Competency Framework

Tippjuhtide kompetentsimudel




The competency framework of Estonian Top Civil Service (TCS) consists of six competences, described through influential and non-influential activities.

The 2017 competence model for TCS describes a leader who is bold designer of the future, an achiever, an inspiring driver of innovation, a genuine value builder for target groups and an effective self leader.

The competency framework is used for recruitment, selection, assessment and development of top civil servants and future leaders.



These global trends have the greatest impact on civil service leadership:


Globalisation. Growing interconnection between countries and regions brings an increase in international cooperation. Active cross-border communications mean higher security threats globally as well as locally. Increasing exploitation of natural resources causes climate change and poses a threat to environmental sustainability.

Competition between states. The nexus of international and interregional competition is shifting towards Asia. Competitive advantages are provided by global scope, niche competencies or flexible networks. Successful countries compete for resources, investments and talents.

New technologies. Concentration of informational, cognitive, bio- and nanoresearch creates completely new products and services. Developments in technology enable a spreading of public virtual services, big data, analytics, automation, robot services, smart cities etc. Research-based innovation springs up alongside technology-based innovation. Wider use of technologies also increases the threat of cyberattacks and cyberterrorism.

Demanding target groups. Citizens' awareness of their rights and expectations regarding the openness and transparency of civil service is increasing. Demand for individual and user-oriented public services as well as a wish to have a say in designing these services is growing. Social media reduces the power of large organisations and increases the influence of activists.

New work-patterns. Globalisation and developing technologies mean more options for employees and entail the emergence of new, flexible work patterns. Individualism is rising and dedication to work is on the decline; work is increasingly seen as a lifestyle and expression of self. Routine jobs are being replaced by automation, which means higher unemployment levels among a technologically incompetent workforce.

Demographic changes. Urbanisation is constantly increasing. Societies are aging, and expenses in healthcare, retraining and the social sector are growing. New forms of cohabitation are gaining ground alongside the traditional family model, giving rise to social tensions. Tensions between cultures are growing.

Increasing uncertainty. Large changes happen suddenly and quickly, causing increased uncertainty in business, employment and income. Natural disasters, pandemics, terrorism and market-changing technologies cause instability and insecurity.

The 2017 competence model for TCS describes a leader who is able to handle these challenges successfully. A successful leader is a bold designer of the future, an achiever, an inspiring driver of innovation, a genuine value builder for target groups and an effective self leader.



Competencies of Estonian Top Civil Servants



Future Designer

The Future Designer creates a vision based on trends, challenges of the state and the policy field, explains it convincingly and inspires others to be dedicated to it.

An efficient leader understands global and local trends, sees the state as a whole, determines the priority challenges of the policy field, builds up an ambitious vision together with the team, achieves political support for it and keeps the team and the target groups’ faith in fulfilling that vision.

An inefficient leader looks at the short-term needs of the policy field mostly, is first of all engaged in 'extinguishing fires', creates a pallid and comfortable vision, and is rather formal in engaging the team and the target groups.




The Achiever carries out the vision of the policy field, allocates roles and responsibilities within the team, monitors progress towards the goals and steps in if needed.

An efficient leader values achieving excellent results, allows team members to acquire responsibility and gives them freedom to act, makes key results measurable, monitors progress towards achieving them and steps in decisively if needed; he or she provides constructive feedback, acknowledges and encourages the team and adjusts goals according to changes in the environment.

An inefficient leader does not let team members take clear responsibility or does not give them freedom to act, intervenes needlessly in details, concentrates on monitoring activities rather than achieving measurable results, delays intervention, avoids giving feedback or gives discouraging feedback, does not notice the need to adjust goals.



Innovation Booster

The Innovation Booster is a pioneer; he or she promotes thinking outside the box, encourages taking risks and directs the development and implementation of valuable innovations.

An efficient leader actively looks for innovation opportunities, shapes an organisation culture that supports creativity, learning and experimentation; encourages the team to develop technical competencies and adopt new technologies.

An inefficient leader sticks only with tried solutions, gets tangled in restrictions, is afraid to be wrong and acts within safe limits, ignores the need for technical competencies as well as the opportunities to adopt innovative technologies.


Value Builder

The Value Builder designs policies and services based on the user`s needs.

An efficient leader engages target groups in the designing of policies and services, takes their needs as the starting point, understands the specifics of the policy field and its relations with other policy fields, sees the state as a whole, analyses the impact of policies and services and utilises analysis results to create value.

An inefficient leader remains formal in engaging target groups, is limited to the specific policy field when designing policies and providing services, evaluates the impact of policies and services formally.



The Empowerer is a keeper of workplace happiness who creates an environment that ensures the engagement, well-being and development of employees.

An efficient leader values people, establishes trust, creates flexible organisation of work and a positive atmosphere, supports the development of employees.

An inefficient leader does not value people, is stuck with traditional organisation of work, does not express his or her expectations clearly, behaves in an unpredictable manner and does not care about the wellbeing or development of employees.


Self Leader

The Self Leader understands his or her role as a leader in civil service and develops himself or herself continuously to ensure maximum realisation of potential.

An efficient leader understands his or her responsibility as a TCS, sets high development targets for himself or herself, engages systematically in self-development, shows integrity, is open to feedback and has a remarkable working capacity.

An inefficient leader is not aware of the scope of his or her responsibility as a TCS, sets safe development targets, is not dedicated to self-development, is internally insecure and has difficulties with self-management.


Last updated: 30 November 2017