Behavioral Competencies

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A competency is an attribute, knowledge, skill, ability or other characteristic that contributes to successful job performance. Behavioral competencies are observable and measurable behaviors, knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics that contribute to individual success in an organization (e.g., teamwork and cooperation, communication).[1] Behavioral compentcies can apply to all (or most) jobs in an organization or be specific to a job family, position, or career level. Behavioral competencies describe what is required to be successful in an organization outside of a specific job. As such, behavioral competencies are specific to a person rather than to a job. Behavioral competencies describe how we do something, such as manage our jobs, our homes or our lives generally, and the behaviors we use, for example decision making, information gathering and wider thinking. Behavioral competencies clearly set out for staff and managers the behaviors that are required in each area of the organization in order to be successful. This helps people understand what is expected of them and gives them greater clarity about their team, and individual roles within it. Understanding the behavior that other areas of the organization see as essential to effective performance also helps us to improve how we work together. Behavioral competency is designed to be used by multiple Human Resource functions including performance management, workforce planning, succession planning, training and development, and recruitment. The competencies and their behavioral indicators [2] define what each employee needs to do to be successful and to contribute to the organization's vision, mission, goals, objectives and strategies. The word behavioral competency is widely used in business and personnel psychology and refers to the behaviors that are necessary to achieve the objective of an organization. Behavioral competency is also measurable and lists of competencies form a common language for describing how people perform in different situations. Every job or position can be described in terms of key behavioral competencies. This means that they can be used for all terms of assessment, including performance appraisals, training needs analysis and selection. Researchers measured the effect of organization advisors emotional, cognitive and other behavioral competencies on their clients’ portfolio performances.


Types of behavioral competencies can be classified as follows:

1. Individual competencies

  • Personal attributes: flexibility, decisiveness, tenacity, independence, risk taking, personal integrity.

2.Managerial Competencies

  • Taking charge of other people: leadership, empowerment, strategic planning, corporate sensitivity, project management and management control.

3.Analytical Competencies

  • The elements of decision making: innovation, analytical skills, numerical problem solving, practical learning, detail consciousness.

4.Interpersonal Competencies – Dealing with other people: communication, impact persuasiveness, personnel awareness, teamwork and openness.

5.Motivational Competencies – The things that drive a person: resilience, energy, motivation, achievement orientation, initiative, quality focus.

From the types of behaviroal competenices, five competency groups can be idetified, which consist of elements from each competency:[3]

1. Achieving and delivery - Drive for results, serving the customer, quality focus, and integrity.

2. Personal effectiveness - Planning, organising and flexibility, confidence and self-control, problem solving and initiative, and critical information seeking.

3. Working together - Communicating with clarity, embracing change, collaborating with others, and influencing and relationship building.

4. Thinking and innovation - Innovation, creativity, and conceptual and strategic thinking.

5. Managing, leading and developing others - Managing and leading a team.

Key Behavioural Competencies[edit]

People Focus[4] – Developing people, involving people, Managing relationships, Influencing others and Communication.

• Business Focus – Meeting Customer needs, Business awareness, Personal results, Business development and team results.

• Personal Focus – Self-control, personal organization, self-confidence, self-development, determination.

• Change Focus – Adaptability, Strategic approach and Innovation.

• Analytical Focus – Information gathering, Forward planning, Analysis and Judgement, Decision Making, Wider thinking.

• Quality Focus – Thoroughness, Quality conscious, Initiative and Integrity.


Human resource department of Dubai municipality has given the following Framework[5] of behavioral competency.

Leadership Competencies General Competencies Foundation Competencies
A set of leadership and managerial behaviors, knowledge and skill to achieve strategic objectives A set of generic behavioral skills required by professional roles to perform effectively A set of personal attributes required by support staff to perform effectively in own job
Creating and communicating strategic vision and direction Initiative Initiative
Champion change and innovation Client Orientation Client Orientation
People Management and development Communication Communication
Conflict Management and negotiation Teamwork Teamwork
Management Excellence Result orientation Result orientation
Team Leadership Flexibility and adaptability Flexibility and adaptability
Strategic Decision Making Analytical thinking Self-reliance
Organizational Understanding Self Development Reliability
Industry and global perspective Building relationships Safety awareness
Knowledge sharing Attention to detail
Planning and organizing Time and Priority Management
Problem Solving and decision making
Creativity and innovation


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