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.

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