In so many spheres of business we tread without a framework. With no stable structure in which we can position our competencies, styles, and traits. A competency framework for managers is usually something that they need to develop themselves.

In fact, we would go so far as to say that the average manager works to manage his or her staff, without contemplating how they do so, and without structuring a deliberate competency framework.

Main message: Most managers are not provided with a competency framework.


Who needs a Competency Framework?

Since many managers are the best performer in their department, who are then promoted into a managerial position, the concept of how to manage can be daunting. We have often seen that the top performing salesperson or the debtor’s clerk – who has a great eye for detail – is selected to oversee their department.

We have also seen them ask for a reversal and demotion after a few weeks. Why does this happen?

Unfortunately, this emotional process can be damaging for the individual’s ego, their reputation amongst colleagues, and their possible career ideals. A large portion of employees desire to be in management positions, until it happens.

Main message: Those who are promoted into managerial positions are often not provided the tools required to manage.

What is a Competency Framework for Managers?

A competency framework for managers is a systematic process which can be applied in various circumstances. It is a schedule based on the knowledge, skills, experience, abilities, and behaviours required in management. (This definition of competence is taken from Dr Elana Siew’s book, Competence Refined, available on

Each area of the competency matrix is then applied to each subordinate and the tasks that they need to perform. A competency framework provides a solid methodology through which staff can be performance managed and coached for improvement.

Main message: A competency matrix enables the manager to work through each area of competence for every task required.


The Competency Framework for Managers

Although we all understand that there can not be a predetermined framework for all industries and each managerial role, we can present a model that allows manager to tailor their environments to fit the framework. This adaptation allows the manager to feel more in control and competent:

This example could be used for a technical or an interpersonal skill. In this case we chose to focus on decision making skills.

As mentioned, there are a variety of frameworks which can be used to assist managers. To gain an insight into some other tools which do not focus so directly on competencies, you can read this article from June 2021 titled:

7 Project Management Methodologies, Frameworks and Techniques Explained

Main message: A competency matrix and other frameworks provide a toolkit enabling managers to manage effectively.


Helping Managers to Help Themselves

The management profession is filled with unknowns and challenges. For the manager who is unable to draft his or her own competency framework, there is always a professional Business Coach who is able to help. Why not ask for help when you feel that you need it?

Contact a professionally qualified Business Coach at SA Business Coaches to assist you in developing your competency framework for management.