Developing as a leader is important business. You have to focus on the present and the future while taking care of people (including yourself) and systems. Doing that properly means continuously strengthening core competencies.

This is daunting and there’s no getting around it. However, there is a way to provide some structure. Whether you’re helping someone else develop as a leader, or developing as a leader yourself, getting a handle on the fact that there are simple areas of focus can bring clarity to the development process.

Below is the Leadership Scorecard. It organizes 20 core leadership competences into four categories. In doing so, it helps the developing leader see where she can focus. Is she spending enough time considering the future or is she too preoccupied with the now? Or is it the opposite? Is she doing a great job looking to the future, but only in terms of the organization as a whole and not when it comes to individual people?

You can make these scorecards yourself or get a stack of them here.

The Leadership Scorecard is a great way to contain an otherwise unwieldy (and ongoing) process. 360 assessments are useful tools, but they are often cumbersome and require significant time investment from the subject’s associates. So much time, in fact, that people are often reluctant to ask them for the favor of completing the assessment once much less multiple times. Moreover, results of 360 assessments are aggregated and—generally speaking—people are not that great at assessing other people’s leadership. That means the more evaluators you have the more misleading the data may be. It’s important to who gave them specific feedback so they can better understand the perspective and just how meaningful their evaluation is. This makes monitoring growth through a traditional 360 difficult.

The Leadership Scorecard is a new approach takes some of the sting out of the process and provides powerful information for the subject of the assessment. It’s simple, un-intimidating, and personalized. It can be used in a coaching or mentoring relationship, for an alternative 360 assessment approach, or in ad hoc situations.

To help evaluators understand the meaning of each competency, below are some questions they can ask about the subject. I recommend giving the evaluators this list with the scorecard. Here’s a printable PDF.

Present State Leadership Competencies

Working with Others

Communication & Listening: How well does the subject get his/her point across? Does he/she take the time to listen during conversations and understand the person he/she is speaking with? Does he/she remain calm during stressful conversations?

Delegating: Is the subject proactive giving clear direction and instruction? Does he/she share his/her workload, and provide learning opportunities to others, and develop their skills by letting them work through difficult assignment? Does he/she provide guidance when needed while at the same time allow others their independence and ownership of projects and assignments?

Mindfulness: Is the subject present in the moment, paying close attention to details and the people around them? Is he/she consciously aware of his/her surrounding, including how people are feeling and behaving? Does he/she stay focused on the situation at hand rather than getting distracted with other matters? Is he/she aware of his/her own strengths and weakness?

Integrity & Ethics: Is the subject honest and trustworthy? Can you depend on him/her to do the right and just thing? Does he/she have a strong sense of right and wrong? Does he/she treat all people with respect and decency? Do his/her actions reflect his/her values?

Team Management: Does the subject attract and retain high performers? Does he/she effectively coordinate tasks and assignments within any given group? Does he/she collaborate well with others?

Dealing with Organizations and Systems

Decision-making: Is the subject deliberate about the process of evaluation? Does he/she carefully think through all options and considerations before taking decisive action?

Self-control: Does the subject stay cool under pressure? How does he/she deal with stressful situations? Does he/she refrain from raising her voice in moments of anger? Is he/she emotionally stable?

Producing Results: Does the subject finish was he/she starts? Is he/she able to realize goals and see projects through to fruition? How well does he/she follow through with a plan and ensure that things get done?

Process & System Management: How well does the subject develop and understand workflow? Does he/she have the aptitude for identifying dysfunction and correcting it? When systems or processes fail, is he/she able to ensure that objectives are still achieved?

Managing Priorities: Is the subject able to balance competing demands? Does he/she carefully consider how to manage resources so they will have the greatest long-term impact? Does he/she keep the big picture in mind while determining which action to take next?


Future State Leadership Competencies

Working with Others

Developing Others: Does the subject encourage other people to develop themselves professionally? Does he/she acknowledge and promote other people’s strengths? Does he/she ensure that other people have capacity in their workload to take advantage of growth opportunities? Does he/she provide resources such as funding to help others take advantage of learning opportunities?

Self-development: Is the subject aware of where he/she has room to grow professionally? Does he/she understand the importance of continuous professional development? Does he/she make the time to learn and grow professionally?

Goal Setting: How well does the subject help others define clear, achievable objectives? Does he/she create goals that help people grow and improve performance? Does he/she appropriately assess people skills and abilities when setting goals? Does he/she set both short-term and long-term goals with a bigger picture in mind?

Political Savvy:  Is the subject good at creating and fostering relationships? Is he/she able to see the ramifications of his/her actions that could affect other people, systems, or organizations? Does he/she calculate all the variables in play before acting? Does he/she know the importance of networking, and understand how specific people could aid or stand in the way of the path to success? Does he/she capitalize on other people’s subject matter expertise and connections, while being sure to give credit where credit is due?

Influence & Persuasion: How well does the subject help others commit to his/her ideas or acquire allies in any given endeavor? Does he/she share his/her vision in such a way that others feel strongly about supporting that vision and contributing?


Dealing with Organizations and Systems

Strategic Planning: Does the subject develop detailed plans for how to the future of the organization? Does he/she work with others to determine the best way forward? Are his/her strategies for moving forward both challenging and realistic? Do other people understand the plans for the future and feel committed to those plans?

Continuous Improvement: Is the subject always looking for ways to improve quality? Does he/she understand the importance of positive change? Does he/she dedicate time and resources for exploring ways to improve services and processes? Is he/she knowledgeable about process improvement methods, tools, and techniques?

Visioning: Does the subject have a creative outlook for the future? Is he/she innovative and eager to explore new ideas? Does he/she create an environment where people can comfortably share bold ideas in a compelling and enlightening way?

Change Management: Does the subject effectively communicate the reason for change and keep stakeholders apprised of progress? Does he/she help stakeholders navigate obstacles to success. is he/she aware of the unique struggles that may affect different people? Does he/she keep the process of change organized and structured as much as possible?

Risk Management: Does the subject accept certain levels of failure as essential to learning and growth? Does he/she understand the strategies for transferring, accepting, mitigating, and eliminating risk?


You can get Leadership Scorecards here.

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