Distributed Leadership

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Leadership Competencies: Are we all saying the same thing?
Jeffrey D. Horey Caliber Associates 49 Yawl Dr. Cocoa Beach, FL 32931 horeyj@calib.com Jon J. Fallesen, Ph.D. Army Research Institute Ft. Leavenworth, KS jon.fallesen@leavenworth.army.mil

In the course of developing an Army leadership competency framework focused on the Future Force (up to year 2025), the authors examined several existing U.S. military and civilian leadership competency frameworks. We attempt to link the core constructs across the frameworks and identify similarities and differences in terms of their content and structures. We conclude that leadership competency modeling is an inexact science and that many frameworks present competencies that mix functions and
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Employees want information about what they are required to do (or confirmation of what they think they are supposed to do) in their jobs or positions. The operative word here is ‘do’. They typically do not want to know what they are supposed to ‘be’. This simple representation of leadership requirements helps us establish a context for evaluating leadership competencies and frameworks/models. Those that are stated only as traits, characteristics, or in attribute terms are, in our estimation, less valuable than those that are stated in task, function, and behavioral terms. However, models that address both aspects of leadership may prove to be more valuable to more individuals.

The purpose in establishing competencies for leaders should be to better define what functions leaders must perform to make themselves and others in their organizations effective. Many competency definitions include reference to clusters of knowledges, skills, abilities, and traits that lead to successful performance (Newsome, Catano, Day, 2003). Yet competency labels are typically expressed in either process or functional terms. This can lead to confusion as to what competencies actually represent for leadership and organizations. Competency frameworks or models should serve as the roadmap to individual and organizational leader success. The value of competencies
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