What Are the Great Eight Competencies?

What Are the Great Eight Competencies?

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Samantha McGrail
May 17, 2023

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In research originally published in 2002, psychologists David Bartram, Rainer Kurz, and Helen Baron defined competencies as “sets of behaviors instrumental in delivering desired results or outcomes.” 

The authors presented a case for eight broad competency factors (the Great Eight), which emerged from factor analyses of self and boss ratings of workplace performance ratings. Notably, Bartram and Kurz did not develop the model from ability tests, motivation, or personality questionnaires.

Thus, they provide a criterion-centric model rather than a predictor-centric one. 

The Great Eight is linked to observable behavior, giving managers and their staff a common language for discussing potential development and career issues. They also provide a way to express the company's goals, culture, and values in terms of the expected behavior of employees.

These competencies include leading and deciding, supporting and cooperating, interacting and presenting, analyzing and interpreting, creating and conceptualizing, organizing and executing, adapting and coping, and enterprising and performing.

Leading & Deciding

According to the Great Eight, leading and deciding means taking control, exercising leadership, initiating action, giving direction, and taking responsibility. 

In the workplace, a good leader knows when to decide, when to consult their team members or peers and get their opinion on a particular matter, and, most importantly, when to step back and let others decide.

Supporting & Cooperating

Bartram and Kurz define supporting and cooperating as someone who helps others and shows respect and positive regard for them in social situations. This person puts people first and works effectively with individuals, teams, clients, and others.

Supporting and cooperating also means behaving consistently with clear personal values that complement those of the business or organization.

Interacting & Presenting

An interactive and presenting person communicates and networks effectively in the workplace. They also successfully persuade and influence others and relate to them in a confident and relaxed manner.

In the workplace, a person who is successful in interacting and presenting speaks fluently, explains concepts and opinions, articulates critical points of an argument, offers public speaking, projects credibility, and responds to an audience.

Analyzing & Interpreting

Analyzing and interpreting are defined as showing evidence of clear analytical thinking, getting to the heart of complex problems and issues, and applying expertise effectively. 

A person who analyzes and interprets in the workplace writes correctly, clearly, and fluently, applies technical expertise when needed, analyzes and evaluates information, produces solutions, and demonstrates systems thinking.

Creating & Conceptualizing

Someone who ranks high in creating and conceptualizing works well in situations that require openness to new ideas and experiences. They also seek learning opportunities, handle crises and problems with innovation and creativity, think broadly and strategically, and support and drive organizational change.

Organizing & Executing

According to the Great Eight, organizing and executing means planning and working systematically, following directions and procedures, and delivering quality service or products to the agreed standards. 

Someone who can organize and execute productively, sets objectives, manages time and resources, monitors progress, meets customer expectations, shows awareness of safety issues, complies with legal obligations, and ensures driving the project to results.

Adapting & Coping

Bartram and Kurz define adapting and coping as responding well to change, managing pressure effectively, and coping well with setbacks. 

In the workplace, someone who can effectively adapt and cope is cross-culturally aware, deals well with ambiguity, shows emotional self-control in high-stake situations, balances work and life, maintains a positive outlook, and handles criticism. 

Enterprising & Performing

Enterprising and performing refer to focusing on results and achieving personal work objectives, working best when work is related closely to results and the impact of individual effort is apparent. Additionally, a person who ranks high in enterprising and performing seeks opportunities for self-development and career advancement.

Talent Select AI delivers the first truly non-invasive way to quickly and objectively understand your candidates’ psychology, personality traits, and core skills — including the Great Eight, Big Five, and our own proprietary measures like grit and empathy.

Request a live demo today to see first-hand how Talent Select AI reduces time-to-hire while providing a holistic, unbiased view of each candidate, and ultimately driving better hiring decisions and outcomes.

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