What are Competencies?

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Creating a good first impression, commanding attention and respect, showing an air of confidence.

Key Actions

  • Dresses appropriately—Maintains professional, businesslike image.

  • Displays professional demeanor—Exhibits a calm appearance; does not appear nervous or overly anxious; responds openly and warmly when appropriate.

  • Speaks confidently—Speaks with a self-assured tone of voice.

Sample Job Activities

      • Make a professional first impression on internal/external customers.

      • Represent the department or organization in initial dealings with internal/external customers or other organizations.

      • Meet with people from the community, government, or other organizations for business purposes.

      • Host visitors and make a good impression.

      • Interact with external customers or representatives of other organizations.

      • Make initial contact with customers or others in which creating a positive impression on others is important.

      • Attend business social functions in which creating a positive impression on others is important.

      • Greet visitors from outside the department or organization.

Information Monitoring

Setting up ongoing procedures to collect and review information needed to manage an organization or ongoing activities within it.

Key Actions

  • Identifies monitoring needs—Determines which systems, processes, or areas need to be monitored; identifies what information needs to be obtained.

  • Develops monitoring systems—Establishes systems to monitor activities or outputs that are easy to use and that provide timely and pertinent information.

  • Implements tracking systems—Effectively puts in place monitoring systems with minimal interruption for other organizational processes.

  • Reviews data—Collects and reviews data on a regular basis to determine progress, anticipate needs, and make necessary adjustments to employees
    or processes.

Sample Job Activities

      • Establish systems to monitor performance in one’s area of responsibility.

      • Meet informally with peers, team members, or others to check on progress, problems, etc.

      • Convene meetings to review progress or share information.

      • Monitor equipment, instruments, or products to make sure the process or production is correct.

      • Review reports to keep track of work progress.

      • Maintain records of meetings, discussions, or phone calls.

      • Monitor phone mail and/or electronic mail system for updates and messages.

      • Review organization reports or documents to stay informed of new developments or strategies.

      • Monitor regulations that affect the industry (e.g., legislative or environmental).

      • Monitor the progress of team or group projects, goals, assignments, etc.

      • Set up systems to examine work outputs to ensure processes are functioning properly.


Information Monitoring should not be confused with Follow-Up, which focuses on specific individuals, assignments, or projects—not the establishment of systems to monitor ongoing activities or processes within an organization.

Initiating Action (Initiative)

Taking prompt action to accomplish objectives; taking action to achieve goals beyond what is required; being proactive.

Key Actions

  • Responds quickly—Takes immediate action when confronted with a problem or when made aware of a situation.

  • Takes independent action—Implements new ideas or potential solutions without prompting; does not wait for others to take action or to request action.

  • Goes above and beyond—Takes action that goes beyond job requirements in order to achieve objectives.

Sample Job Activities

      • Perform tasks outside one’s area of responsibility to help the department or organization.

      • Volunteer for committees or task force assignments that are beyond the normal limits of the job.

      • Identify ways to make a job easier or more productive.

      • Take action on a project without being asked by one’s manager/supervisor/team leader.

      • Collect extra information that might be useful for reports or meetings.

      • Try a new way to do the job because it might be more productive.

      • Question the way administrative processes are done and suggest changes.

      • Question methods for ensuring quality and make suggestions to improve processes.

      • Volunteer to help peers when own workload is small.

      • Initiate new methods for keeping customers informed.

      • Volunteer to serve on employee level committees.

      • Suggest ways to solve problems, improve workflow, etc., without being asked.


Initiating Action can be separated from most other competencies by keeping in mind that it focuses on the propensity to act, not on the quality of the action. An individual can take independent action and go beyond expectations while demonstrating numerous other competencies (e.g., Decision Making, Customer Focus, or Innovation). The fact that he or she takes independent action and goes above and beyond is the Initiating Action competency. The content of the Initiating Action shown (e.g., the quality of the decision made, the value of the steps taken to meet customer needs, or the originality and usefulness of the ideas) relates to the other competencies.

Compare to:

  • Energy. This competency focuses on maintaining effectiveness while sustaining long work hours or performing mentally or physically taxing work.

  • Tenacity. This competency focuses on the frequency of attempts to meet an objective. A person who makes repeated attempts to overcome obstacles is demonstrating effective Tenacity.

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