12 Key Leadership Competencies for Driving Change Effectively

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Leadership competencies are critical components of success in any business. Influential leaders possess a variety of key aptitudes that enable them to lead their teams toward achieving their goals. As a result, leadership competencies play a vital role in ensuring the organization achieves its objectives. 

Since change is inevitable in any business, leadership needs specific skills for effective change management. Managers with the necessary leadership skills can navigate the complexities of change, inspire their teams toward achieving their goals, and help their organizations thrive in the face of new challenges and opportunities. 

Developing these leadership competencies with training, administrators, and managers can help companies adapt and evolve in a rapidly changing world. This article will explore the top attributes of effective leadership in any industry. Additionally, we will look at how each competency contributes to successful change management.

12 Key Leadership Competencies for Driving Change Effectively

1.    Impactful Communication

Communication clearly and effectively conveys ideas, thoughts, and information to others. Effective communication helps leaders create a clear and compelling vision for goals, strategy, and change. 

Leaders build trust and credibility with their team members by being transparent and honest. This helps team members feel more comfortable sharing their concerns and ideas. 

Change can be disruptive and can lead to confusion and uncertainty. Therefore, leaders must communicate change effectively to ensure that team members understand the rationale for the change, its impact, and what they need to do to support it.

By communicating the reasons for the change, leaders can help team members understand why it is necessary and what they can expect. In addition, a clear vision can help align team members toward a common goal and encourage them to work together toward achieving it.

Communication also helps leaders manage the emotional aspects of change. By being empathetic and understanding, leaders can help alleviate some of the anxiety, stress, and uncertainty associated with change.

Try this Hone Class: Communicate Powerfully Around Change

Maximizing Communication Effectiveness When Running Team Meetings

As a forum for discussion and collaboration, team meetings help build trust and rapport between employees and managers. Team members can ask questions and share their concerns, which helps ensure everyone is on the same page. It also helps employees feel supported and valued. 

Additionally, leaders can keep team members aligned and working towards the same objectives by communicating the vision for the change and progress updates. Team meetings provide an opportunity for them to:

  • Communicate the vision for the change
  • Discuss progress
  • Identify areas where support is needed
  • Keep team members informed and engaged


By discussing progress updates and identifying areas where support is needed, leaders can intervene and provide the necessary resources to help team members succeed during change initiatives.

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The Power of Communication When Running Effective 1:1s

One-on-one meetings allow leaders to connect with their team members individually, discuss progress, and pinpoint areas where they can provide support. In addition, effective sessions help build trust and rapport between team members and leaders. 

During one-on-one meetings, leaders:

  • Clarify expectations and goals. 
  • Provide feedback on performance. 
  • Address concerns, workloads, and career development opportunities. 
  • Ensure direct reports feel appreciated and encouraged.


During change management, one-on-one meetings can be more effective than team meetings. One-on-one discussions provide a more personalized approach to managing change, allowing managers to tailor their communication and support to individual employees based on their unique needs and concerns.

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2.    Coaching & Mentoring

Coaching can help individuals understand their strengths and weaknesses and develop the skills necessary to achieve their goals. By providing guidance, leaders can help their team members stay motivated and engaged, even in the face of adversity.

Mentoring helps leaders foster a culture of trust and collaboration. Leaders can create an environment where individuals feel comfortable sharing their concerns and ideas. This helps ensure that all team members are working towards the same objectives.

Change can be stressful and overwhelming for individuals. Leaders must help their team members manage their emotions to prevent burnout and ensure everyone is productive and engaged. Coaching provides leaders with the tools they need to manage the emotional aspects of change.

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3.    Giving Feedback

Employees need effective feedback to understand their progress toward their goals and where to improve. When managers and supervisors give feedback in a timely and productive manner, individuals can identify their capabilities and limitations, which can lead to them developing the necessary skills to achieve their goals.

Feedback helps leaders nurture a culture of continuous improvement. Leaders can encourage team members to: 

  • Take ownership of their development. 
  • Stay motivated and engaged. 
  • Maintain their commitment to achieving the organization’s objectives.


Leaders must provide regular feedback throughout the process to circumnavigate a change initiative and help their teams stay on track. In addition, it can help address concerns or resistance to the change. 

Likewise, managers and supervisors should be open to receiving advice and opinions from direct reports. Soliciting feedback from others can help leaders identify blind spots, understand how their actions are perceived by others, and make necessary adjustments to their approach.

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How to Give Feedback that Lands

A Time to Provide Feedback: Performance Evaluations

Leaders can give ongoing feedback anytime, such as during informal check-ins and after completing a project. But annual or periodic performance evaluations are formal opportunities that address an employee’s performance over a set period. 

Managers and supervisors evaluate their team members’ progress to ensure they remain on track toward achieving their goals. It is an allotted meeting to identify and review the following: 

  • Where employees excel and where they struggle.
  • Potential issues before they become significant problems.
  • Completion of tasks and upcoming projects. 


Performance evaluations allow management to use their leadership competencies to intervene and provide the necessary support to get the team member back on track. Likewise, they can manage their workload effectively and focus on higher-level tasks by delegating tasks to team members with the necessary skills and expertise.

During times of change, it is essential to evaluate employees’ performance and provide feedback to help them adjust to new roles and responsibilities. In addition, leaders can help team members develop the necessary skills to succeed during the change process. This helps ensure that team members are prepared for future barriers and prospects.

Try this Hone class: Run Effective Performance Review Meetings

4.    Relationship Building

Relationship building is one of the core leadership competencies, as it allows them to establish credibility, trust, and rapport with their team members and stakeholders. Leaders must build strong relationships to ensure that others remain motivated and engaged, especially throughout the change process. 

Relationship building helps managers and supervisors understand their direct reports’ unique needs and challenges. By getting to know them personally, leaders can identify areas where individuals may struggle and provide the necessary support and resources to help them succeed. It also creates a culture of collaboration where individuals feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

Similarly, leaders are more likely to influence and persuade stakeholders to support the change initiative when they have a solid professional relationship. This can help ensure that everyone affected accepts and embraces the change.

Building Stronger Teams

Leaders skilled at team building develop a strong and cohesive workforce in an environment of collaboration. They create opportunities for team members to work together to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Additionally, leaders can use team meetings to build momentum and excitement.

Team building is significant for change management, as team members may feel anxious, uncertain, or even resistant to implemented changes. With practical team-building skills, leaders can help tackle these challenges and foster a culture of trust and open communication. Direct reports feel more comfortable with changes when they can address their concerns and ask questions.

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5.    Motivational and Inspiring

Being motivational is one of the critical leadership competencies, as it allows leaders to inspire and empower their direct reports to achieve their full potential, fostering a culture of engagement and high performance. Additionally, motivational and inspiring leaders can significantly impact their team’s job satisfaction and retention rates. They can make their team members feel more energized, focused, and committed to achieving their goals.

Motivational managers help their teams develop a sense of purpose and meaning in their work, which can increase their engagement. Leaders can inspire their team members to perform at their best and achieve great results by:

  • Setting clear goals and expectations. 
  • Providing regular feedback and recognition. 
  • Creating a supportive and positive work environment.


Organizations must encourage employees to stay committed and engaged throughout the change process. Inspiring leaders help team members understand the significance of their work and the impact they can make by providing a clear vision for the change and communicating its importance. Likewise, they can help individuals overcome obstacles and stay motivated through emotional support and encouragement.

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6.    Cultural Awareness & Fostering Inclusion in the Workplace

Change can be difficult for individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Therefore, leaders must ensure that all team members feel valued, respected, and included to ensure the organization achieves its goals. Leaders can understand their team members’ unique needs and challenges by valuing diversity and inclusivity.

Effective inclusion helps leaders create a culture of respect and belonging and an environment where all team members feel comfortable sharing their concerns. In addition, by acknowledging and valuing diverse perspectives, leaders can identify areas where individuals may struggle and provide the necessary support and resources to help them succeed.

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7.    Career Development & Continuous Learning

Career development and continuous learning are leadership competencies because they are crucial for the organization’s success and its employees’ growth. Leaders who prioritize career development and continuous learning can help their employees:

  • Improve their skills and knowledge needed for both their current and future roles. 
  • Increase their job satisfaction, engagement, and motivation. 
  • Achieve their career aspirations.


Employees are more likely to stay with organizations long-term when they feel their employer invests in their career development. As a result, organizations end up with better-trained and more experienced workers and lower turnover rates and costs. 

Continuous learning is also essential for effective leadership, as it allows leaders to stay up-to-date on industry trends, technologies, and best practices. In addition, leaders who prioritize continuous learning can bring new ideas and perspectives to their teams and help their organizations stay ahead of the competition.

Change can allow team members to develop new skills, take on new responsibilities, and advance their careers. Leaders can create a culture of innovation and adaptability by providing opportunities for team members to develop new skills and take on new responsibilities. This helps ensure the organization is prepared to tackle future problems and prospects.

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8.    Prioritization

Individuals with practical prioritization skills identify and focus on the top responsibilities. By understanding the impact of each task on the organization’s objectives, leaders can order their efforts to ensure that they complete the most critical tasks first.

Prioritization also helps with time and resource management. Concentrating on key objectives and delegating lower-priority tasks to team members allows managers to work efficiently, avoid burnout, and allocate resources more effectively. 

Finally, prioritization can help leaders manage risk during times of change. Prioritizing tasks that address the most critical risks and challenges safeguards the change initiative and that the organization is well-prepared to handle any unexpected challenges that may arise. 

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9.    Delegation 

Delegation is the ability to prioritize tasks and responsibilities and then assign them to team members who have the necessary skills and expertise. Leaders delegate workloads and responsibilities to ensure they are completed efficiently and effectively and that the organization achieves its goals.

By delegating tasks to direct reports, leaders:

  • Demonstrate their trust and confidence in their team members’ abilities and build a culture of collaboration.
  • Manage their workload to focus on higher-level tasks, strategic planning, and decision-making. 
  • Create capacity within the organization, allowing team members to develop new skills and knowledge and take on more responsibility over time.


During times of change, delegation becomes even more important when there may be increased demands on a leader’s time and resources. Delegation allows leaders to focus on strategic priorities and key initiatives while assigning their team members more routine tasks and responsibilities.

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10. Decision Making

Decision-making is the ability to make informed and timely choices. Leaders who are influential decision-makers can analyze complex information, weigh the pros and cons of different options, and make choices that align with the organization’s goals and priorities. These strategic choices have a significant impact on the success of the business.

Effective decision-making is also essential for building trust and confidence among team members and stakeholders. When leaders make thoughtful and informed evaluations, they demonstrate their expertise and commitment to the organization’s success.

Managing risk and uncertainty is especially important during times of change or crisis. Leaders who are skilled decision-makers can: 

  • First, identify potential risks and challenges. 
  • Next, assess the likelihood and impact of different outcomes.
  • Then, make choices that minimize risk and maximize opportunities.


Further, leaders can build a culture of accountability and ownership by involving team members in the decision-making process. This encourages commitment to the chosen course of action and teams to feel accountable for its success.

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11. Strategy & Vision 

Strategy and vision are essential leadership competencies because they permit leaders to set a clear direction for the organization and align resources and efforts toward achieving goals. In addition, businesses need effective strategies to be strong and resilient.

Managers with strategic skills:

  • Analyze complex information, including the business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 
  • Anticipate changes in the business environment.
  • Manage potential challenges and capitalize on opportunities as they arise. 
  • Make choices that align with the organization’s values, vision, and mission.
  • Increase alignment and collaboration so everyone works towards the same objectives and priorities.


Change can involve significant shifts in direction and requires leaders to develop and implement a clear strategy to achieve their objectives. Strategic individuals communicate the vision for change and build buy-in from team members and other stakeholders. Leaders can generate enthusiasm and support for the change process by sharing the strategic plan and its importance.

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12. Adaptability, Creativity, & Innovation 

Adaptability, creativity, and innovation are critical leadership competencies that allow managers to navigate complex and rapidly changing business environments, identify new opportunities, and develop innovative solutions to address challenges.

Leaders need to remain flexible and responsive during uncertainty and ambiguity. Adaptable leaders can quickly adjust their plans and strategies as new information becomes available.

Creativity allows leaders to think outside the box and identify new solutions to complex problems. Leaders who identify opportunities for innovation and growth develop new approaches to help the organization stay ahead of the curve.

Innovative leaders develop new products, services, and processes to help the organization adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing business environment. Leaders skilled at innovation can identify emerging trends and technologies and develop solutions that can help the organization maintain a competitive edge.

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It’s Imperative to Develop Leadership Competencies

In conclusion, leadership competencies are crucial for effective leadership, and investing in developing these competencies is essential for personal and organizational leadership growth. Recognizing the importance of these skills, many organizations offer leadership training programs to help individuals develop and refine their competencies. By taking advantage of these training opportunities, individuals can learn valuable skills such as emotional intelligence, communication, and problem-solving, which are critical to effective leadership. Developing leadership competencies takes time and effort, but it is an investment that can pay dividends in personal growth and professional success. With the right training and support, anyone can develop the leadership competencies necessary to become a more effective and influential leader and positively impact their organization and beyond.