Revisiting 31 Core Competencies

By Rick Bell

Jan. 19, 2017

Fifteen years ago Workforce printed a story titled “31 Core Competencies Explained.”wf_0117_feature3

Written by Edward J. Cripe and Richard S. Mansfield, the story today is one of’s most popular stories, generating tens of thousands of sessions a month.

Why a story published in 2002 remains so popular as we enter 2017 is something of a mystery, though one answer could be the timeless nature of the story’s content.

It is also broken into three separate components: Competencies Dealing with People; Competencies Dealing with Business; and Self-Management Competencies.

While I’m not going to go through each item — the story is more than 3,100 words — I’ve included the first three competencies under each heading. I urge you to go to 31 Core Competencies to read the full story.

—Rick Bell

  1. Competencies Dealing with People

Establishing focus: The ability to develop and communicate goals in support of the business’ mission.

Providing motivational support: The ability to enhance others’ commitment to their work.

Fostering teamwork: As a team member, the ability and desire to work cooperatively with others on a team; as a team leader, the ability to demonstrate interest, skill and success in getting groups to learn to work together.

  1. Competencies Dealing with Business

Diagnostic information gathering: The ability to identify the information needed to clarify a situation, seek that information from appropriate sources and use skillful questioning to draw out the information, when others are reluctant to disclose it.

Analytical thinking: The ability to tackle a problem by using a logical, systematic, sequential approach.

Forward thinking: The ability to anticipate the implications and consequences of situations and take appropriate action to be prepared for possible contingencies.

  1. Self-Management Competencies

Self confidence: Faith in one’s own ideas and capability to be successful; willingness to take an independent position in the face of opposition.

Stress management: The ability to keep functioning effectively when under pressure and maintain self control in the face of hostility or provocation.

Personal credibility: Demonstrated concern that one be perceived as responsible, reliable and trustworthy.

Rick Bell is the editorial director for Workforce. Comment below or email

Rick Bell is Workforce’s editorial director. For comments or questions email

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