Header-New York State Governor's Office of Employee Relations/Department of Civil Service Work Force and Succession Planning-Tools & Resources

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This listing was created by the Competencies Work Group, drawing heavily on the competency models cited in the Work Group's report. The competencies are offered for your use in constructing your own leadership and management competency models. Note that:

  • It is not a comprehensive list but includes competencies that the Work Group considered important.
  • In many cases competencies overlap.
  • Some competencies listed may also be used to group several competencies.
  • The definitions are in the form of behavioral statements, wherever possible, to ground the competencies in observable behaviors.
  • You may wish to create a summary definition from the bullets, delete bullets, or add your own to tailor the competencies for your own use.

Send questions and comments to nbk@cs.state.ny.us

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Accountability Empowering Others Managing Risk
Analytical Thinking Entrepreneurship Negotiating
Building Trust Establishing Focus Organizational Communications
Change Management
Exercising Self-Control/Being Resilient Partnering/Networking
Coaching Facilitation Political Skill
Communicating in Writing Fiscal Management Project Management
Communicating Orally Flexibility Providing Direction
Conflict Management Getting Results Providing Motivational Support
Continual Learning Influencing Others Solving Problems
Continual Improvement Initiative Systems Thinking
Customer Focus Innovation Technical Credibility
Decision Making Interpersonal Skills Technology Use/Management
Delegation Listening
Thinking Strategically
Developing Others Maintaining Personal Credibility/Meeting Ethical Standards Valuing and Leveraging Diversity
Emotional Intelligence Managing Performance Visioning

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  • Defines objectives and strategies to meet customer requirements and organizational goals and objectives.
  • Manages performance to achieve expected results.
  • Keeps informed of performance through face-to-face meetings, written communications, analytical reports, and performance measures.
  • Keeps supervisor informed of progress, issues, and potential problems.
  • Maintains a cost/effective balance of controls and risk-taking to ensure effective and efficient operation within budget.
  • Identifies and addresses areas of weakness that may affect organizational performance.
  • Takes full responsibility for results.

Analytical Thinking

  • Approaches a situation or problem by defining the problem or issue; determining its significance; collecting data; using tools such as flow charts, Pareto charts, fish diagram, etc. to disclose meaningful patterns in the data; making inferences about the meaning of the data; and using logic and intuition to arrive at conclusions or decisions.
  • Sees most of the forces, events, entities, and people that are affecting (or are being affected by) the situation at hand.
  • Makes a systematic comparison of two or more alternatives.
  • Notices discrepancies and inconsistencies in available information.
  • Identifies a set of features, parameters, or considerations to take into account, in analyzing a situation or making decisions.
  • Approaches a complex task or problem by breaking it down into its component parts and considering each part in detail.
  • Weighs the costs, benefits, risks, and chances for success, in making a decision.
  • Identifies many possible causes for a problem.
  • Carefully weighs the priority of things to be done.

Building Trust

  • Communicates an understanding of the other person's interests, needs and concerns.
  • Makes and meets commitments that contribute to addressing the other person's interests, needs, and concerns.
  • Identifies and communicates shared interests and goals.
  • Identifies and communicates differences as appropriate.
  • Addresses perceived harm to the other person by fully acknowledging any harm done, clarifying intentions, and finding a suitable remedy that affirms the value of the relationship.
  • Uses a win-win approach to resolving conflicts or conducting negotiations.
  • Develops, maintains, and strengthens partnerships with others inside or outside the organization who can provide information, assistance, and support.
  • Demonstrates honesty, keeps commitments and behaves in a consistent manner.
  • Shares thoughts, feelings, and rationale so that others understand personal positions.
  • Remains open to others' ideas and opinions even when they conflict with their own.

Change Management

  • Demonstrates support for innovation and for organizational changes needed to improve the organization's effectiveness.
  • Initiates, sponsors, and implements organizational change.
  • Helps others to successfully manage organizational change.
  • Facilitates the implementation and acceptance of change within the workplace.
  • Acts as a champion for change.
  • Develops, plans, and follows through on change initiatives.
  • Accepts the ambiguity that comes with change activities.
  • Encourages others to seek opportunities for different and innovative approaches to addressing problems and opportunities.
  • Involves appropriate parties in changes.
  • Encourages others to question established work processes or assumptions and challenges them to ask "why" until cause is discovered.
  • Addresses change resistance and shows empathy with people who feel a loss as a result of change.
  • Works cooperatively with others to produce innovative solutions.
  • Facilitates groups or teams through the problem-solving and creative-thinking processes leading to the development and implementation of new approaches, systems, structures, and methods.
  • Implements or supports various change management activities (e.g., communications, education, team development, coaching).
  • Establishes structures and processes to plan and manage the orderly implementation of change.
  • Helps employees develop a clear understanding of what they will need to do differently as a result of changes in the organization.


  • Clarifies responsibilities, authority, and expectations.
  • Provides timely guidance and feedback to help staff accomplish a task or solve a problem.
  • Provides guidance in how to strengthen knowledge and skills to improve personal and organizational performance.
  • Provides new assignments and experiences to develop the employee's capability.
  • Communicates effectively and develops subordinates.
  • Conducts performance appraisal and feedback.
  • Works with employee behavior problems.

Communicating in Writing

  • Presents information, analysis, ideas, and positions in writing in a clear and convincing manner.
  • Organizes written ideas clearly and signals the organization of the document to the reader (e.g., through an introductory paragraph or use of headings).
  • Uses appropriate writing style consistent with organizational guidelines and norms.
    · Tailors writing to effectively reach the intended audience.
  • Uses graphics and other aids to clarify complex or technical information.
  • Documents created include correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  • Demonstrates a willingness to share ideas and perspectives and encourages others to do the same.

Communicating Orally

  • Makes clear and convincing oral presentations (to individuals and groups) that achieve their purpose.
  • Speaks clearly so that others can hear what is being said.
  • Tailors oral communications, whether formal (e.g., speech) or informal, to the level and experience of the audience.
  • Uses presentation software, graphics, and other aids to clarify complex or technical information.
  • Organizes ideas in a clear, logical flow that can easily be followed by the audience.
  • Maintains eye contact with all members/areas of the audience, unless cultural norms dictate not maintaining eye contact in individual communications.
  • Listens effectively (see definition).
  • Summarizes or paraphrases understanding of what listeners say in questions or comments to verify understanding and prevent miscommunication.
  • Demonstrates a willingness to share ideas and perspectives and encourages others to do the same.

Conflict Management

  • Recognizes differences of opinion, brings them out into the open for discussion, and looks for win-win solutions.
  • Uses appropriate interpersonal styles and methods to reduce tension or conflict between two or more people.
  • Finds agreement on issues and follows through on implementation.
  • Deals effectively with others in an antagonistic situation.

Continual Learning

  • Demonstrates an understanding of new information.
  • Masters new technical and organization concepts and information.
  • Builds on strengths and addresses weaknesses.
  • Curious.
  • Pursues self-development.
  • Seeks feedback from others and is receptive to new ideas and perspectives.
  • Seeks opportunities to master new knowledge.

Continual Improvement

  • Stresses accountability and continuous improvement.
  • Builds on ideas of others to come up with new ways to address organizational issues or problems.
  • Generates creative new solutions and approaches to customer issues and organizational processes.
  • Makes use of quality tools to improve processes.

Customer Focus

  • Makes customers and their needs a primary focus of one's actions.
  • Develops and sustains productive customer relationships.
  • Readily readjusts priorities to respond to pressing and changing client demands.
  • Quickly and effectively solves customer problems.
  • Is accessible and provides prompt, attentive service.
  • Talks to customers (internal or external) to find out what they want and how satisfied they are with what they are getting.
  • Develops and maintains strong relationships with customers.
  • Develops trust and credibility with the customer.
  • Lets customers know he/she is willing to work with them to meet their needs.
    · Finds ways to measure and track customer satisfaction.
  • Presents a cheerful, positive manner with customers.
  • Understands and is responsive to customers' objectives and needs.
  • Goes the extra mile to satisfy customer needs and expectations.

Decision Making

  • Makes timely and sound decisions.
  • Identifies and understands issues, problems, and opportunities.
  • Compares data from different sources to draw conclusions.
  • Uses effective approaches for choosing a course of action or developing appropriate solutions.
  • Takes action that is consistent with available facts, constraints, and probable consequences.
  • Modifies decisions based on new information when appropriate.
  • Takes calculated risks.
  • Takes responsibility for decisions.
  • Understands the impact and implications of decisions and provides feedback on outcomes.
  • Creates relevant options for addressing problems and opportunities and achieving desired outcomes.
  • Includes others in the decision-making process as warranted to help make the most appropriate decision and to gain buy-in.


  • Assigns decision-making and work functions to others in an appropriate manner to maximize organizational and individual effectiveness.
  • Clearly communicates the parameters of the delegated responsibility, including decision making authority and any required actions, constraints, or deadlines.
  • Provides appropriate support and acts as a resource depending on the situation and capabilities of the employee.
  • Establishes procedures to keep informed of issues and results of delegated responsibilities.

Developing Others

  • Uses appropriate methods and a flexible interpersonal style to help others develop their capabilities.
  • Provides helpful, behaviorally specific feedback to others.
  • Shares information, advice, and suggestions to help others to be more successful.
  • Provides effective coaching.
  • Gives people assignments that will help develop their abilities.
  • Regularly meets with employees to review their development progress.
  • Recognizes and reinforces people's developmental efforts and improvements.
  • Expresses confidence in others' ability to be successful.
  • Participates in opportunities to enhance knowledge and skills in others.
  • Helps others learn new systems, processes, or programs.
  • Collaboratively works with direct reports to set meaningful performance objectives.

Emotional Intelligence

  • Demonstrates an ability to control and filter emotions in a constructive way.
  • Exhibits consideration of the feelings of others when/before taking action.
  • Demonstrates recognition of the various psychological and emotional needs of people.
  • Expresses feelings clearly and directly.
  • Balances feelings with reason, logic, and reality.
  • Demonstrates an appreciation of the differences in how others feel about things.

Empowering Others

  • Gives people latitude to make decisions based on their level and area of responsibility and level of knowledge and skills.
  • Encourages individuals and groups to set their own goals consistent with organizational goals.
  • Provides resources and support needed.
  • Encourages groups to resolve problems on their own; avoids prescribing a solution.


  • Actively seeks out and identifies opportunities to develop and offer new products and services within or outside the organization.
  • Proposes innovative business deals to customers, suppliers, and business partners.
  • Initiates actions that may involve deliberate risk to achieve a recognized benefit or advantage.
  • Stays abreast of government, business, industry, and market information that may reveal opportunities for innovative products and services.
  • Also see Innovation

Establishing Focus/Setting Direction

  • Acts to align own unit's goals with the strategic direction of the organization.
  • Ensures that people in the unit understand how their work relates to the organization's mission.
  • Ensures that everyone understands and identifies with the unit's mission.
  • Ensures that the unit develops goals and a plan to help fulfill the organization's mission.
  • Uses effective techniques to define outcomes and expectations.

Exercising Self-Control and Being Resilient

  • Keeps functioning effectively under critical and tight deadlines, heavy workloads,and/or other pressures.
  • Can effectively handle several challenging problems or tasks at once.
  • Maintains self-control when personally criticized (vs. criticizing ideas), verbally attacked or provoked.
  • Maintains a sense of humor under difficult circumstances.
  • Deals effectively with pressure and stress.
  • Maintains focus and intensity and remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity.
  • Recovers quickly from setbacks.
  • Effectively manages own behavior and time, including balancing work and personal life.


  • Uses group skills to lead the group to consensus, effectively solve problems, and accomplish tasks.
  • Exhibits behaviors and techniques that enhance the quality of group processes.
  • Evokes participation and creativity from others.
  • Effectively distinguishes process from content.

Fiscal Management

  • Develops program and resource plans and budgets for projects, or units.
  • Understands the relationship of the budget and resources to the strategic plan.
  • Monitors expenditures and resources to ensure spending is within allotments, or makes appropriate modifications.
  • Complies with administrative controls over funds, contracts, and procurements, to preclude fraud or mismanagement of government resources.
  • Monitors and verifies ongoing cost effectiveness.


  • Makes effective decisions and achieves desired results in the midst of major changes in responsibilities, work processes, timeframes, performance expectations, organizational culture, or work environment.
  • Picks up on the need to change personal, interpersonal, and professional behavior quickly based on the demands of the project, customer, or solution.
  • Reevaluates decisions when presented with new information.
  • Readily integrates changes midstream into work processes and outputs.
  • Is able to see the merits of perspectives other than his or her own.
  • Demonstrates openness to new organizational structures, procedures, and technology.
  • Switches to a different strategy when an initially selected one is not working and not worth the investment to try to make it work.
  • Maintains effectiveness when experiencing major changes in work tasks or the work environment.
  • Shifts gears comfortably.
  • Makes decisions and acts without having to have every detail clear.

Getting Results

  • Takes risks in improving products and services, while holding self and others accountable.
  • Finds or creates ways to measure performance against goals.
  • Seeks to accomplish critical tasks with measurable results.
  • Strives for excellence in performance by surpassing established standards.
  • Has a strong sense of urgency about solving problems and getting work done.
  • Develops clear and challenging but achievable personal and organizational goals.
  • Identifies and pursues desired outcomes for projects and meetings.
  • Continues to work toward achievement of goals in the face of obstacles.
  • Shows a significant level of effort, persistence, and time commitment to achieve goals.
  • Takes extraordinary measures to solve problems and get work done when the situation calls for it.
  • Doesn't allow mistakes, failure, and other personal crises to undermine results.

Influencing Others

  • Presents facts, analysis, and conclusions or solutions in a way that demonstrates command of content; factors in perspectives and interests of the audience; and shows what's in it for them or what meets the common good.
  • Appropriately, involves others in a process or decision to ensure their support.
  • Offers tradeoffs or exchanges to gain commitment.
  • Structures situations (e.g., the setting, persons present, sequence of events) to create a desired impact and to maximize the chances of a favorable outcome.
  • Works to make a particular impression on others.
  • Identifies and targets efforts to influence the real decision makers and those who can influence them.
  • Seeks out and builds relationships with others who can provide information, intelligence, career support, potential business, and other ways to help.
  • Takes a personal interest in others (e.g., by asking about their concerns, interests, family, friends, hobbies) to develop relationships.
  • Presents information or data that has a strong effect on others as evidenced by their reactions to it.
  • Uses language and examples that speak to the issues, experience and organizational level of the audience.
  • Uses stories, analogies, or examples that effectively illustrate a point.
  • Uses graphics, overheads, or slides that display information clearly with high impact.
  • Gains the support of others in meeting objectives by acknowledging their resistance and fears; addressing their questions and concerns; and accommodating them to the extent possible without undermining the effort.


  • Identifies what needs to be done and takes action before being asked, when the situation requires it.
  • Does more than what is normally required in a situation.
  • Seeks out others involved in a situation to learn their perspectives.
  • Takes independent action to change the direction of events.
  • Takes prompt action to accomplish objectives and achieve goals beyond what is required.


  • Is receptive to new ideas and adapts to new situations.
  • Exhibits creativity and innovation when contributing to organizational and individual objectives.
  • Takes calculated risks.
  • Seeks out opportunities to improve, streamline, reinvent work processes.
  • Helps others overcome resistance to change.
  • Thinks expansively by combining ideas in unique ways or making connections between disparate ideas.
  • Explores numerous potential solutions and evaluates each before accepting any, as time permits.
  • Targets important areas for innovation and develops solutions that address meaningful work issues.
  • Develops new products or services, methods or approaches.
  • Sponsors the development of new products, services, methods, or procedures.
  • Develops better, faster, or less expensive ways to do things.
  • Creates a work environment that encourages creative thinking and innovation.
  • Adapts best practices and processes to the work unit.

Interpersonal Skills

  • Considers and responds appropriately to the needs, feelings, and capabilities of different situations.
  • Relates well with others.
  • Maintains confidentiality.
  • Demonstrates consistency and fairness.
  • Anticipates and resolves confrontations, disagreements, and complaints in a win-win way.
  • Is tactful, compassionate and sensitive, and treats others with respect.
  • Provides timely and honest feedback in a constructive and non-threatening way.


  • Provides feedback on what was heard.
  • Responds to statements and comments of others in a way that reflects understanding of the content of what was said and the accompanying emotion expressed.
  • Asks clarifying questions when understanding is incomplete to assure the speaker of the commitment to understanding what was said.
  • Persists in seeking understanding despite obstacles.

Maintaining Personal Credibility/Meeting Ethical Standards

  • Does what he or she commits to doing.
  • Respects the confidentiality of information and concerns shared by others.
  • Is honest and forthright with people.
  • Provides frank, open, and accurate feedback while avoiding destructive comments.
  • Has calm and steady demeanor.
  • Works through interpersonal conflicts to ensure problems are addressed and relationships are strengthened.
  • Carries his/her fair share of the workload.
  • Takes responsibility for own mistakes; does not blame others.
  • Conveys a command of relevant concepts, facts, and information in matters involved in.
  • When confronted with ethical dilemmas, acts in a way that reflects relevant law, policy and procedures, agency values, and personal values.

Managing Performance

  • Sets clear goals for the employees and the work unit.
  • Works with employees to set and communicate performance standards that are specific and measurable.
  • Supports employee efforts to achieve job and organizational goals (e.g., by providing resources, removing obstacles, acting as a buffer).
  • Establishes and maintains formal and informal methods to track employees' progress and performance (e.g., status reports, managing by walking around).
  • Provides specific performance feedback, both positive and corrective, as soon as possible after the event or action.
  • Deals firmly and promptly with organizational performance problems by working with staff to diagnose problems, develop solutions, and monitor progress while keeping upper level management informed.
  • Deals firmly and promptly with employee performance problems by establishing facts of behavior with the employee, setting expectations, monitoring behavior/performance, and taking disciplinary action when the behavior warrants it.
  • Develops performance expectations and performance agreements with direct reports.
  • Evaluates priorities to ensure the 'true' top priorities are handled satisfactorily.

Managing Risk

  • Takes stances or makes decisions that involve personal risk, but which are judged advantageous to the individual and agency.
  • Takes actions in which the benefits to the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery are weighed against potential risks.
  • Establishes prevention and detection internal controls which address potential risks of inefficiency, ineffectiveness, fraud, abuse or mismanagement with reasonable assurance (i.e., meet cost/benefit criteria).
  • Creates a positive internal control environment by demonstrating support for the agency's internal program through behavior, presentations, and discussions.
  • Handles risk and uncertainty.


  • Confirms agreement on the facts.
  • Confirms understanding of others' perspectives and wants.
  • Clearly presents own perspective and wants.
  • Achieves "win-win" outcomes by identifying common interests, clarifying differences, and achieving consensus or compromise.

Organizational Communications

  • Ensures that others involved in a project or effort are kept informed about developments and plans.
  • Ensures that important information from management is shared with employees and others as appropriate.
  • Shares ideas and information with others who might find them useful.
  • Uses multiple channels or means to communicate important messages (e.g., memos, newsletters, meetings, e-mail, intranet).
  • Keeps manager informed about progress and problems.
  • Establishes communication plans and/or systems to ensure that communications fully support the work of the organization.
  • Ensures that regular, consistent communication takes place within area of responsibility.


  • Develops networks and builds alliances.
  • Participates in cross-functional activities to achieve organizational objectives.
  • Collaborates across internal and external agency boundaries to meet common objectives.
  • Keeps support areas like budget and HR informed of program priorities, needs, and issues, in pursuit of responsive service.

Political Skill

  • In taking action, demonstrates an understanding and consideration of how it will impact stakeholders and affected areas in the organization.
  • Makes remarks and gestures in politically charged situations that move the group or situation toward a productive outcome.
  • Uses the "informal" organization to obtain information or accomplish something when the formal organization can't meet the need, without creating problems with the formal organization.

Project Management

  • Ensures support for projects and implements agency goals and strategic objectives.
  • Seeks and documents customer needs and ensures and measures customer satisfaction.
  • Defines outcomes and expectations based on customer requirements.
  • With staff, develops a workplan with tasks, timeframes, milestones, resources, and dependencies.
  • Uses resources efficiently and manages effectively within budget limits.
  • Ensures quality and quantity standards are met.
  • Anticipates potential problems and institutes controls and contingency plans to address them.
  • Monitors project progress and evaluates performance.
  • Responds effectively to unforeseen problems.
  • Identifies improvement areas and resolves barriers to task completion.
  • Sets deadlines in a way that gets commitment from all parties involved.

Providing Direction

  • Provides structure.
  • Identifies a clear, motivating, challenging vision, and direction.
  • Builds architecture to implement that vision and direction and empowers and enables organizational members to carry out and implement that vision.
  • Aligns staff to goals, delegates effectively, motivates others, gives clear direction, and initiates projects or actions.
  • Sets long- and short-term goals.

Providing Motivational Support

  • Recognizes and rewards people for their achievements.
  • Acknowledges and thanks people for their contributions in completing work and meeting customer needs.
  • Expresses pride in the group and encourages people to feel good about their accomplishments.
  • Finds creative ways to make people's work rewarding.
  • Signals own commitment to process by being personally present and involved at key events.
  • Identifies and promptly tackles morale problems.
  • Gives talks or presentations that energize groups.
  • Provides training and development activities.
  • Provides challenging and enriching assignments that employees enjoy and learn from.

Solving Problems

  • Approaches a situation or problem by defining the problem or issue.
  • Determines the significance of problems.
  • Collects data, distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant data.
  • Uses tools such as flow charts, Pareto charts, fish diagram, etc. to disclose meaningful patterns in data.
  • Makes inferences about the meaning of the data.
  • Uses logic and intuition to arrive at decisions or solutions to problems that achieve the desired outcome.
  • Also see Analytical Thinking

Systems Thinking

  • Implements solutions to organizational problems and develops organizational or service delivery systems in a way that factors in or encompasses the interactions of all of the systems and organizational entities involved.
  • Provides analysis of problems and issues that accounts for the interactions of all systems and organizational entities involved over time.

Technical Credibility

  • As technical legal and policy issues arise within the workforce, communicates understanding, interest, and commitment to addressing them.
  • Appropriately applies procedures, requirements, regulations, and policies to related service delivery or regulatory activities.
  • · Develops program goals, objectives and strategies that are feasible and desirable in clear recognition of technical policies, issues, and limitations.
  • Hires managers/supervisors who taken together provide an appropriate mix of technical and managerial expertise.
  • Addresses organizational technical training and development needs.

Technology Use/Management

  • Understands and uses basic technology as a tool in staff communication (e.g., e-mail, scheduling, etc.).
  • Understands technology well enough to make management level decisions on purchasing equipment, software, and other IT related expenses.
  • Explores technological options for program operations.
  • Explores new applications or enhancements with appropriate IT staff to assist staff in carrying out responsibilities and to provide better services to customers.
  • Is creative and visionary in the application of technology to improve services and productivity.
  • Encourages staff development and training for new IT applications.
  • Proficient in using appropriate personal computer software and agency communication systems.
  • Uses efficient and cost-effective approaches to integrate technology into the workplace and improve program effectiveness.
  • Develops strategies using new technology to enhance decision making.
  • Understands the impact of technological changes on the organization.

Thinking Strategically

  • Formulates strategies that are achievable, cost-effective, and address organizational goals by themselves or in coordination with other strategies.
  • Formulates strategies that take organization's strengths and weaknesses into account.
  • Researches, interprets, and reports on long-term customer/client trends for the purpose of formulating policy and strategy.
  • Provides analysis of policy issues, develops program proposals, and develops plans that address long-term customer and stakeholder needs and concerns.

Valuing and Leveraging Diversity

  • Values diversity as exhibited in hiring choices, assignments made, teams formed, and interaction with others.
  • Shows respect for people regardless of race, gender, disability, lifestyle, or viewpoint.
  • Actively seeks out different viewpoints and leverages the benefits of different perspectives.
  • Seeks to understand the perspective of others when he or she disagrees with them and responds appropriately.
  • Leads and manages an inclusive workplace that maximizes the talents of each person to achieve sound organizational results.
  • Fosters an environment in which people who are culturally diverse can work together cooperatively and effectively in achieving organizational goals.
  • Recruits, develops and retains a diverse, high quality workforce.
  • Develops and uses measures and rewards to hold self and others accountable for promoting and achieving diversity in respect to women, ethnic groups, and others in hiring and utilizing and developing staff.


  • Communicates a clear, vivid and relevant description or picture of where the organization should be 3, 5 or 10 years out.
  • Expresses the vision in a way that resonates with others as demonstrated by their words and actions.
  • Builds a shared vision with others.
  • Influences others to translate vision to action.

Competencies Work Group Report

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