The new Key Leadership Competencies

Preamble

Canada and the world are changing rapidly. Effective government requires dedicated and high-performing public service leaders who inspire others to do their best work for Canada and Canadians.

Leaders in the federal public service demonstrate a strong and enduring commitment to the public good. They are authentic in the advice they provide in the interest of Canadians. They nurture productive relationships, build cohesive teams and create the organizational conditions for others to succeed. They are committed to the development of the leaders of tomorrow. They value diversity, promote the bilingual character of the public service, and uphold the values and ethics of the public sector. Leaders act with purpose and drive, balance adaptability with conviction and inspiration with stewardship, to achieve management excellence.

The Key Leadership Competencies define the behaviours expected of leaders in Canada’s Public Service. These leaders play a pivotal role in creating and sustaining a modern, connected and high-performing public service that is ethical, professional and non-partisan.

This competency profile serves as the basis for selection, learning and development, performance and talent management of executives and other senior leaders.

Create Vision and Strategy

Leaders define the future and chart a path forward. They are adept at understanding and communicating context, factoring in the economic, social and political environment. Intellectually agile, they leverage their deep and broad knowledge, build on diverse ideas and perspectives and create consensus around compelling visions. Leaders balance organizational and government-wide priorities and improve outcomes for Canada and Canadians.

Examples of effective behaviours for:

Deputy Minister
  • Extracts the key issues from complex, ambiguous and rapidly changing environments
  • Considers the impact of the economic, social and political environment on departmental priorities
  • Engages others to develop a compelling and responsive vision
  • Defines and communicates the departmental vision and strategy with a thorough understanding of the internal and external environment
  • Sets forward-looking goals with a broad perspective and long-term timelines to improve outcomes for Canada and Canadians
Assistant Deputy Minister
  • Frames emerging issues and provides advice that reflects a thorough understanding of the environment
  • Engages others to develop clear, concise and viable strategies for implementation
  • Contributes expertise and insight to the development of the departmental vision and strategy
  • Establishes and communicates organizational priorities aligned with the department's vision and goals
  • Commits to the implementation of strategies that improve outcomes for Canada and Canadians
Director General
  • Interprets context and identifies implications of key issues in the environment
  • Engages others to secure commitment to implementation objectives
  • Contributes expertise and insight to the development of organizational priorities and strategy
  • Communicates vision and priorities with clarity and conviction
  • Establishes strategies that respond to organizational priorities that improve outcomes for Canada and Canadians
Director
  • Informs analysis with a thorough understanding of the environment
  • Engages others to translate implementation strategies into concrete objectives
  • Contributes expertise and insight to the development of organizational strategies
  • Communicates with clarity and conviction
  • Implements strategies that respond to organizational priorities that improve outcomes for Canada and Canadians
Examples of generic ineffective behaviours for all roles
  • Fails to consider resource constraints when developing strategies and plans
  • Allows day-to-day issues to obstruct critical long-term planning
  • Overlooks issues and information that may hinder the implementation of key aspects of the vision

Mobilize People

Leaders inspire and motivate the people they lead. They manage performance, provide constructive and respectful feedback to encourage and enable performance excellence. They lead by example, setting goals for themselves that are more demanding than those that they set for others.

Examples of effective behaviours for:

Deputy Minister
  • Creates a sense of common purpose and direction in the department
  • Builds accountability and value for people management within the executive community
  • Creates an environment where rigorous performance management is practiced
  • Invests time in managing and developing organizational leaders, individually and collectively
  • Generates opportunities to engage meaningfully with employees
  • Builds a commitment to excellence through open and constructive dialogue
  • Inspires others through personal dedication and actions
Assistant Deputy Minister
  • Creates a sense of common purpose and direction in the organization and among colleagues
  • Sets and communicates clear performance expectations and exercises rigorous oversight
  • Identifies, manages and supports collective and individual talent
  • Cultivates an environment committed to continuous learning and professional development
  • Creates a positive environment to encourage open and constructive dialogue
  • Sets challenging goals for self and models dedication and high performance
Director General
  • Creates  a sense of common purpose and direction in the organization and among colleagues
  • Sets clear expectations and conducts oversight of performance management practices
  • Commits to the development of organizational and individual talent
  • Gives honest feedback, recognizes performance and manages non-performance
  • Creates opportunities for open and constructive dialogue
  • Sets challenging goals for self and models dedication and high performance
Director
  • Creates a sense of common purpose and direction in the organization and among colleagues
  • Sets clear expectations, monitors and evaluates  performance
  • Invests time and resources to support continuous learning
  • Gives honest feedback, recognizes performance and manages non-performance
  • Engages employees to gather ideas and input to build cohesive teams
  • Sets challenging goals for self and models dedication and high performance
Examples of generic ineffective behaviours for all roles
  • Limits access to information beyond the requirements of discretion and policy
  • Is insensitive to, or unaware of, the diverse needs, aspirations and capabilities of team members
  • Fails to consider the input of others when inclusiveness and engagement are key to team performance and morale
  • Allows own stress to interfere with team efforts

Uphold Integrity and Respect

Leaders exemplify ethical practices, professionalism and personal integrity. They create respectful and trusting work environments where sound advice is valued. They encourage the expression of diverse opinions and perspectives, while fostering collegiality. Leaders are self-aware and seek out opportunities for personal growth.

Examples of effective behaviours for:

Deputy Minister
  • Values and provides authentic, evidence-based advice in the interest of Canadians
  • Holds self and the organization to the highest ethical and professional standards
  • Models and instills commitment to citizen-focused service and the public interest
  • Builds and promotes a bilingual, inclusive, healthy organization respectful of the diversity of people and their skills and free from harassment and discrimination
  • Exemplifies impartial and non-partisan decision-making
  • Engages in self-reflection and acts upon insights
Assistant Deputy Minister
  • Values and provides authentic, evidence-based advice in the interest of Canadians
  • Holds self and the organization to the highest ethical and professional standards
  • Models and builds a culture of commitment to citizen-focused service and the public interest
  • Builds and promotes a bilingual, inclusive, healthy organization respectful of the diversity of people and their skills and free from harassment and discrimination
  • Exemplifies impartial and non-partisan decision-making
  • Engages in self-reflection and acts upon insights
Director General
  • Values and provides authentic, evidence-based advice in the interest of Canadians
  • Holds self and the organization to the highest ethical and professional standards
  • Models commitment to citizen-focused service and the public interest
  • Creates opportunities that encourage bilingualism and diversity
  • Advances strategies to foster an inclusive, healthy organization, respectful of the diversity of people and their skills and free from harassment and discrimination
  • Exemplifies impartial and non-partisan decision-making
  • Engages in self-reflection and acts upon insights
Director
  • Values and provides authentic, evidence-based advice in the interest of Canadians
  • Holds self and the organization to the highest ethical and professional standards
  • Models commitment to citizen-focused service and the public interest
  • Creates opportunities that encourage bilingualism and diversity
  • Implements practices to advance an inclusive, healthy organization, respectful of the diversity of people and their skills and free from harassment and discrimination
  • Exemplifies impartial and non-partisan decision-making 
  • Engages in self-reflection and acts upon insights
Examples of generic ineffective behaviours for all roles
  • Places personal goals ahead of Government of Canada objectives
  • Shows favouritism or bias
  • Does not take action to address situations of wrongdoing
  • Mistreats others and takes advantage of the authority vested in the position

Collaborate with Partners and Stakeholders

Leaders are deliberate and resourceful about seeking the widest possible spectrum of perspectives. They demonstrate openness and flexibility to forge consensus and improve outcomes. They bring a whole-of-government perspective to their interactions. In negotiating solutions, they are open to alternatives and skillful at managing expectations. Leaders share recognition with their teams and partners.

Examples of effective behaviours for:

Deputy Minister
  • Builds and nurtures effective and collaborative relationships
  • Forms strategic alliances with partners and stakeholders to advance government priorities
  • Takes on accountability for horizontal initiatives
  • Collaborates with other Deputy Ministers as a community to strengthen public service performance
  • Advances whole-of-government objectives through influence and negotiation
  • Acknowledges the contribution of others in achieving objectives
Assistant Deputy Minister
  • Builds and nurtures effective and collaborative relationships
  • Seeks and forms strategic alliances with partners and stakeholders to continuously improve upon results
  • Engages colleagues to deliver on horizontal initiatives
  • Actively listens to understand the impact of issues and perspectives of others
  • Generates support from partners and stakeholders through influence and negotiation
  • Acknowledges the contribution of others in achieving objectives
Director General
  • Builds and nurtures effective and collaborative relationships
  • Seeks opportunities to advance strategic alliances with partners and stakeholders
  • Engages colleagues to contribute to horizontal initiatives
  • Actively listens to understand the impact of issues and perspectives of others
  • Identifies opportunities and develops strategies for collaboration
  • Acknowledges the contribution of others in achieving objectives
Director
  • Builds and nurtures effective and collaborative networks and relationships with communities of practice, colleagues and stakeholders
  • Engages others to support horizontal initiatives
  • Actively listens to understand the impact of issues and perspectives of others
  • Implements strategies that enhance collaboration
  • Acknowledges the contribution of others in achieving objectives
Examples of generic ineffective behaviours for all roles
  • Operates independently without reference to the wider system of knowledge and experience
  • Fails to explore the different concerns and perspectives of stakeholders or partners
  • Remains inflexible and stays committed to a single outcome

Promote Innovation and Guide Change

Leaders have the courage and resilience to challenge convention. They create an environment that supports bold thinking, experimentation and intelligent risk taking. They use setbacks as a valuable source of insight and learning. Leaders take change in their stride, aligning and adjusting milestones and targets to maintain forward momentum.

Examples of effective behaviours for:

Deputy Minister
  • Champions a culture that challenges the status quo and encourages responsible risk taking
  • Encourages experimentation and genuine evaluation of outcomes
  • Manages the scope and pace of change
  • Reconciles priorities to achieve broader objectives
  • Demonstrates resilience, composure and a positive outlook in an environment of uncertainty and ambiguity
Assistant Deputy Minister
  • Defines and communicates the parameters of acceptable risk
  • Creates a safe environment for creativity and learns from setbacks and mistakes
  • Advances and implements strategies that manage the scope and pace of change
  • Addresses barriers to new ideas and negotiates solutions to maximize potential for innovation
  • Demonstrates resilience, composure and a positive outlook in an environment of uncertainty and ambiguity
Director General
  • Develops and implements sound risk management strategies
  • Fosters an environment that is open to creativity and responsible risk-taking
  • Learns from setbacks and mistakes to ensure continuous improvement
  • Engages and supports employees in adapting to the scope and pace of change
  • Anticipates barriers to new ideas and identifies solutions to maximize potential for innovation
  • Demonstrates resilience, composure and a positive outlook in an environment of uncertainty and ambiguity
Director
  • Ensures that employees apply sound risk management practices
  • Identifies opportunities for and barriers to innovation and proposes creative approaches
  • Implements practices to learn from setbacks and mistakes
  • Adapts plans and strategies to respond to the scope and pace of change
  • Demonstrates resilience, composure and a positive outlook in an environment of uncertainty and ambiguity
Examples of generic ineffective behaviours for all roles
  • Leaves staff to work through changes on their own, or gives inadequate time to acknowledge concerns
  • Implements change in an unstructured way causing confusion about priorities and timelines
  • Resists change even when existing methods are inadequate

Achieve Results

Leaders mobilize and manage resources to deliver on the priorities of the Government, improve outcomes and add value. They consider context, risks and business intelligence to support high-quality and timely decisions. They anticipate, plan, monitor progress and adjust as needed. Leaders take personal responsibility for their actions and outcomes of their decisions.

Examples of effective behaviours for:

Deputy Minister
  • Sets direction and oversees the implementation of priorities
  • Builds an effective, sustainable organization through stewardship and governance
  • Informs decision-making with sound understanding of context, data and evidence
  • Makes challenging decisions and takes action at the opportune time
  • Takes ownership and acknowledges impact and outcome of decisions
Assistant Deputy Minister
  • Develops strategies to maximize the effectiveness of resources, improve outcomes and results
  • Ensures rigorous planning and implementation to deliver on priorities
  • Delegates responsibility and accountability to appropriate levels
  • Informs decision-making with sound understanding of context, data and evidence
  • Sets high expectations by exemplifying stewardship of financial and organizational resources
  • Makes challenging decisions and takes action at the opportune time
  • Takes ownership and acknowledges impact and outcome of decisions
Director General
  • Implements strategies to align people, work and systems to improve outcomes and maximize results
  • Ensures that the pace, scope and cost of initiatives are planned, monitored and controlled
  • Delegates responsibility and accountability to appropriate levels
  • Informs decision-making with sound understanding of context, data and evidence
  • Demonstrates and promotes stewardship of financial and organizational resources
  • Makes challenging decisions and takes action at the opportune time
  • Takes ownership and acknowledges impact and outcome of decisions
Director
  • Aligns people, work and systems to achieve program and policy efficiencies and results
  • Quantifies, monitors and controls resources and costs
  • Sets and revises goals and plans to reflect changing priorities or conditions
  • Delegates responsibility and accountability to appropriate levels
  • Informs decision-making with sound understanding of context, data and evidence
  • Demonstrates and promotes stewardship of financial and organizational resources
  • Makes challenging decisions and takes action at the opportune time
  • Takes ownership and acknowledges impact and outcome of decisions
Examples of generic ineffective behaviours for all roles
  • Provides direction that is either insufficient or overly prescriptive and controlling
  • Argues against or impedes decisions made by the organization
  • Attributes failures to individuals or previous administrations
  • Focuses on process at the expense of results
  • Abdicates decision-making responsibilities to other levels
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