A Preliminary Study Report Prepared by: Milan Pagon, Emanuel Banutai, Uroš Bizjak University of Maribor, Slovenia
1.1 Competencies in General
A competence in general can be understood as the ability of an individual to activate, use and connect the acquired knowledge in the complex, diverse and unpredictable situations (Perrenoud, 1997, in Svetlik, 2005). Gruban (2003) defines competencies as the ability to use knowledge and other capabilities, necessary for successful and efficient accomplishment of an appointed task, transaction of work, goal realization, or performance of a certain role in the business process. Competencies encompass knowledge, expertise, skills, personal and behavioral characteristics, beliefs, motives, values, etc. They are behavioral records of the roles, which people perform in the work processes. To avoid terminological confusion, Ellström (1997; cited in Virtanen, 2000) distinguishes a competence from a qualification. He considers competence as an attribute of an employee referring to “a kind of human capital or a human resource that can be transformed into productivity” while qualification is understood as “requirements of a certain class of work tasks (a job)”.
1.2 Leadership Competencies
Changes in organizations are more and more common. They appear at faster pace and employees are expected to be even more adaptable. Leaders play an important role in setting an example for all those values, behaviors and considerations expected from employees. Leaders have to achieve
that changes in an organization are accepted and implemented in a way resulting not only in better job performance but also in general understanding and satisfaction of all. Therefore, it is reasonable to set the expectations of key employees – what they should achieve and how they should behave in order to implement successful changes. In other words, which are the important leadership competencies for successful change management?
It is necessary to distinguish between leadership competencies in profit organizations and public (as well as not-for-profit) organizations. Nature of activity, context, orientation of work and the budget, to name only a few areas, cause certain distinctions in leadership competencies between these two groups. There is a lack of studies comparing leadership factors and skills relevant to profit, public, and not-for-profit organizations.
According to Bennis (1987; cited in Thach et al., 2007), there are a few leadership competencies that have been proven time and again as mandatory for effective leadership. These include the competency clusters of vision and goal-setting, interpersonal skills, self-knowledge and technical competence regarding the specifics of the business in which the leader works. In addition, commonly referenced competencies include: integrity/honesty, communication, technical competence, diversity consciousness, developing others, results-orientation, change management, interpersonal skills, problem-solving, decision making, political savvy, strategic/visionary thinking, customer focus, business skills, team leadership, influence skills, conflict management, more recently emotional intelligence, social and environmental responsibility, depending on the culture of the organization even humor and innovation (Trinka, 2004; cited in Thach et al., 2007; Spencer and Spencer, 1993; Employer’s Organization, 2004; Guggenheimer and Szule, 1998; Breckenridge Consulting Group, 2004; OPM, 1992; Laszlo, 2003; Goleman, McKee and Boyatzis, 2002; Thompson, 1985). There appear to be minor differences in the not-for-profit and profit leadership competency models. Not-for-profit organizations tend to center around new competencies such as governance effectiveness, boardroom contribution, and service to community (Chait, Ryan and Taylor, 2004; cited in Thach et al., 2007). On the other hand, profit organizations...