Core Competencies



Functional Description

The set of abilities enabling a person to interact positively and work effectively with others. Development of the interpersonal skills of employees is a key goal of training and development initiatives for many companies, and is considered a constructive manner in which to handle office disputes and other personnel issues. These skills include the areas of communication, listening, delegation of tasks and leadership. 

Content Knowledge Requirements

Verbal and non-verbal communication, listening skills, ability to draw information from others, business etiquette, negotiation and consensus-building, problem-solving, decision-making, social awareness, self-management, and assertiveness. 

Skill Requirements

Knowledge of appropriate business etiquette, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, situational awareness.

Ethical Requirements

Responsibility for using strong interpersonal skills to achieve mutually agreed upon goals rather than for self-advancement at the expense of institutional goals.

Expertise Levels

Entry level

Ability to communicate and interact with others individually and in groups. Work well as part of a team and communicate effectively with a variety of constituents. Awareness of how one interacts with others. Includes verbal and non-verbal communication skills and listening skills.

Intermediate Level

Ability to work with others to find a mutually agreeable outcome. Explore and analyze options to make sound decisions. Communicate ideas, beliefs, and opinions freely and appropriately. Ask questions and seek clarification. Understand that others may have different points of view.

Expert Level

Ability to negotiate, persuade, and give and receive feedback effectively. Recognize verbal and non-verbal cues that the receiver feels uncomfortable with the message and address appropriately. Recognize and adapt to the emotional climate and expectations of the participant(s) for the interaction. Influence the attitudes and behaviors of others. Ability to represent the institution publicly and be an advocate for students, policy, and institutional goals.

How to Use Our Core Competencies

The Competencies & Proficiencies are designed to be used in a variety of ways, including:

  • Crafting professional development plans for individuals or teams
  • Self-assessment and benchmarking individual professional development
  • Drafting position descriptions and evaluating office functions

The AACRAO Competencies and Proficiencies are a living resource that will continue to evolve parallel to the demands of our professions in a dynamic higher education environment. If you would like to make a suggestion for a future version, contact us at