Leadership Competencies

A competency is defined as a set of skills, knowledge, attributes and behaviors that are observable and measurable. It is the ability to perform activities to the standards required in employment, using an appropriate mix of knowledge, skill and attitude. All three aspects must be present if someone is to be effective in the workplace. To improve competence, you need to increase not only your knowledge, but also your understanding of how the knowledge can be applied, and your skill in applying it.

The Office of Personnel Management has defined the Leadership Competencies considered to be essential to organizational success. They are grouped into five categories called Executive Core Qualification (ECQs). The ECQs are required for entry to the Senior Executive Service and are used by many organizations, including USAREUR, in selection, performance management, and leadership development for all management positions. Select each ECQs below to read more about it and its underlying leadership competencies.

Interwoven with these 5 ECQs are the Fundamental Competencies - Interpersonal Skills, Oral Communication, Integrity/Honesty, Written Communication, Continual Learning, and Public Service Motivation. These competencies are the personal and professional attributes that are critical to successful performance as a leader. They serve as the foundation for each of the Executive Core Qualifications. Leaders should strive to gain training and experience that will enhance these competencies.

Leaders must also have a certain level of knowledge to be competent. The Executive Core Qualifications and Fundamental Competencies serve as the foundation for developing leadership skills. In addition, the FM 6-22 identifies the "KNOW" portion of the BE-KNOW-DO framework as the level of knowledge an effective leader must possess.

USAREUR has adopted the ECQ's and underlying leadership competencies as the standard for developing and selecting supervisors. Command Memorandum, Application of Leadership Competencies for Supervisory Positions, published 1 March 2005 requires managers and hiring officials in U.S. Army Europe to apply the leadership competencies in the selection, promotion and development of all supervisors. To implement this new policy a training course, "Developing Your Leadership Competencies," was conducted throughout the theater. A copy of this training is available for checkout from your local CPAC on DVD. You can also download a copy of the Developing Your Leadership Competencies training guide here.

Leading Change


Ability to bring about strategic change, internally and externally, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organization and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.

Leading People


Ability to lead people in accomplishing the organization's vision, mission and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, faciliates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.

Business Acumen


Ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.

Results Driven


Ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.

Building Coalitions


Ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.

Fundamental Competencies


These competencies are the foundation for success in each of the Executive Core Qualifications.

Leadership Principles

No single trait has been found which separates leaders from non-leaders; nonetheless, however, leaders commonly share a definite set of skills, or competencies, that can be developed over time, through training and experience. Leadership, as defined by FM 6-22, Army Leadership, is "influencing people - by providing purpose, direction, and motivation - while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization." Influencing means getting people to do what you want them to do, and, according to Harry Truman, getting them to want to do it! Influencing others is done by demonstrating the Army Values, communicating purpose, and providing direction and motivation to accomplish the purpose, or mission.

Actions taken by leaders often speak louder than words. They demonstrate the inner strength, or character, of those leaders - whether they are honest and trustworthy, serve for the good of the organization rather than their own personal interests, demonstrate respect to others, and model the Army Values.

Leaders must also have a certain level of knowledge to be competent. The Executive Core Qualifications and supporting leadership competencies serve as the foundation for developing leadership skills. In addition, the FM 6-22 identifies the "KNOW" portion of the BE-KNOW-DO framework as the knowledge leaders should use in leadership. This knowledge "shapes a leader's identity and is reinforced by a leader's actions."

BE KNOW DO Framework

In addition to the OPM Leadership Competencies, the Army has defined leadership competencies in FM 6-22, Army Leadership, that apply to civilians as well as military personnel. These competencies fall into the BE-KNOW-DO framework. At the core are the Army values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage (LDRSHIP). The framework also outlines physical, mental, and emotional attributes that, together with the values, form character, or what a leader must BE. Character describes a person's inner strength. It helps you know what is right, and links that knowledge to action. Making the right moral and ethical decisions, and living by the Army values, gives you the courage to do what is right regardless of the circumstances or the consequences. Chapter 4 Leader Character of the FM 6-22 discusses character development.

Being a person of character is fundamental to our Army. The Army defines competence as skills with people, ideas, things, and warfighting. These four sets of skills are referred to as interpersonal, conceptual, technical, and tactical. These form the KNOW portion of the BE-KNOW-DO framework.

The action we actually take to accomplish our work, the combination of what we are (BE) and what we KNOW, form the DO portion of the Army framework. Accomplishing our work to standards, providing purpose, direction, motivation to others, and accomplishing the mission is what is expected as we DO our work for the Army.

Values and Ethics

At the core of the BE-KNOW-DO frame work are the Army values. These core values are the guiding principles Soldiers and civilians follow in all they do. The Army values are: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage, and they form the acronym LDRSHIP.

When soldiers and DA civilians take the oath of office, they enter an institution guided by Army values. These are more than a system of rules. They tell you what you need to be, every day, in every action you take. Army values form the very identify of the Army. They are nonnegotiable, and they apply to everyone and in every situation throughout the Army. Army values remind us and tell the rest of the world - the civilian government we serve and the nation we protect - who we are and what we stand for. They are the bedrock for trust in our government and in the actions we take. The Army values are defined as:

  • Loyalty: Bear true faith and allegiance to the US Constitution, the Army, your unit or organization, and other soldiers and co-workers.
  • Duty: Fulfill your obligation.
  • Respect: Treat people as they should be treated.
  • Selfless Service: Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and subordinates before your own.
  • Honor: Live up to all the Army values.
  • Integrity: Do what's right, legally and morally.
  • Personal Courage: Face fear, danger, or adversity (physical or moral).

It is your physical, mental, and emotional attributes that, together with the values, form your character. Character describes a person's inner strength. It helps you know what is right, and links that knowledge to action. Making the right moral and ethical decisions, and living by the Army values, gives you the courage to do what is right regardless of the circumstances or the consequences. Chapter 4 Leader Character of the FM 6-22 discusses character development.

It is important for leaders to hold discussions with their employees on the Army values and their organizational values. In his Commander's Intent, GEN McKiernan emphasizes, "Everything we do must be values-based. The seven Army Values are our credentials that represent the ideals of our Nation and the expectations of the American people for the Armed Forces." Download the Values to the Core pamphlet and Values to the Core slides to use when holding Values discussions with your employees.

Readings:

  • How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living by Rushworth M. Kidder
  • "21st Century Leadership Competencies" by LTG William M. Steele and LTC Robert P. Walters, Jr., Army Magazine (Aug 2001)
  • "Ten Ways to Identify a Promising Person" by Fred Smith, Leadership Journal, Fall 1996, Vol. XVII, No. 4, Page 30
  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by S. Covey (1997)

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