LEAD Competencies

Purdue’s Leadership & Professional Development Competencies were established to provide a cross-discipline model of leadership development for all Boilermakers. The 20 competencies were established with the input of students, faculty, staff, and employers and are based on the work of researcher and author Dr. Corey Seemiller. The competencies align with the University’s Embedded Learning Outcomes which help drive the core requirements of a Purdue education. Numerous resources, programs, and trainings for incorporating the outcomes across curricular and co-curricular experiences are developed and provided by our department.

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Listen & Observe

Hearing what is being said and observing nonverbal cues to prevent miscommunication, promote understanding, gather and receive feedback, and demonstrate a sense of caring about what others want to communicate.

Nonverbal Communication

Using body language, gestures, other cues, and visual aids to support the conveyance of meaning.

Summarize & Distill Information

Selecting, sorting, and combing information in order to capture and reflect on important facts, concepts, and processes leading to increased comprehension and the ability to convey information in a concise and coherent manner.

Verbal/Sign Communication

Using spoken and/or signed communication to share information with others one-on-one, in small groups, and/or in front of a large audience in a clear, concise, and persuasive manner.

Written Communication

Using written formats to share information with others in a clear, concise, and persuasive manner.

Self-Awareness (Intrapersonal Awareness & Development)

Continuous Learning

Committing to constant expansion and improvement of skills, abilities, knowledge and understanding by adopting continuous learning strategies (e.g., seeking feedback, observing others, exploring alternatives, practicing current skills, seeking training and education, etc.).

Initiative & Follow Through

Taking charge of a situation either individually to fill a need or motivating others to take action. Completing tasks without having to be followed-up with or reminded and can be relied upon and trusted to carry out commitments.

Personal Responsibility

Accepting ownership for not meeting expectations or achieving desired outcomes, receives feedback from others and is able to consider it in order to develop competencies and effectiveness.


Facing challenges, adversity, and major setbacks and learning from the experience, take corrective action, and rise to the next challenge.


Understanding one’s beliefs, values, culture, actions, personality, strengths, and weaknesses.

Collaboration (Interpersonal Skills & Intercultural Knowledge)

Appropriate & Productive Relationships

Assessing a situation and engaging in interactions, relations, and exchanges based on what is suitable for the context and person or people involved. Cultivating connections or associations with others that contribute positively to the well-being of those involved.

Cultural Intelligence & Inclusion

Understanding how diverse perspectives, backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, experiences and/or historical dynamics can influence groups and individuals and enhance a group’s effectiveness; acting to foster an environment in which people feel welcomed, valued, free to share viewpoints, contribute to a cause or task, or simply have a sense of belonging.

Helping Others & Working Together

Understanding the importance teamwork has for the effectiveness of groups and organizations and using that understanding to foster a culture of helping others and working together.

Organizational Behavior

Understanding how groups develop; anticipating, navigating, mitigating, and responding to behaviors of a group and the people in it to foster group development to enhance the group’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Service & Social Responsibility

Understanding the rights and obligations one has as a citizen in communities, nations, and the world; how cultural, social, and historical dynamics influence groups and individuals; and how engaging in responsible decision-making, ethical actions and meaningful service enhances the welfare of society and its members.

Ways of Thinking

Decision-Making & Problem-Solving

Defines a problem or issue; identifies its potential causes; specifies a desired outcome; employs critical, practical, and creative thinking skills to generate possible solutions; and identifies and implements effective criteria for choosing amongst possible solutions.


Understanding standards and expectations for personal and professional ethical behavior by acting in accord with an appropriate set of social norms, beliefs, and cultural values (e.g., trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship). Considers implications of actions and shows an awareness of the need to hold one’s self to a higher standard.

Idea Generation

Developing new and/or novel ideas through critical thinking and creative processes that address issues and/or lead to change.

Reflection & Analytical Reasoning

Considering the past and learning from successes and failures –own and others’ – to understand a situation, strategies used, and the impact of decisions. Employing critical, practical, and creative thinking skills within an ethical framework to connect disparate information; understanding the context of the situation from multiple perspectives; synthesizing information; being open-minded and flexible while considering multiple possible solutions.

Systems Thinking & Planning

Identifying tasks and setting deadlines to design, evaluate, and implement strategies to answer questions or achieve desired goals. Assessing a situation, organization, or network through examination of the linkages, interconnections, and/or interactions of it component parts – both internal and external – to better understand how it works, to be able to navigate through ripple effects of others’ decisions, and to make decisions that consider impact on a larger network or system.



Dean, B, Ross, Hubbell, E., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012) Classroom instruction that works: Researchbased strategies from increasing student achievement (2nd ed.), Alexandria, VA: ASCD

Seemiller, C. (2013). The student leadership competencies guidebook: Designing intentional leadership learning and development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Spears, L. C. (2010). On character and servant-leadership: Ten characteristics of effective, caring leaders. The Journal of Virtues & Leadership, 1(1), 25-30

Tate, W. (2009). The Search for Leadership: An Organizational Perspective. Triarchy Press Limited

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