Staff competencies in the BC Public Service
Last updated: November 30, 2021
On this page
Learn more about staff competencies by selecting a category:
Change leadership involves creating a new vision for the organization and taking the required actions to ensure that the members of the organization accept and support the vision.
It generally requires the individual to be in a relatively senior or high level position, although this is not always the case.
1. Defines area for change:
- Publicly defines a specific area where change is needed, though does not describe what those changes should be
2. Expresses vision for change:
- Defines an explicit vision for change
- May simplify, modify, or redefine a previous vision in specific terms
3. Challenges status quo:
- Identifies the need for change by leading the change process
- Understands and utilizes the actions and behaviours necessary to move organizational change
- Creates a sense of urgency to achieve desired change, such as rewarding/disciplining behaviour in accordance with the change effort
4. Reinforces change vision dramatically:
- Takes action to align the organization with the change vision
- Takes specific and sustained action to ensure the successful implementation of the change program
- Reinforces the change message with own actions and attitudes
- Publicly recognizes individuals who are demonstrating behaviours consistent with the 'new organization'
Download the Change Leadership Development Guide (PDF, 40KB).
Change management is the ability to support a change initiative that has been mandated within the organization. It involves helping the organization’s members understand what the change means to them and providing the ongoing guidance and support that will maintain enthusiasm and commitment to the change process.
People with this competency willingly embrace and champion change. They take advantage of every opportunity to explain their vision of the future to others and gain their buy-in.
1. Speaks out for change:
- Publicly supports the mandated change initiative, verbally or in writing
- May repeat this message on a number of occasions to ensure organization members are clear on the purpose and direction of the change
2. Links change to work processes:
- Explains how change will affect work processes or structures in general
- Draws theoretical connections, speaks about the change and desired outcomes in broad or abstract terms
3. Makes change real for individuals/group:
- Explains to individuals specifically how the change will affect their roles or positions
- Integrates the change very clearly with existing work/projects
- Builds on recent change initiatives to increase enthusiasm and commitment to the change process
4. Follows through on change initiative:
- Takes specific and sustained action to ensure the successful implementation of the change program
- Reinforces the change message with own actions and attitudes
- Publicly recognizes individuals who are demonstrating behaviours consistent with the 'new organization'
Download the Change Management Development Guide (PDF, 89KB).
Developing others involves a genuine intent to foster the long term learning or development of others through coaching, managing performance and mentoring. Its focus is on developmental intent and effect rather than on a formal role of training.
For this competency to be considered, the individual’s actions should be driven by a genuine desire to develop others, rather than by a need to transfer adequate skills to complete tasks.
1. Expresses positive expectations of person:
- Makes positive comments regarding others’ developmental futures: current and expected future abilities and/or potential to learn even in 'difficult' cases
- Believes others want to and can learn or improve their performance
- Schedules regular feedback opportunities
2. Gives reasons, other support:
- Gives directions or demonstrations with rationale as a learning strategy for others
- Provides resources to remove barriers to task accomplishment (for example: volunteers additional resources, tools, information, expert advice, etc.)
- Asks questions, discusses or clarifies, in order to verify that others have understood explanation or directions
3. Gives feedback to encourage:
- Gives specific feedback for developmental purposes on a regular basis
- Reassures others after a setback
- Gives negative feedback in behavioural rather than personal terms and expresses expectations for future performance or gives individualized suggestions for improvement
4. Does longer term coaching, mentoring or training:
- Consults with individuals and ensures appropriate and helpful assignments, formal training, or other experiences for the purpose of fostering a person’s learning and development
- This does not include formal training done simply to meet corporate requirements
- May include identifying a training or developmental need for individuals or across the organization and establishing new programs or materials to meet it
Download the Developing Others Guide (PDF, 40KB).
Empowerment is the ability to share responsibility with individuals and groups so that they have a deep sense of commitment and ownership. People who practice empowerment participate and contribute at high levels, are creative and innovative, take sound risks, are willing to be held accountable and demonstrate leadership.
They also foster teamwork among employees, across government and with colleagues and, as appropriate, facilitate the effective use of teams.
1. Expresses positive expectations:
- Expresses positive expectations of others, speaks of team members in positive terms
- Trusts their judgement and that they know what they're doing, shows respect for others’ intelligence
2. Delegates routine tasks:
- Gives routine tasks to employees, demonstrates trust in employees’ ability to accomplish tasks to acceptable levels of performance and assigns appropriate resources to employees
3. Demonstrates trust:
- Demonstrates trust by recognizing and acknowledging that others have the skills and abilities necessary to achieve high goals
4. Lets others lead, encourages others:
- Publicly credits others who have performed well
- Encourages and empowers others, makes them feel strong or important
- Accepts and supports others’ considered views, recommendations, or actions
5. Delegates fully:
- After assessing subordinates’ competence, delegates full authority and responsibility with the latitude to do a task in their own way, including the opportunity to make and learn from mistakes in a non-critical setting
- Also assigns appropriate resources to employees
Download the Empowerment Development Guide (PDF, 59KB).
Holding people accountable involves setting high standards of performance and holding team members, other government jurisdictions, outside contractors, industry agencies, etc., accountable for results and actions.
1. Wants expectations clear:
- States concern that performance expectations are made clear and are understood
- Gives basic directions and requirements
2. Sets clear, consistent goals:
- Gives a detailed explanation of the goal and what it looks like for the individual and the group
3. Expects high performance:
- Jointly with staff, sets standards, demands high performance, quality, or resources in a 'clear and firm manner'
4. Holds people accountable for performance:
- Discusses openly and directly with relevant others about performance
- Reviews performance against clear standards or expectations
- Expects individuals to hold themselves accountable
5. Takes effective action on performance:
- Addresses performance problems in a timely way by assessing performance against standards and acting in a way to improve performance
- Provides recognition and reward for work well done
Download the Holding People Accountable Development Guide (PDF, 27KB).
Leadership implies a desire to lead others, including diverse teams. Leadership is generally, but not always, demonstrated from a position of formal authority. The 'team' here should be understood broadly as any group with which the person interacts regularly.
1. Manages meetings well:
- States agendas and objectives, controls time, makes assignments, etc.
2. Keeps people informed:
- In a leadership role, lets people affected by a decision know what's happening, even if they're not required to share such information
- Makes sure the group has all the necessary information
3. Promotes team effectiveness:
- As a leader, uses complex strategies to promote team morale and productivity (hiring and firing decisions, team assignments, cross-training, etc.)
- May include acts intended to build team spirit as long as this is intended to increase team effectiveness
- Demands accountability
- Encourages and empowers others
- Resolves team conflict
4. Takes care of the group:
- Advocates for the group and its reputation
- Makes sure the practical needs of the group are met, obtains needed personnel, resources, information for the group and uses them efficiently
5. Positions self as the leader:
- Ensures that others support leader’s mission, goals, agenda, climate, tone, policy
- 'Sets a good example' (for example: models desired behaviour of the quality initiative)
- Ensures that group tasks are completed and is a credible leader
6. Communicates a compelling vision:
- Has a genuine belief in the vision and communicates to others in a way that generates excitement, enthusiasm and commitment to the group mission
Download the Leadership Development Guide (PDF, 71KB).
Analytical thinking is the ability to comprehend a situation by breaking it down into its components and identifying key or underlying complex issues.
It implies the ability to systematically organize and compare the various aspects of a problem or situation and determine cause and effect relationships ('if...then…') to resolve problems in a sound, decisive manner. It checks to ensure the validity or accuracy of all information.
1. Breaks down problems:
- Breaks problems into lists of tasks or activities, without assigning values
- Makes a list of items with no particular order or set of priorities
2. Sees basic relationships:
- Takes apart problems into pieces
- Links together pieces with a single link: A leads to B, can separate into two parts, pro and con
- Sorts out a list of tasks in order of importance
3. Sees multiple relationships:
- Breaks down a problem into smaller parts
- Makes multiple causal links: several potential causes of events, several consequences of actions, or multiple part chains of events (A leads to B leads to C leads to D)
- Analyzes relationships among several parts of a problem or situation
- Anticipates obstacles and thinks ahead about next steps
4. Makes complex plans or analyses:
- Uses several analytical techniques to break apart complex problems into component parts
- Uses several analytical techniques (for example: risk assessment, building business cases) to identify several solutions and weighs the value of each
Download the Analytical Thinking Development Guide (PDF, 37KB).
Business acumen is the ability to understand the business implications of decisions and the ability to strive to improve organizational performance. It requires an awareness of business issues, processes and outcomes as they impact the client’s and the organization’s business needs.
1. Understands business fundamentals:
- Analyzes and comprehends work unit goals and strategies
- Understands practical business functions in the organizational environment and incorporates them into decision making
2. Aligns current actions with organization goals:
- Develops work plans that prioritize work in alignment with business goals
- Acts in accordance with established organization objectives or goals
3. Thinks and plans in future oriented terms:
- Develops annual service plans that take into account longer term activities, issues, problems, or opportunities
- Develops and establishes broad scale, longer term objectives, goals, or projects (for example: affecting a business, department, or organization)
4. Takes actions to fit service plan:
- Assesses and links short term tasks in the context of long term business strategies or perspectives
- Reviews own actions against the organization’s strategic plan, includes the big picture when considering possible opportunities or projects or thinks about long term applications of current activities
- Anticipates possible responses to different initiatives
- Understands the projected direction of the business and political environment and how changes might impact the organization
Download the Business Acumen Development Guide (PDF, 41KB).
Conceptual thinking is the ability to identify patterns or connections between situations that are not obviously related and to identify key or underlying issues in complex situations.
It includes using creative, conceptual or inductive reasoning or thought processes that are not necessarily categorized by linear thinking.
1. Uses basic rules:
- Uses simple rules, common sense and past experiences to identify problems
- Recognizes when a current situation is exactly the same as a past situation
2. Sees patterns:
- When looking at information, sees patterns, trends, or missing pieces
- Notices when a current situation is similar to a past situation and identifies the similarities
3. Applies complex concepts:
- Uses knowledge of theory or of different past trends or situations to look at current situations
- Applies and modifies complex learned concepts or methods appropriately, such as statistical process control, TQM, demographic analysis, managerial styles, organizational climate, human behaviour, etc. This is evidence of more sophisticated pattern recognition
4. Clarifies complex data or situations:
- Makes complex ideas or situations clear, simple and/or understandable
- Assembles ideas, issues and observations into a clear and useful explanation
- Restates existing observations or knowledge in a clearer fashion
5. Creates new concepts:
- Creates new concepts that are not obvious to others and not learned from previous education or experience to explain situations or resolve problems
Download the Conceptual Thinking Development Guide (PDF, 204KB).
Decisive insight combines the ability to draw on one’s own experience, knowledge and training and effectively problem solve increasingly difficult and complex situations. It involves breaking down problems, tracing implications and recognizing patterns and connections that are not obviously related.
It translates into identifying underlying issues and making the best decisions at the most appropriate time. At higher levels, the parameters upon which to base the decision become increasingly complex and ambiguous and call upon novel ways to think through issues.
1. Responds to situations at face value:
- Uses no abstract concepts in the face of uncertainty or lack of information
- Requires some guidance or support to determine if and when action is appropriate
2. Breaks down problems to reach a decision:
- Breaks problems into simple lists, tasks, or activities without assigning values or priorities
- Uses common sense and past experiences to approach problems and make a decision
- Able to overcome minor obstacles and suggest actions to make a decision without having all the information
3. Sees patterns or basic relationships or connections when problem solving:
- Breaks apart a problem and links together pieces with a single link
- Identifies alternative approaches or actions to a problem
- Is able to make a decision and take action quickly and decisively when there is not enough information to predict the consequences with certainty
4. Sees multiple relationships and can make effective decisions with limited information:
- Makes multiple causal links: several potential causes of events, several consequences of actions, or multiple part chains of events
- Analyses relationships among several parts of a problem or situation
- Anticipates obstacles and thinks ahead about next steps
5. Makes complex plans or analyses and reaches effective decisions in ambiguous situations:
- Uses several analytical or creative techniques to break apart complex problems into component problems or issues
- Draws on complex learned concepts when examining patterns or trends and recognizes underlying issues/implications of decisions or courses of action
- Consistently makes the right decision when there are competing and ambiguous priorities
Download the Decisive Insight Development Guide (PDF, 71KB).
Long term focus combines reasoned and realistic judgement and commitment to key outcomes. It demands a blending of visionary thought and drive with pragmatism and perseverance and has been described as 'steering a steady course through uncharted or difficult waters.'
Individuals with this competency have the ability to maintain the commitment of others and rely upon self-confidence and insight to meet individual, situational or organizational challenges.
1. Bases decisions on facts:
- Recognizes both the constraints and opportunities of a situation before making a decision
- Relies on facts and relevant information, rather than personal biases or stereotypes to make management decisions
2. Makes thoughtful judgements:
- Checks initial assessment of a situation to ensure accuracy, relevance and lack of bias
- Makes judgements based on a dispassionate and realistic assessment of both sides of a situation, allowing for circumstances and predicted changes in environment or focus
3. Maintains focus:
- 'Stays the course' on proposed or established means of reaching outcomes, even in the face of uncertainty or upheaval amongst colleagues
- Communicates own evaluation of the situation including the long term vision, as well as the obstacles or enhancers faced, in order to develop or maintain others’ buy-in to proposed course of action
4. Acts for the 'long haul':
- Maintains focus on long term vision
- Communicates this long term focus to others, acknowledging the business realities which will impact strategies
- Actively works to guide and support others’ efforts at dealing with stress and change in order to maintain a peak level of performance
Download the Long Term Focus Development Guide (PDF, 65KB).
Managing organizational resources is the ability to understand and effectively manage organizational resources (for example: people, materials, assets, budgets). This is demonstrated through measurement, planning and control of resources to maximize results.
It requires an evaluation of qualitative (for example: client satisfaction) and quantitative (for example: service costs) needs.
- Understands key resource issues affecting one’s responsibilities and how these relate to the organization
2. Pursues resource effectiveness:
- Ensures that things are done using efficient and effective alternatives while maintaining or improving quality of programs, processes or services
3. Advocates effective utilization:
- Promotes the need for and models the effective utilization of resources
- Obtains ongoing information and feedback about resource utilization to make timely, effective decisions
- May make resources available to other areas in the organization as needed
4. Benefits the organization:
- Makes decisions that improve effective utilization of resources for the organization even when own branch, division or team must 'sacrifice'
- This includes utilizing resources to meet current and future business goals, with a view and tie-in to the tactical and strategic aspects of the business
Planning, organizing and coordinating involves proactively planning, establishing priorities and allocating resources. It's expressed by developing and implementing increasingly complex plans.
It also involves monitoring and adjusting work to accomplish goals and deliver to the organization’s mandate.
1. Prioritizes own work:
- Efficiently uses time and completes tasks/projects on time through the routine planning of own work and organization of resources
- Develops work plans considering the work group’s objectives, responsibilities, accountabilities, timelines and resources
- Keeps appropriate people informed on progress of tasks/projects
2. Prioritizes and develops plans for other’s work:
- Organizes and coordinates the allocation of staff, funds, technology, process and facilities
- Analyzes and interprets organizational goals and develops supporting objectives
- Monitors and evaluates the impact of the project on others and effectively communicates at appropriate stages
3. Develops and implements plans for complex projects:
- Develops operational plans and provides contingencies
- Establishes measures to assess progress against the plan
- Adjusts the plan appropriately and takes initiative to follow through rather than wait for problems to arise
- Recognizes problems, takes corrective/preventive action and keeps people informed of plans, progress and decisions
4. Helps groups plan, organize and coordinate their work effectively:
- Develops and implements efficient work plans for complex projects
- Demonstrates a strong understanding of the relationships among various components of large scale programs that cut across groups, organizing them so that resources are used most effectively
- Is prepared for, anticipates and effectively deals with problems and roadblocks
- Demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the relationships between organizations and takes timely, strategic actions in facilitating groups and diverse areas working together effectively
Problem solving and judgement is the ability to analyze problems systematically, organize information, identify key factors, identify underlying causes and generate solutions.
1. Breaks down problems:
- Breaks problems into simple components in order to identify required lists of tasks or activities
2. Sees basic relationships:
- Sees single causal link between components of a problem/situation
- Analyzes pros and cons and establishes basic priorities or relationships
- Recognizes cause and effect relationships
3. Sees multiple relationships:
- Breaks down complex situations into manageable parts in a systematic way
- Recognizes several likely causes of events, or multiple consequences and undertakes activities accordingly
- Acquires new information and applies knowledge to analyze issues and resolve problems
4. Makes complex plans or analyses:
- Identifies a number of solutions and weighs the value of each to improve results
- Uses several analytical techniques to break apart complex situations or problems to reach a solution
Strategic orientation is the ability to link long range visions and concepts to daily work, ranging from a simple understanding to a sophisticated awareness of the impact of the world at large on strategies and on choices.
1. Understands strategies:
- Able to analyze and comprehend organizational goals and strategies developed by others
2. Aligns current actions with external strategic goals:
- Prioritizes work in alignment with business goals, acts in accordance with externally set strategies, objectives, or goals
3. Thinks in strategic (future oriented) terms:
- Develops long term objectives, strategies, goals
- Orients to longer terms than day to day activities, determines long-term issues, problems or opportunities
- Develops and establishes broad scale, longer term objectives, goals, or projects (for example: affecting a business, department, several departments, or a large organization)
- Develops a business strategy
4. Links current action or daily tasks to strategies (own or external), or a long term perspective:
- Assesses and links short term, day to day tasks in the context of long-term business strategies or a long-term perspective and considers whether short term goals will meet long term objectives
- Reviews own actions against the organization’s strategic plan, considers the big picture (for example: quality assurance initiative) when considering possible opportunities or projects or thinks about long term applications of current activities
- Anticipates all possible responses to different initiatives
5. Understands external impact on internal strategy:
- Is aware of the projected directions of trends (for example: social, technological, etc.) and how changes might impact the organization, considers how present policies, processes and methods (not current actions, but ongoing issues) might be affected by future developments and trends
6. Plans actions to fit strategy (own and outside) and meet external events:
- Ensures contingency plans exist for problems and situations that might occur, redesigns the department and/or organization to better meet long term objectives, establishes a course of action to accomplish a long term goal or vision and/or shares own view of the desirable future state of the business, department or organization
Download the Strategic Orientation Development Guide (PDF, 33KB).
Building partnerships with stakeholders is the ability to build long term or ongoing relationships with stakeholders (for example: someone who shares an interest in what you're doing).
This type of relationship is often quite deliberate and is typically focused on the way the relationship is conducted. Implicit in this competency is demonstrating a respect for and stating positive expectations of the stakeholder.
1. Understands significance of relationship building:
- Sees stakeholder relationship building as a key to securing the success of initiatives
2. Identifies/approaches key stakeholder contacts:
- Identifies key stakeholder contacts in the organization with whom a relationship must be established
- Communicates regularly with stakeholders as appropriate, sustains the relationship when no specific project/initiative is underway
3. Seeks partnership building opportunities:
- Identifies internal staff whose individual expertise can meet stakeholders needs
4. Organizes involvement of key players:
- Matches staff to appropriate stakeholder contacts and coordinates contacts
- Monitors relationships
5. Develops partnerships:
- Develop partnerships and maintains strategic relationships and partnerships based on an in-depth knowledge and understanding of each other’s roles
Commitment to continuous learning involves a commitment to think about the ongoing and evolving needs of the organization and to learn how new and different solutions can be utilized to ensure success and move the organization forward.
1. Uses current knowledge:
- Looks only at previously learned approaches to generate solutions within own discipline
- Shows no curiosity to learn about new approaches and what value they could add
2. Has interest in own field of expertise:
- Shows curiosity or interest about new approaches, tools, methods and/or technologies in own field of expertise on the job
3. Keeps current in own field of expertise:
- Seeks out new approaches, tools, methods, techniques and/or technologies in own field of expertise by reading, talking to others, attending industry seminars/conferences, courses and/or by experimentation on the job
4. Keeps current with business/organizational changes:
- Stays current in a demanding and changing business/organizational environment with new approaches, tools, methods and/or technologies that may impact the business
- Quickly assimilates and understands a constant stream of new information
5. Links knowledge to current user needs:
- Takes steps to maintain an in-depth understanding of key business issues and implications
- Demonstrates an in-depth understanding of potential solutions in areas of expertise that could impact the business
- Sees applicability of current or emerging approaches, tools, methods and/or technologies to the future needs of the business
6. Maintains broad learning perspective:
- Taps into the knowledge of a wide variety of sources to create a vision of the future and subsequent implications
- Uses knowledge of own and/or other areas of expertise and an in-depth business understanding to create a vision of what the business could be with the application of new or emerging approaches, tools, methods and/or technologies
Concern for order reflects an underlying drive to reduce uncertainty in the surrounding environment. It's expressed as monitoring and checking work or information, insisting on clarity of roles and functions, etc.
1. Shows general concern for order and clarity:
- Works for clarity, wants, roles, expectations, tasks and data to be crystal clear and often in writing
2. Checks own work:
- Double checks the accuracy of information or work
3. Monitors own or others’ work for order:
- Monitors quality of others’ work, checks to ensure that procedures are followed or keeps clear detailed records of own or others’ activities
4. Monitors data or projects:
- Monitors progress of a project against milestones or deadlines
- Monitors data, discovers weaknesses or missing data and seeks out information to keep order
Download the Concern for Order Development Guide (PDF, 26KB).
Continuous development involves proactively taking actions to improve personal capability. It also involves being willing to assess one’s own level of development or expertise relative to one’s current job, or as part of focused career planning.
1. Updates job knowledge/skills:
- Keeps abreast of new information and developments or best practices in own field of expertise (for example: by reading, liaising with organization and business core group contacts, or by attending learning events)
- Stays current with new tools, methods, technologies or approaches that may potentially impact the overall business of the organization
2. Initiates self-development:
- Analyzes own performance to understand positive experiences and setbacks and takes specific short term action to improve performance in current job
- Applies learning on the job
3. Actively seeks feedback for performance enhancement:
- Actively seeks feedback from others including colleagues, customers/clients and managers and integrates the results into personal development efforts
4. Takes responsibility for personal career development:
- Seeks out new information and opportunities to enhance competencies and integrates the results into own career planning
- Takes action to improve own abilities in line with career goals, including volunteering for 'stretch' assignments and taking on increased responsibilities
Download the Continuous Development Guide (PDF, 64KB).
Expertise includes the motivation to expand and use technical knowledge or to distribute work related knowledge to others.
1. Answers questions:
- Answers questions as an expert when asked
- Shares with people about current understanding of technical issues
2. Provides extra knowledge:
- Offers one’s knowledge to others when one sees an opportunity to add value, even if not asked
- Tries to answer deeper issues, spends time helping others resolve technical problems
3. Demonstrates depth of knowledge:
- Demonstrates in-depth knowledge of one’s area of expertise
- Is able to speak knowledgeably and answer questions about relevant issues and considerations
- Is perceived and sought out by others as an expert
- Advises others in content area
- Advocates use of the most effective application of content area knowledge within the organization
- Works to get new approaches accepted
Download the Expertise Development Guide (PDF, 26KB).
Flexibility is the ability and willingness to adapt to and work effectively within a variety of diverse situations and with diverse individuals or groups.
Flexibility entails understanding and appreciating different and opposing perspectives on an issue, adapting one’s approach as situations change and accepting changes within one’s own job or organization.
1. Values need for flexibility:
- Accepts that other people’s points of view are reasonable or valid
- Acknowledges that people are entitled to their opinions and accepts that they're different
- Steps into coworkers’ tasks when needed or required
2. Demonstrates flexibility:
- Works creatively within standard procedures to fit a specific situation
- Understands policies and can work within them to meet branch, work group, team, or individual goals
3. Adapts approach:
- Changes one’s approach as required to achieve intended outcomes
- Prioritizes actions effectively in order to respond to numerous, diverse challenges and demands
4. Adapts strategy:
- Changes the overall service plan and implements new practices when original approach and assumptions are no longer valid
- Able to shift strategic focus and activities quickly in response to changing organizational priorities
Download the Flexibility Development Guide (PDF, 33KB).
Improving operations is the ability and motivation to apply one’s knowledge and past experience for improving upon current modes of operation within the ministry. This behaviour ranges from adapting widely used approaches to developing entirely new value added solutions.
1. Stays up to date:
- Remains abreast of what's going on in one’s area and knows appropriate functions to perform
- Obtains readily available sources of information or training as needed to remain current
- Understands and adheres to all relevant rules and regulations
2. Applies expertise:
- Uses expertise and knowledge to modify current approaches, practices, or procedures in order to create a better fit with new situations or demands
3. Challenges status quo:
- Consistently challenges the adequacy and quality of traditional thinking or standard approaches based on own observations and expertise
4. Creates improvements:
- Looks for opportunities to introduce new practices and procedures and overcome obstacles such as constrained resources
- Impacts efficiency and effectiveness of operations by doing something new and different
- Implements creative solutions that have not been tried before to improve overall performance
Download the Improving Operations Development Guide (PDF, 44KB).
Initiative involves identifying a problem, obstacle or opportunity and taking appropriate action to address current or future problems or opportunities. As such, initiative can be seen in the context of proactively doing things and not simply thinking about future actions.
Formal strategic planning is not included in this competency.
1. Addresses current opportunities or problems:
- Recognizes and acts upon present opportunities, overcomes obstacles to address present problems quickly and effectively
- Acts quickly and decisively in a crisis (where norm is to wait, 'study,' hope problem will resolve itself)
2. Acts 1 to 3 months ahead:
- Creates opportunities or minimizes potential problems by a unique extra effort (new program, special travel, etc.) occurring within a 1 to 3 month time frame
3. Acts 4 to 12 months ahead:
- Anticipates and prepares for a specific opportunity or problem that is not obvious to others
- Takes action to create an opportunity or avoid future crisis, looking ahead 4 to 12 months
4. Acts over a year ahead:
- Anticipates situations 1 to 2 years ahead or more and acts to create opportunities or avoid problems that are not obvious to others
Download the Initiative Development Guide (PDF, 46KB).
Innovation indicates an effort to improve performance by doing or promoting new things, such as introducing a previously unknown or untried solution or procedure to the specific area or organization.
1. Challenges status quo:
- Consistently questions and challenges the adequacy and quality of traditional thinking (such as, the 'way things have always been done') by engaging in active and responsible dialogue
- Uses diverse perspectives to improve the effectiveness of a currently existing business strategy
2. Takes action new to the job or area:
- Impacts job efficiency and objectives by doing something new and different within the area but not necessarily new to the work unit/organization
- Takes established practice or idea used elsewhere with successful results and adapts it in a new way to meet the current situation
3. Does things new to the organization/government:
- Improves performance by doing something that may be new and different in the organization, but not necessarily new to the public sector
- Adopts a cross-boundary mentality in own work and encourages it in others
- Proactively shares information and resources across areas to better leverage the capabilities of organization/government
4. Does things new to the government/public or private sector:
- Improves performance by doing things that may be unique, leading edge or new to the government/public or private sector
- Takes calculated risks in trying something new
5. Encourages innovation in others:
- Encourages creativity on the part of others by highlighting the benefits of innovation and change on the overall performance of the organization and/or the performance of a specific area
- Uses innovative methods and tactics to foster creativity in others and an environment that supports innovative efforts
- Acts in a way which helps others to generate breakthrough ideas, fresh perspectives and new opportunities
Download the Innovation Development Guide (PDF, 34KB).
Integrity refers to actions that are consistent with what one says are important. People with integrity 'walk the talk' by communicating intentions, ideas and feelings openly and directly and welcoming openness and honesty even in difficult negotiations.
1. Is open and honest about work situations:
- Recognizes own negative feelings (apprehension, uncertainty, fear, etc.) or mistakes
- Expresses what one is thinking even when it is not required or when it would be easy to refrain from being open about the situation
2. Takes actions that are consistent with values and beliefs:
- Operates consistently with value base, for example, takes pride in being trustworthy
3. . Acts on values when it is not easy to do so:
- Publicly admits having made a mistake
- Is prepared to take a stand on issues based on values or belief of what is good for the organization, even if it's not an accepted or appreciated stand
4. Takes action based on values when significant cost or risk is associated with doing so:
- In a program, makes sure there is full disclosure based on risk/benefit analysis
- Challenges powerful others to act on espoused values
- Will clearly articulate to higher authorities dissatisfaction with current situation, based on value base, even at the risk of job loss
Download the Integrity Development Guide (PDF, 26KB).
Organizational commitment is the ability and willingness to align one’s own behaviour with the needs, priorities and goals of the organization and to promote organizational goals to meet organizational needs.
It also includes acting in accordance with organizational decisions and behaving with integrity.
1. Behaves in a professional manner:
- Acts in accordance with Standards of Conduct and respects the organization’s business agenda, fulfills job requirements
2. Actively supports the organization:
- Actively supports the organization’s missions, values and goals
- Makes choices and sets priorities to meet organization’s needs and fit with the organizational mission
- Cooperates with others to achieve organizational objectives
- Public supports the mission and promotes a positive image of the organization
3. Demonstrates personal commitment:
- Able to manage and balance personal needs and corporate needs, but is willing to put organizational needs before one’s own
- When necessary, makes personal sacrifices in order to meet the organization’s needs
4. Takes tough stands:
- Stands by decisions that benefit the organization even if they're unpopular or controversial
- Acts in accordance with organizational values, even when challenged or in stressful situations
- Speaks up and confronts management or others in authority when organizational values are being compromised
5. Acts for greater good of organization:
- Acts for the long term good of the organization, even when short term personal or departmental sacrifices may be necessary
- Asks others to make sacrifices in order to meet the larger organization’s needs
Download the Organizational Commitment Development Guide (PDF, 34KB).
Reflecting on difficulties is the willingness to 'work through' the personal experience of having contributed to an unsuccessful outcome. It's expressed by how individuals explain problems, failures, or negative events and what they have learned from those difficulties.
1. Recognizes lack of success:
- Acknowledges areas where expectations are not met and provides reasons which may or may not involve self
2. Remains positive:
- Re-energizes after loss or failure or after encountering a significant hurdle to readdress the situation and to overcome it
- Approaches new situations with continuing positive outlook, despite previous disappointments
3. Takes responsibility:
- Acknowledges personal responsibility for outcomes, even when not all elements of a situation are within direct control but could have been personally managed
4. Learns from mistakes and successes:
- Analyzes situations on an ongoing basis to improve own performance
- Designs a personal action plan to address own issues constructively and decisively
5. Shares learning with team:
- Deals openly with failure by bringing team together to define specific problems and present solutions
- May involve team in diagnosis and in developing solutions to effectively transfer knowledge into the organization
Download the Reflecting on Difficulties Development Guide (PDF, 25KB).
Results orientation is a concern for surpassing a standard of excellence. The standard may be one’s own past performance (striving for improvement), an objective measure (achievement orientation), challenging goals that one has set, or even improving or surpassing what has already been done (continuous improvement). Thus, a unique accomplishment also indicates a results orientation.
1. Wants to do job well:
- Tries to do the job well or right
- May express frustration at waste or inefficiency, but does not initiate specific improvements
2. Creates own measures of excellence:
- Uses own specific methods of measuring outcomes against a standard of excellence
- May focus on new or more precise ways of meeting goals set by management
3. Improves performance:
- Makes specific changes in the system or in own work methods to improve performance (for example: does something better, faster, at lower cost, more efficiently, improves quality, customer satisfaction, morale), without setting any specific goal
4. Delivers to meet challenging goals:
- 'Challenging' means it's a definite stretch, but not unrealistic or impossible
- Delivers to specific goals and improves performance
5. Delivers to meet challenging goals:
- Makes decisions, sets priorities, or chooses goals on the basis of calculated inputs and outputs
- Makes explicit considerations of return on investment or cost-benefit analysis
- Analyzes for relevant organizational outcomes
6. Takes calculated entrepreneurial risks:
- Commits significant resources and/or time (in the face of uncertainty) to increase benefits, such as, improve performance, reach a challenging goal, implements innovative solutions, etc.
Download the Results Orientation Development Guide (PDF, 46KB).
Self-confidence is a belief in one’s own capability to accomplish a task and select an effective approach to a task or problem. This includes confidence in one’s ability as expressed in increasingly challenging circumstances and confidence in one’s decision or opinions.
1. Presents self-confidently:
- Works without needing supervision, appears confident in person, presents self strongly
2. Demonstrates autonomy:
- Solves problems as they arise and takes appropriate action, without having to consult with others
- Makes decisions and takes appropriate action
3. Has confidence in own ability:
- Willing to voice an opinion and take a stand on critical issues
- Explicitly states confidence in own judgement and ability
- Stands up and defends decisions if challenged
4. Chooses challenges:
- Likes challenging assignments, is excited by a challenge
- Looks for and gets new responsibilities
- Speaks up when disagrees with management or others in power, but disagrees politely, stating own view clearly and confidently, even in a conflict
5. Remains confident in difficult situations:
- Deals positively with situations that could be seen as stressful or threatening
- Can maintain confidence and self-image in the face of stress or difficulty
- Seldom gives up before finishing, especially in the face of resistance or setbacks
Download the Self-confidence Development Guide (PDF, 42KB).
Self-control is the ability to keep one’s emotions under control and restrain negative actions when provoked, faced with opposition or hostility from others, or when working under stress. It also includes the ability to maintain stamina under continuing stress.
1. Restrains emotional impulses:
- Feels an impulse to do something inappropriate and resists it
- Resists temptation to act immediately without thinking but does not take positive action, or feels strong emotions, such as anger, extreme frustration, or high stress and holds them back
- May leave room or otherwise remove self from the source of the emotions
2. Responds calmly:
- Feels strong emotions in the course of a conversation or other task, such as anger, extreme frustration, or high stress, holds the emotions back and continues to talk or act calmly
- Ignores angering actions and continues a conversation or task
- May leave temporarily to withhold emotions, then return immediately to continue
3. Calms others:
- Not only controls own emotions, but also acts to defuse the situation and calm others
- May remove others from a stressful situation to allow them to regain their composure
4. Manages stress effectively:
- Withholds effects of strong emotions or stress over time, keeps functioning or responds constructively despite ongoing stress
- May apply special techniques or plan activities ahead of time to manage emotions or stress
Download the Self-control Development Guide (PDF, 39KB).
Concern for image impact is an awareness of how one’s self, one’s role and the organization are seen by others. The highest level of this competency involves an awareness of and preference for, respect for the organization by the community.
Concern for image impact is particularly appropriate for senior management positions.
1. Expresses concern about image of role:
- Expresses concern about how one is perceived within own role and acts to clarify duties, accountabilities and importance of role when role is misunderstood or discounted
2. Sets boundaries of role:
- Explicitly defines what the role is and how others may or may not interact with him/her/them
- Describes behaviour that is and is not appropriate for that role and acts accordingly
3. Recognizes impact of own role:
- Demonstrates understanding of the way in which acting in own role has an effect on a broad audience
- Considers implications for public image of role before acting
- Also recognizes the impact of internal and external events on the perception of the role
4. Describes public impact of organization:
- Recognizes and articulates the role of the organization and the effects of this on the public in general
- Considers the implications of this relationship when deciding on a course of action
- Sees self as a representation of the organization and acts in a way which maintains a positive public image for the organization
- Also recognizes the impact of internal and external events on the perception of the organization
5. Works to promote organizational image:
- Acts to create a positive image for the organization, or a positive impact on the community. For example: selects well known high profile individuals for publicly visible positions to improve image, credibility and/or prestige of the organization, ensures public processes are transparent and accountability is clear when dealing with controversial issues
Download the Concern for Image Impact Development Guide (PDF, 28KB).
Conflict management is the ability to develop working relationships that facilitate the prevention and/or resolution of conflicts within the organization.
1. Notices conflicts:
- Recognizes that there's a conflict and respects others’ points of view
- Brings conflict to the attention of the appropriate individual
2. Addresses conflict as it happens:
- Works to resolve conflict when directly involved, by actively listening and promoting mutual understanding
- Identifies overlapping areas of shared interests in an open, respectful and timely manner
3. Reduces and resolves conflict in a proactive manner:
- Works to resolve conflict between others if the conflict directly impacts on the achievement of work objectives
- Anticipates and takes action to mitigate/reduce potential conflict management and to reduce and resolve conflict at the outset, by encouraging continued, open, 2 way communications
4. Promotes constructive conflict management:
- Promotes interest based conflict prevention and resolution in the organization by coaching others to resolve conflict using interest based approaches
- Provides consultation to or obtains consultation/mediation for others on approaches and processes
5. Creates an open environment where conflict is employed positively:
- Creates a conflict resolving environment by anticipating and addressing areas where potential misunderstanding and conflict could emerge and by addressing systemic workplace irritants
- Employs conflict as a catalyst for positive change
Download the Conflict Management Development Guide (PDF, 57KB).
Customer/client development involves the genuine intent to foster the learning or development of a diverse clientele. 'Customers/clients' include the public, internal clients, colleagues, partners, coworkers, peers, branches, ministries/agencies and other government organizations.
1. Shares knowledge:
- Provides routine exchange of knowledge with customers/clients to help them carry out assignments
- Ensures the task or job information is clear
2. Takes action to increase customer’s/client’s effectiveness:
- Gives detailed instructions and/or on the job demonstration, tells how to do the task, makes specific helpful suggestions
3. Gives constructive feedback:
- Gives specific positive or constructive feedback for developmental purposes
- Reassures the customer after a setback in learning
- Gives negative feedback in behavioural rather than personal terms and expresses positive expectations about the customer’s/client’s ability to learn and improve
- Undertakes a regular exchange of information to achieve that improvement
4. Coaches for performance improvement:
- Analyzes the customer’s/client’s potential to become independent and adjusts own approach accordingly
- Values coaching and looks upon the development of the customer’s/client’s skills as a regular and important part of the job
5. Encourages independence:
- Seeks to develop the customer’s/client’s expertise, skills or knowledge to the point that the individual is no longer needed as a resource
- Arranges increasingly complex learning opportunities or other experiences for the purpose of fostering the internalization of all that the individual needs to know in order to be able to operate independently
Download the Customer/Client Development Guide (PDF, 24KB).
Engaging external partners identifies and involves external stakeholders in order to foster long term partnerships.
1. Advises and informs staff:
- Provides guidance to staff on interacting with external stakeholders
2. Identifies opportunities for stakeholder involvement:
- Identifies areas for improvement within the organization where involvement of external stakeholders would be beneficial
3. Actively seeks input/participation from stakeholders:
- Actively seeks input and/or involvement from stakeholders regarding potential changes to organization policies, procedures, or other business initiatives
4. Recommends new partnerships:
- Identifies and articulates a formal plan for forming specific partnerships with stakeholders, develops a business plan or proposal that details the rationale for forming these specific partnerships
5. Sets strategy/direction for partnerships:
- Determines what overall direction the organization should take in forming partnerships with the external stakeholders
- This includes setting priorities regarding which partnerships should be formed
Download the Engaging External Partners Development Guide (PDF, 31KB).
Impact and influence is the ability to influence, persuade, or convince others to adopt a specific course of action. It involves the use of persuasive techniques, presentations or negotiation skills to achieve desired results.
1. States intention but takes no specific action:
- Intends to have a specific effect or impact, expresses concern but does not take any specific actions
2. Takes a single action to persuade:
- Uses direct persuasion in a discussion or presentation (such as, appeals to reason, data, others’ self-interests, uses concrete examples, visual aids, demonstrations, etc.)
- Makes no apparent attempt to adapt presentation to the interest and level of the audience
3. Takes multiple actions to persuade:
- Takes two or more steps to persuade without trying to adapt specifically to level or interest of an audience
- Includes careful preparation of data for presentation or making two or more different arguments or points in a presentation or a discussion
4. Calculates the impact of one’s actions or words:
- Adapts a presentation or discussion to appeal to the interest and level of others
- Anticipates the effect of an action or other detail on people’s image of the speaker or takes a well thought out dramatic or unusual action in order to have a specific impact
- Anticipates and prepares for others’ reactions
5. Uses indirect influence:
- Uses chains of indirect influence, such as 'get A to show B so B will tell C such and such' or takes two steps to influence with each step adapted to the specific audience
- Uses experts or other third parties to influence
6. Uses complex influence strategies:
- Assembles political coalitions, builds 'informal' support for ideas, selects information to have specific effects and uses 'group process skills' to lead or direct a group
Download the Impact/Influence Development Guide (PDF, 34KB).
Information seeking is driven by a desire to know more about things, people, or issues. It implies going beyond the questions that are routine or required in the job.
It may include 'digging' or pressing for exact information, resolution of discrepancies by asking a series of questions, or less focused environmental 'scanning' for potential opportunities or miscellaneous information that may be of future use.
1. Asks questions:
- Asks direct questions of the people who are there, or who are supposed to answer questions about the situation, such as people who are directly involved even if not physically present
- Uses visible information, or consults other available resources
2. Personally investigates:
- Gets out to personally investigate the problem or situation, when normally would not do so
- Finds and questions those closest to the problem
- Asks 'what happened?'
3. Digs deeper:
- Asks a series of probing questions to get at the root of a situation or a problem, or potential opportunity below the surface issues presented
- Calls on others, who are not personally involved, to get their perspective, background information, experience, etc.
- Does not stop with the first answer, finds out why something happened
4. Does research:
- Makes a systematic effort over a limited period of time to obtain needed data or feedback, or in-depth investigation from unusual sources, or does formal research through newspapers, magazines, computer search systems, or other resources
- This may include legal, financial and/or community research
5. Uses own ongoing systems:
- Has personally established ongoing systems or habits to get information ('management by walking around,' regular informal meetings, or the scanning of certain publications, etc.), including setting up individuals to do regular information gathering for him/her/them
Download the Information Seeking Development Guide (PDF, 37KB).
Listening, understanding and responding is the desire and ability to understand and respond effectively to other people from diverse backgrounds. It includes the ability to understand accurately and respond effectively to both spoken and unspoken or partly expressed thoughts, feelings and concerns of others.
People who demonstrate high levels of this competency show a deep and complex understanding of others, including cross-cultural sensitivity.
1. Listens and responds to expressed emotions:
- Understands what people say and responds accordingly
- Asks questions to clarify what is expressed
2. Understands and responds to unexpressed emotions:
- Reads body language and other non-verbal cues accurately and uses that understanding to structure and give an appropriate response
- Reiterates information to check understanding before drawing conclusions
3. Understands and responds to underlying issues:
- Demonstrates the ability to see things from another perspective
- Understands why people behave in a certain way in given situations, accurately assesses root causes of individual’s behaviours
- Responds to people’s concerns in a proactive manner that promotes long term solutions
4. Anticipates and plans for future interactions:
- Anticipates and understands people’s likely reactions to events or situations
- Uses that understanding to plan for effective interactions and to foster long term positive relationships
Organizational awareness is the acumen to appreciate and the ability to use the power relationships in either one’s own, or other, organization(s). This includes the ability to identify the real decision makers and the individuals who can influence them and to predict how new events or situations will affect individuals and groups within the organization.
1. Understands formal structure:
- Recognizes or uses the formal structure or hierarchy of an organization, 'chain of command,' positional power, rules and regulations, standard operating procedure, etc.
2. Understands informal structures:
- Understands (uses) informal structures (identifies key actors, decision influencers, etc.)
- Applies this knowledge in support of the formal structure
3. Understands climate and culture:
- Recognizes unspoken organizational limitations, such as what is and is not possible at certain times or in certain positions
- Recognizes and uses the corporate culture and the language, etc., that will produce the best response
4. Understands organizational politics:
- Understands, describes (or uses) ongoing power relationships within the organization (alliances, rivalries), with a clear sense of organizational impact
5. Understands underlying organizational issues:
- Understands (and addresses) the reasons for ongoing organizational behaviour or the underlying problems, opportunities or political forces affecting the organization (for example: current social trends, demographic changes, union policies, national or historical issues that affect opportunities, etc.)
Download the Organizational Awareness Development Guide (PDF, 64KB).
Partners with stakeholders is the desire to work cooperatively with all stakeholders to meet mutual goals. It involves an awareness that a relationship based on trust is the foundation for success in delivering results.
1. Maintains contact:
- Meets regularly with stakeholders to keep them informed of new developments or continuing progress
- Expresses expectations of the stakeholder groups and their individual members
- Is optimistic about the relationship and its predicted accomplishments
2. Uncovers stakeholders’ true needs:
- Works to uncover the real underlying needs or concerns of the stakeholder groups and individual members
- Recognizes that the original information received does not 'tell the whole story' and seeks additional information to clarify
- Makes minor modifications to existing work plan to accommodate newly surfaced requirements
3. Provides a broad perspective:
- Discusses changes or opportunities in the wider environment which may affect or benefit stakeholders
- Works with a long term perspective and may trade off immediate costs for the sake of the partnership
4. Acts as a trusted advisor:
- Builds an independent opinion on stakeholder needs, problems, or opportunities and possibilities for implementation
- Acts on this opinion (such as, recommends approaches which are new and different from those requested by the stakeholder)
- Becomes integrally involved in stakeholder’s decision making process
Download the Partners with Stakeholders Development Guide (PDF, 50KB).
Relationship building is working to build or maintain ethical relationships or networks or contacts with people who are, or may be, potentially helpful in achieving work related goals and establishing advantages. These people may include customers, clients, counterparts, colleagues, etc.
1. Builds rapport:
- Makes a conscious effort to establish and build rapport with others, including discussion about weather, current events, etc.
- Identifies and refers to areas of mutual interest as a means of establishing a personal relationship
2. Develops longer term relationships:
- Meets regularly with others without specific objectives, maintains clear contact with others to maintain relationship
- May initiate opportunities designed to improve the longer term working relationship with the customer
3. Uses relationships:
- Calls upon established relationships to gain entry to higher levels/decision makers or to achieve an important goal
4. Creates opportunities to initiate relationships:
- Identifies significant opportunities for contribution, identifies key contacts in target organizations and finds ways to make personal connections
- Nurtures the relationship over time to build rapport and trust and develop a basis for future interactions
5. Builds a network of external relationships:
- Develops and maintains a planned network of relationships within the external/stakeholder community
- Uses the network to identify opportunities, gather information and seek input to problems, with a view to sustaining public service excellence
Download the Relationship Building Development Guide (PDF, 50KB).
Service orientation implies a desire to identify and serve customers/clients, who may include the public, coworkers, other branches/divisions, other ministries/agencies, other government organizations and non-government organizations. It means focusing one’s efforts on discovering and meeting the needs of the customer/client.
1. Follows up:
- Follows through on customer/client inquiries, requests, complaints
- Keeps customers/clients up to date about progress of projects
2. Maintains clear communication:
- Maintains clear communication with customers/clients regarding mutual expectations, monitors client satisfaction
- Distributes helpful information to clients/customers
- Ensures professional and courteous service
3. Takes personal responsibility:
- Takes personal responsibility for correcting customer/client service problems
- Corrects problems promptly and undefensively
4. Takes action for the customer/client:
- Makes self fully available, especially when the client/customer is going through a critical period
- For example, takes actions beyond normal expectations or may change the process to ensure accessibility to information or assistance
5. Addresses underlying customer/client needs:
- Knows the customer’s/client’s issues and/or seeks information about the real underlying needs of the customer/client, beyond those expressed initially
- Matches these to available (or customized) services
6. Uses a long term perspective:
- Works with a long term perspective in addressing a customer’s/client’s problems
- May trade off immediate costs for the sake of the long term relationship
- Looks for long term benefits to the customer/client
- Acts as a trusted advisor, becomes involved in customer’s/client’s decision making process
- Builds an independent opinion on client/customer needs, problems, or opportunities and possibilities for implementation
- Acts on this opinion (such as, recommends approaches that are new and different from those requested by the client/customer)
Download the Service Orientation Development Guide (PDF, 34KB).
Teamwork and cooperation is the ability to work cooperatively within diverse teams, work groups and across the organization to achieve group and organizational goals. It includes the desire and ability to understand and respond effectively to other people from diverse backgrounds with diverse views.
- Participates willingly, is a 'good team player,' does his/her share of the work
- Supports team decisions
- As a member of a team, keeps other team members informed and up to date about the group process, individual actions, or influencing events, shares all relevant or useful information
- Reiterates information to check understanding before responding or drawing conclusions
- Reads body language and other non-verbal cues to structure appropriate responses
2. Expresses positive expectations of team:
- Expresses positive expectations of others in terms of their abilities, expected contributions, etc., speaks of team members in positive terms
- Shows respect for others’ intelligence by appealing to reason
- Responds to people’s concerns in a proactive manner that promotes long term solutions
- Demonstrates to others that they see things from another perspective
3. Solicits input:
- Genuinely values others’ input and expertise, is willing to learn from others (including subordinates and peers)
- Solicits ideas and opinions to help form specific decisions or plans
- Promotes team cooperation
4. Encourages others:
- Publicly credits others who have performed well
- Encourages and empowers others, makes them feel strong and important
5. Builds team spirit:
- Acts to promote a welcoming, productive climate, good morale and cooperation
- Resolves team conflicts
- Protects/promotes group reputation with outsiders
Download the Teamwork and Cooperation Development Guide (PDF, 51KB).
Check out these pages:
Learn more about the interview process: