Leadership Competencies: May

I believe in Leadership Development and I have dedicated my career to learning about leadership and helping others become great leaders. I developed a leadership competency model many moons ago and have found and kept a library of competencies accordingly. In March 2018, I decided to start sharing my library online. The same narrative is shared on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Each month, a blog post just like this one will be created housing all the random social media posts from that month. I hope you find it insightful and valuable as you work towards effective and successful leadership. 

May 2: Ambition

I love this word; it moves me – it rattles my cage.

Someone skilled in ambition knows what he/she wants from a career and actively works towards it. This type of person makes things happen for his/her own good, markets and promotes him/herself in healthy ways. Ambitious leaders don’t wait for others to offer opportunities to them and, instead, they grab them on their own.

Someone “overly ambitious” can appear excessive or look as if he/she is always looking over the fence and not focusing on the job at hand. He/she may not take advice comfortably and may not trust decisions that others make on his/her behalf. On the other hand, individuals with little to no ambition will often wait, and wait and wait for others to make decisions for them. They are hesitant to speak up on what they need and they typically fail to recognize what needs to get done to move forward.

I love this word because it serves as a gentle reminder to me. I often error on the side of passivity and comfort but my job and my career demand a bit more ambition. When I see the word, I can’t help but reflect on just how ambitious I am, or am not, and this moves me towards improvement.

May 4: Ethics and Values

This isn’t so much about the individual’s honesty and integrity as it is his/her commitment and demonstrated alignment with the organization’s values.

Someone with noted competence in ethics and values adheres to the organization’s guiding principles in both good and bad times. He/she not only behaves in alignment with the organization’s core values but rewards them and corrects behaviors that go against them.

Individuals who struggle with ethics and values don’t seem to know where the line is. They don’t appreciate that others are different from them. They are often seen as stubborn or insensitive and sometimes even use their own values as supreme, closing off their mind and heart to discussion or compromise.

On the other side of the spectrum, individuals who don’t have or can’t commit to the values of the organization are usually at odds in numerous places. The individual typically follows his/her own set of intrinsic rules, is often sporadic with decisions and “reasons” for them, acts in a self-serving way, etc.

Certainly there is a lot riding on this competency – how are you doing?

May 25: Integrity

Great leaders are widely trusted. They are seen as direct and consistently present the unvarnished truth in appropriate and helpful manners. They admit their mistakes and do not misrepresent themselves for personal gain.

Individuals who often take integrity and trust to the extreme have a tendency to be too direct or may push openness and honesty to a disruptive level. Individuals who fall short in this competency may not talk the walk/talk the talk, or may have loose lips and not keep confidences. These individuals often blame others or appear to be out for themselves.

Now, it goes without saying that this is SIGNIFICANT competency. The question then is this: how do others perceive you and what are you doing to contribute to that perception?

May 29: Self Knowledge

Skilled leaders are very self-aware – they know their pros and cons and moreover, they solicit feedback and are open to criticism.

Someone who practices self-knowledge a bit too much may appear to be self-critical or too open/willing to share. They may appear needy – always asking for or waiting for feedback before moving forward.

Individuals who don’t practice self-knowledge rarely know when they’re in over their heads or where their strengths truly lie. They often fail to admit or concede to shortcomings and may sometimes choose the blame game instead of taking accountability.

There is no doubt self-knowledge is a tricky one – and depending upon the way we were raised, or the way we progressed in our careers, we may really struggle with finding the right balance. Best of luck to you in finding yours!


  • About the Author

    Heather Kinzie serves as the Chief Operating Officer for The STRIVE Group. With more than 20 years of organizational and workforce performance experience, Kinzie offers consultation; facilitation and mediation; content development and training; and coaching to clients around the country. She oversees a team of experts who utilize a broad, systematic and collaborative approach to analysis, problem solving and consultation.

    Recognizing the critical importance of leadership, communication and effective engagement among teams, Kinzie has spent years learning, applying, evaluating and refining her theories on group dynamics, relationships, problem solving and motivation. Kinzie's clients appreciate her authenticity and creative, pragmatic insights and ideas to improve their leadership abilities, their teams and ultimately their organizations.

    Kinzie is a sought-after national keynote speaker, noted for bringing humor, genuineness and practical perspectives to her presentations. Her relevant and inspiring content resonates with audiences, engaging participants to step into new spaces.

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The STRIVE Group

The STRIVE Group