Employee - Key Leadership Competencies

Leadership and employee development are integral to Public Service renewal and to promoting excellence across the Public Service.

"The development of public servants as leaders, managers and professionals and empowered employees is central to a high performance institution... Our performance in coming years will depend hugely on the skills, knowledge, seasoning and judgment of our employees, and on how well they grow as leaders and knowledge workers."

Clerk of the Privy Council Fifteenth Annual Report

The work of public servants is varied and increasingly complex and challenging. The Key Leadership Competencies help to ensure that public servants, regardless of profession, function or level, have the right competencies to carry out their day-to-day work and to learn and enrich their careers in the Public Service.

What are the benefits of Key Leadership Competencies?

Observable behaviours linked to the four Key Leadership Competencies will assist employees and managers to discuss how work objectives are achieved. Specific competencies and behaviours may then be identified for learning and development. Employees can identify and demonstrate excellence and leadership in their work and create learning and career plans to develop leadership skills. The Key Leadership Competencies support departments and agencies in improving the management of performance, talent and learning, and to promote leadership development.

Need more information?

The Key Leadership Competencies (KLC), including this new Employee level, is available on-line at: Key leadership competencies at http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/psm-fpfm/learning-apprentissage/pdps-ppfp/klc-ccl/index-eng.asp.

Further tools and information on promoting leadership excellence in Canada's federal public service can be found at: Tools and information at http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/chro-dprh/index-eng.asp.

Employee - Effective Behaviours

Values and ethics - Serving through integrity and respect

  • Demonstrates Values and Ethics, as described by the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service, through personal and professional behaviours
  • Discusses ethical concerns with supervisor or colleagues and, when necessary, uses appropriate procedures to consult or disclose wrongdoing
  • Reflects excellence in client service delivery in own activities
  • Actively contributes to workplace well-being and building a safe, healthy, respectful workplace
  • Supports and encourages diversity and bilingualism, including maintaining linguistic proficiency levels to better serve Canadians
  • Acts with transparency and fairness

Thinking things through - Innovating through Analysis and Ideas


  • Plans and adjusts work based on a thorough understanding of requirements and priorities and seeks clarification and direction, as appropriate
  • Considers relevant information from various sources to form a comprehensive perspective
  • Exercises sound judgment and obtains all relevant facts before making decisions
  • Analyzes setbacks and seeks feedback to learn from mistakes


  • Translates directions into concrete work activities
  • Brings improvements through innovative solutions, approaches, products or services
  • Communicates ideas, views, and concerns effectively and respectfully and actively participates in exchanges of ideas with others (i.e. at meetings or planning sessions)
  • Makes well-thought-out recommendations to management. Effectively transfers knowledge

Engagement - Working effectively with people, organizations, partners

  • Shares information broadly while observing relevant policies
  • Works collaboratively and relates effectively to others by practicing, valuing and embracing diversity of individuals, and fostering respect and equity in the workplace, regardless of differences in values, personalities, cultural or generational backgrounds
  • Encourages excellence and recognizes the contribution and success of others
  • Consults colleagues, partners, clients, users and stakeholders and acts on others' concerns
  • Elicits trust by modeling effective behaviours such as following through on commitments

Excellence through results - Delivering through own work, relationships and responsibilities

Initiative - Design and Execution

  • Stays up to date on team goals, processes, and performance standards
  • Is action-oriented, sets priorities and makes the most of time available
  • Manages own work activities in light of changing organizational and public service priorities
  • Manages own and respects others' work-life balance
  • Is open to different or new solutions or approaches, and maintains a positive and constructive attitude in the face of change, setbacks or stressful situations
  • Embraces change and identifies early warning signals (i.e. trends, potential problems) and alerts the supervisor and others, as needed
  • Actively looks for opportunities to learn and develop professionally and personally - is open and committed to continuous learning

Relationships - Colleagues, Clients, Users and Superiors

  • Listens actively to and respects, considers and incorporates the views of others
  • Deals proactively with interpersonal or personal matters that could affect own performance
  • Demonstrates an understanding of team member roles and responsibilities and balances own needs with those of the team or organization
  • Develops effective networks by seeking out opportunities for collaboration and strategic alliances
  • Assumes responsibility for agreements made in collaborative arrangements

Resources - Budgeting and Use of Assets

  • Uses government assets and resources appropriately and responsibly by understanding and applying related government policies
  • Pursues operational efficiencies and value for money
  • Fulfils legal obligations and policy requirements (such as on acquisition, use and protection of materiel and public property, the safeguard and management of information, cooperation on audits, evaluations or reviews)
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