Leadership* is engaging members of a group and providing guidance and support, while being accountable for the group’s achievement of organizational goals and objectives.

*Leadership can be demonstrated in situations where one is in a supervisory or non-supervisory role. In any situation, Leadership involves leading a group of two or more people and being accountable for the group’s results. In other words, the leader of a project, a committee or a working group in a temporary situation that arises can demonstrate Leadership; it is not exclusively tied to a traditional team leader or manager role. The reporting structure may not be officially established in such temporary circumstances; however, the group is working together and this person is recognized as the leader of the group for that specific task.

Core motivation: To motivate and empower the group

It's about:

  • how you guided and supported the group of people;
  • how you advanced the organizational goals and objectives through the work of others; and
  • how you showed your responsibility and accountability for the work produced by the group.

By engaging the members of a group (for example, finding ways to get them interested, involved or committed), you ensure they work towards the achievement of the organization’s goals and objectives.

Your responsibility, accountability and authority could be on a formal or informal basis. It generally occurs when the others in the group turn to you for guidance and direction, and recognize you as the leader. They see you establishing roles and responsibilities within the group, assigning tasks and directing the people in the group, monitoring group members’ performance and providing them with constructive feedback. Leadership refers to how you made sure that the group’s tasks were completed in a timely and appropriate manner, and how you were answerable to higher management for the results achieved by the group you were leading.

Although advancing organizational goals and objectives is an element of this competency definition, it is important to note that this competency focuses on the behaviours required to effectively manage and support group members (i.e. it is about the management of people). It generally does not take into consideration the skills required to manage a program or operations.

While some behaviours can be similar to higher levels of Teamwork and Cooperation, this competency is demonstrated by those in a leadership role who are accountable for group results, as opposed to being an equal or peer working together toward a common work-related goal.

Leadership - What it means and does not mean
Leadership means... Leadership does not mean...
  • Making tough decisions which support the group and the organization, and which are in line with organizational ethics
  • Keeping group members informed about decisions and explaining the rationale for those decisions
  • Managing group operations and decisions through the input and efforts of group members
  • Responding to the needs of the group in an evolving organization
  • Building group morale and encouraging group members to support the group goals and each other
  • Instilling a sense of purpose and pride in group members by actively promoting the links between group activities and the strategic direction of the organization
  • Treating all group members fairly
  • Setting direction and providing role clarity
  • Making sure the group has appropriate training and resources to do their jobs
  • Interacting effectively with group members to encourage their commitment to group goals
  • Balancing the needs of group members and the organization
  • Failing to deal with sensitive or difficult issues that impact the group’s operations
  • Dictating orders and giving incomplete information
  • Believing that if you want it done right, you need to do it yourself and that you are always the one who knows the best course of action
  • Placing a low importance on group work and ignoring issues which may affect morale
  • Focusing on group activities without consideration of how these relate to broader organizational objectives
  • Showing favouritism to some group members or not dealing with performance problems or group issues
  • Assuming that group members can work it out themselves
  • Not considering individual and group development or resource needs
  • Thinking that the group will work towards group goals without encouragement from you
  • Placing too much emphasis on individual or organizational needs to the detriment of the other

Purpose of this competency for CRA

Leadership positively influences the members of a group to ensure their efforts and contributions are focused on meeting CRA’s goals and objectives.

Progression of scale - Degree of involvement in supporting the group and the needs being addressed

The Progression of the scale works together with the underlying notions, so it is important to consider this information as it indicates how the behaviours progress as you move from level 1 to level 4. The behaviours generally build on each other.

Leadership - Progression of scale
  Lower Levels Higher Levels

Needs being addressed

The needs of the group members to perform their work range from basic to more complex.

Basic needs of group members include essential elements such as tools, information, and a safe work environment so the group members can perform their daily work.

Complex needs of group members include more diverse elements such as work-life balance, various sources of motivation, career aspirations so the group members can perform at their best.

Degree of Involvement

Refers to the commitment and effort you demonstrate towards the members of the group to support them in their work achievement.

Limited degrees of involvement and effort are required to address these basic needs which generally are common to all group members and may be easy to address.

Significant degrees of involvement and effort are required to address complex needs of the group, motivate group members, and capitalize on their diversity and talents.

Leadership level 1
Underlying Notion Behaviours could include, but are not limited to:

Meeting basic needs of the group

  • Informs group members of goals, objectives, and priorities.
  • Clearly establishes and communicates expectations.
  • Ensures that group members have the necessary information and resources to carry out their duties.
  • Informs the group about decisions, changes or new directions that will affect them.
  • Ensures group members understand how to complete tasks required to do their job.

In other words, to meet the basic needs of the group you may:

  • communicate individual and group goals and expectations;
  • provide the basic training so individuals can carry out and understand their daily tasks;
  • ensure the group is informed of any changes in priorities;
  • recognize the diversity of employees from a cultural, social, and demographic perspective and encourage inclusiveness in group activities;
  • respect and protect privacy and personal information;
  • provide information or basic resources useful to the group;
  • ensure a healthy and safe environment.

This level implies a low degree of involvement and effort in supporting the group members and addressing their basic common needs. This means making sure that the group has the necessary basic information, tools, and resources to do their job, and understands what they are expected to do.


The project leader held a meeting with his team. He informed them that the goal of the project was to reconcile the account credit balances. He provided them with the schedule and explained the procedures they would follow. The project leader answered questions from the group about how the workflow would be set up. He then led the project team to the completion of the project.

Leadership level 2
Underlying Notion Behaviours could include, but are not limited to:

Obtaining group members’ input and using leadership role fairly

  • Treats all group members in a fair and equitable manner.
  • Elicits and considers group members’ input and values their expertise.
  • Considers group members’ interests when establishing roles and responsibilities.
  • Involves group members in decision-making processes as appropriate.
  • Strives to achieve consensus and build commitment to group goals.
  • Supports group members in an evolving work environment through instruction, feedback and encouragement.

This level contains both elements:

  • encouraging input from group members and offering them, when possible, an opportunity to voice their opinion in matters that affect their work; and
  • treating group members in a just and fair manner, without favoritism.

At this level, efforts are made to gain commitment and involvement from the group members through the encouragement of inclusive and active participation by all, and by showing consideration, respect and appreciation for group members. It requires greater involvement and effort from you to support these group or individual needs, while being fair to all members of the group.


A leader of a new unit had a meeting with her group members to inform them of a new work disposal plan which included very tight deadlines. She asked the group whether they thought the plan was feasible and sought their ideas on how it could be implemented. The leader listened carefully to the group members’ input and considered some valuable points when making her decisions.

She made sure that all group members completed the required training and then fairly distributed the workload amongst the members. The group was able to complete their mandate in accordance with the plan.

Leadership level 3
Underlying Notion Behaviours could include, but are not limited to:

Enhancing the group’s effectiveness

  • Addresses the more complex needs of the group to enable the group to perform at its best and achieve objectives.
  • Fosters cooperation, teamwork and trust amongst group members.
  • Recognizes and capitalizes on group members’ strengths and diversity.
  • Develops a talented group by recognizing members’ potential for growth, and provides opportunities for continued learning.
  • Enables the group to function effectively in an evolving work environment by removing obstacles.

In other words, to meet the more complex needs of the group you may:

  • through compassion and inclusiveness, strive to understand the more complex needs of the group members;
  • make sure that the group has the appropriate human and financial resources;
  • satisfy intrinsic and well-being needs (such as work-life balance, wellness, motivation, autonomy) to maintain or increase the group members’ motivation at work, and to advance the organizational goals and objectives;
  • recognize the group members’ individual strengths and diversity, and make effective use of those strengths to meet the organization’s goals and objectives;
  • assist the group members with career development, opportunities for growth and ongoing learning;
  • support group members and remove obstacles in a constantly changing work environment;
  • model, promote and support positive practices and behaviours to maintain a healthy and safe work environment;
  • show a sustained leadership commitment to foster trust and create open dialogue with the group.

At this level, your efforts are centered on satisfying the more complex needs of the group members to enable them to perform at their best. This requires a significant degree of involvement from you in motivating the group members and addressing their complex needs.


A new team leader met with her manager to understand the organizational goals and priorities, opportunities for advancement, challenges, and budget allocations. Afterwards, she met with each team member individually to know their perspective about their work. She also asked about their career aspirations and took note of opportunities where they could be developed further.

At her first group meeting, she proposed a plan for the fiscal year’s deliverables and priorities. She asked for their input through an exercise where they looked together at the activities needed to achieve their goals. As they developed the work plan, she realized the need to hire extra staff to ensure the group had all the required resources during peak periods of the year. Throughout the year, she guided the efforts of the group to advance the goals. She met with the group on a weekly basis to provide her support and guidance to help them deal with challenging situations. She built trust and open communication among group members, and showed consideration of their individual strengths and ongoing development . The group members appreciated their team leader’s support and constructive feedback which resulted in a highly motivated and productive work group. At the end of the fiscal year, the group successfully met its mandate on time.

Leadership level 4
Underlying Notion Behaviours could include, but are not limited to:

Inspiring and steering the group towards organizational excellence

  • Provides the group with strategic direction and purpose as the organization evolves.
  • Develops and uses effective strategies and approaches to influence and guide group members.
  • Fosters a sense of group unity and shared purpose.
  • Instills in others a passion for their work.
  • Establishes standards of excellence and keeps people focused to maximize the group’s effectiveness.
  • Provides opportunities for growth to prepare employees for future challenges.

In other words, you may:

  • identify a clear path for the group as it moves forward in an organization that continues to change and evolve;
  • create an energized and committed group that strives to do their very best;
  • develop your group members’ skills and behaviours to get them ready to face future challenges;
  • inspire in the group members a passion and willingness to keep the organization agile and to maintain its reputation of effectiveness and excellence;
  • create a culture that fosters well-being and promotes humanity, compassion, fairness and wellness of group members in the workplace through collaboration, inclusivity and respect.

At this level, you put effort into supporting and addressing the group’s highly complex needs in order to bring the group to its maximum effectiveness. This requires a very high degree of involvement from you to strategically guide the group members and to inspire them for the future challenges.


Patrice was appointed as the leader of a new compliance specialist group. When the positions were staffed, a number of employees who had been declared surplus in other areas were referred and hired. As a result, the new group included employees with very diverse backgrounds. Patrice met with each of them individually to discuss their experience, work interests and career plans. He found that a number of them were unhappy, anxious about their future, and critical of CRA management. Patrice set out a plan how he could change their negativity to a more positive attitude and bring them together as a cohesive and high functioning team.

Patrice met with his group and explained how they would be part of the Agency’s new approach to compliance. He said that because of the group’s small size and specialty backgrounds, they would have the necessary autonomy and mobility to be deployed to various critical areas to meet CRA’s mandate. He gave them a long-term picture of how the group could grow and evolve together with the organization, and how each member could contribute to that unique opportunity. Patrice also allowed one of his members who had great interpersonal abilities to set up a network with other compliance specialists across the country to achieve their regional strategic objectives and build on innovative ideas that could be used nationally.

Patrice ensured that each employee obtained the training to do their work effectively. He created individual long-term career development plans to prepare them for future challenges. He organized sub-groups for each specialty area and assigned projects based on the employees’ strengths and potential for growth. He involved the group members in the planning stages for the new workload and showed that he valued their expertise. At mid-year, he met with his group to ensure they were still in line with the direction. The group was quite pleased with their results. Patrice saw further opportunities for improving their performance using some of the members’ innovative ideas. Through ongoing feedback and support to resolve difficult issues in their work, he was able to establish trust and to help certain employees to overcome their negativity. As a result of his efforts, the employees worked more collaboratively together with a greater sense of group purpose. Patrice was very energetic and passionate in his leadership role, which gradually brought the group members to follow his example and they were inspired by him to reach for excellence. In short, the group surpassed all expectations and had a very successful first year having Patrice leading the group.

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