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Mount Holyoke College
Weissman Center for Leadership

Passport Leadership Competencies

Ten Leadership Competencies

1. Self-Assessment. Many different tools exist to learn about yourself, to assess the preferences and strengths you bring to the table, and also areas in which you may need to grow. Through these exercises, we also tend to learn about those around us, how we are different from or similar to others, and how we may need to adjust our communication in order to be heard and to be effective.

While we recommend The Leadership Q, a self-assessment diagnostic modeled after Myers-Briggs, we know many other areas throughout campus have diagnostic tools focused on personality, strengths, learning preferences, or other aspects of self

2. Public Speaking. We see public speaking as very important for anyone interested in leadership. This can include speaking up in class, honing debate skills, conducting “canvassing” outreach on behalf of an organization, or making public presentations.

3. Writing. Writing is an effective communication tool where you can be persuasive, informative, or argue for a new or opposing viewpoint. Opportunities are endless to perfect your writing for class assignments, articles, editorials, blogs, etc.

4. Active Listening, Inclusion, and Dialogue. You engage in active listening when you are present in a conversation, stay focused on what the person is saying, listen to their concerns, and help dialogue to find a solution in the complaint or concern. You can practice active listening every day, and increase your skills through many campus activities and trainings.

5. Team Dynamics, Organizational Change, and Governance. How do teams or organizations work, and what is your place in them? Whether you are attending a town hall meeting, serving as a hall senator, or working in a group for a class project, there are many different ways to engage in this

6. Local/Global Awareness. This competency engages you in current events and debates surrounding social, cultural, and political issues, from the local to global levels. By being well-informed, you see multiple dimensions and complexities that help inform your own opinions on issues that concern you. Lectures, classes, trips, and staying up on the news are great ways to expand your knowledge of issues in your community or the world.

7. Financial/Business Acumen. Many leadership positions require knowledge of budgeting. Some require preparing for a financial audit or interpreting a balance sheet. You can gain valuable financial experience by being a treasurer for a student organization, taking courses that include exposure to financial terms, or taking a workshop on personal budgeting, to name a few. 

8. Learning from Leadership Roles. Those leaders who supervise or mentor others, or head up a team, are in a special position to ensure success not only for the project or organization, but also to motivate the team and its individual members. There are many opportunities to gain leadership experience, from being elected to student government to tutoring after-school youth.

9. Initiative and Creativity. There are many ways to delve into the creative aspects of leadership and to funnel your passion and take initiative on a topic or issue you care about. You can launch a new project, present at LEAP or Senior Symposium, win a grant, participate in Lynk On the Road, or procure an internship on your own. The possibilities are endless.

10. Research/Advocacy on an Issue. Engaging in a cause or an issue that you care about can lead to action, impact, and social change. There are a range of activities to activate your passion on an issue such as research through a course or independent study, speaking to your elected representative, writing an op-ed, or canvassing door-to-door.