Society of Women Engineers

Leadership Competency Model

Leadership Competency Model

Leadership Competencies
SWE’s Leadership Competency Model was conceived, developed and launched in 2010 to serves as the backbone for all of SWE’s leadership development programming. SWE has grown leaps and bounds since 2010 in its portfolio of content devoted to leadership development while also placing a greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion as a core component of exemplary leadership. SWE’s leaders, like you, know that for there to be equality, equity, and mutual respect within the engineering workforce we need to be more intentional about how we educate current and emerging leaders on advocating for diversity and demonstrating inclusive behaviors. 
Leadership Competency Model

Business Acumen

  • Strategic planning through the development of effective strategies. Sees the big picture and understands how to determine organizational objectives and set priorities.
  • Manage finances to meet organizational needs.
  • Apply effective management skills (e.g., problem solving, interpersonal skills, delegation and supervision).
  • Professional knowledge and skills by being aware of industry changes, developments and emerging issues affecting women in STEM.


  • Conflict resolution and management by skillfully settling differences in a positive and constructive manner.
  • Leverages diversity and differences by leading and supporting an inclusive environment. Seeks new perspectives to achieve the vision and mission of SWE.
  • Influencing others through coalition building, inviting new perspectives, and clearly articulating the goals of SWE.
  • Apply effective communication and interpersonal skills through actively listening to the needs of colleagues, sharing relevant information and expectations, and treating colleagues with respect.

Coaching, Mentoring, & Sponsorship

  • Identifies strategies for career development, self-awareness, and self-knowledge
  • Demonstrates clear and effective communication skills
  • Seeks specific character attributes of a career coach, mentor, and/or sponsor for personal/professional gain. 
  • Exhibits ability in becoming or mastering unique attributes of a career coach, mentor, and/or sponsor. 

Diversity & Inclusion

  • Values differences, experiences, and perspectives.
  • Promotes a sense of belonging and respect. 
  • Demonstrates inclusive leadership through influence and model behavior.
  • Fosters, supports, and drives diversity and inclusion best practices. 

Leadership Abilities

  • Developing and empowering others.
  • Visioning by taking the long view of the organization, building a shared vision for SWE members' role, acting as a catalyst for organizational change, and inspiring others to succeed within SWE.
  • Maintain a high standard of professionalism and ethics.
  • Be an advocate for the role of women in STEM.
  • Knowledgeable of change management strategies and processes.
  • Leverages diversity and differences by leading and supporting an inclusive environment.

Self-Management & Development

  • The pursuit of lifelong learning through the mastery of new knowledge, embracing new ideas, and shares new ideas.
  • Self-reflection and assessment through recognizing strengths and weaknesses, seek feedback from others and learns from failure.
  • Tolerates ambiguity by taking priority changes and unforeseen developments in stride as well as leads with a firm sense of purpose in an environment of uncertainty.
  • Flexibility by being open to change and new information/perspectives.