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“As a current U.S. Navy civilian employee, I chose to focus on the way the Navy organizes competency development and psychological dispositions for its’ civilian global leaders. One thing that is important to note is the Navy’s prioritization of competency development for both its’ civilian and military leadership. This organization has outlined a Navy Leader Development Framework for the military men and women who serve on the front lines, as well as a Department of Defense (DoD) Civilian Leader Development Framework for the government employees who help behind the scenes.  

In the DoD Civilian Leader Development Framework, the focus is on major competencies which include Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Business Acumen, Building Coalitions and Enterprise-wide Perspective (Department of Defense, 2022). In leading change, the DoD expects civilian global leaders to balances change with continuity and addresses resistance, while maintaining an organizational vision. Leading people means leaders possess the interpersonal skills necessary to encourage others to meet the organizational vision while fostering an environment that embraces diversity, differences, trust, and teamwork. Results driven means meeting customer expectations and the goals of the organization. Global leaders are expected to problem solve and possess and entrepreneurial mindset when working through this competency (DoD, 2022). Business acumen zeros in on a global leaders’ ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically, a particularly crucial competency when working with the nations armed forces. Building coalitions focuses on the ability to build relationships internal to the organization, with external organizations and even foreign governments. Enterprise-wide perspective is a competency that requires global leaders to view their organizational responsibilities in the broader view of the DoD’s strategic priorities.

The Navy and DoD prioritize and organize the psychological dispositions of their global leaders through the validation of their DoD Competency Model. Waldman et al. (2011) explain the how the brain supports global leaders in their abilities to influence other’s moods, understand emotions, make crucial decisions, and problem solve. The DoD has implemented of four major leadership development programs to include Defense Civilian Emerging Leader Program (DCELP), Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP), Defense Senior Leader Development Program (DSLDP) and White House Leadership Development Program (WHLDP) (DoD, 2022). Each of these developmental programs meets leaders at a different psychological level and year or point in their career, and then focuses on key competency areas for further development. Mendenhall et al.’s (2018) of over 207 competencies more specifically details the skills necessary for global leaders’ success in the DoD’s Leadership Framework. Brain plasticity as discussed by Waldman et al. (2011) becomes increasingly important in this regard as global leaders are required to rapidly shift between competencies during their day. The DoD and Mendenhall et al. (2018) highlight agility as a valuable skill, which may often be underestimated in the leadership arena, however I believe it warrants further study.


Department of Defense (DoD). (2022, August 23). Growing Civilian Leaders (DoDINST 1430.16). Department of Defense. https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/143016p.pdf?ver=A9g2s3YpUbB__xPGRfmJAQ%3D%3D

Mendenhall, M. E., Osland, J. S., Bird, A., Oddou, G. R., Stevens, M. J., Maznevski, M. L., & Stahl, G. K. (2018). Global Leadership: Research, Practice and Development (3rd ed.). London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Waldman, D. A., Balthazard, P. A., & Peterson, S. J. (2011). Social cognitive neuroscience and leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 22(6), 1092-1106. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2011.09.005