ICMA 18 core areas critical for effective local government leadership and management.

  1. Staff Effectiveness

Promoting the development and performance of staff and employees throughout the organization

  1. Policy Facilitation

Helping elected officials and other community actors identify, work toward, and achieve common goals and objectives

  1. Functional and Operational Expertise and Planning

A component of Service Delivery Management

  1. Citizen Service

Determining citizen needs and providing responsive, equitable services to the community

  1. Performance Measurement/Management and Quality Assurance

Maintaining a consistently high level of quality in staff work, operational procedures, and service delivery

  1. Initiative, Risk Taking, Vision, Creativity, Innovation and Continuous Improvement

Setting an example that urges the organization and the community toward experimentation, change, creative problem solving, and prompt action

  1. Technological Literacy

Demonstrating an understanding of information technology and ensuring that it is incorporated appropriately in plans to improve service delivery, information sharing, organizational communication, and citizen access 

  1. Democratic Advocacy and Public Engagement

Demonstrating a commitment to democratic principles by respecting elected officials, community interest groups, and the decision making process; educating citizens about local government; and acquiring knowledge of the social, economic, and political history of the community


Understanding and harnessing the ability to create an environment of involvement, respect, and connection of diverse ideas, backgrounds, and talent throughout the organization and the community

  1. Budgeting

Preparing and administering the budget; implementing long-term financial planning that integrates strategic planning and is reflective of a community’s values and priorities

  1. Financial Analysis

Interpreting financial information to assess the short-term and long-term fiscal condition of the community, determine the cost-effectiveness of programs, and compare alternative strategies

  1. Human Resources Management

Ensuring that the policies and procedures for employee hiring, promotion, performance appraisal, and discipline are equitable, legal, and current; ensuring that human resources are adequate to accomplish programmatic objectives

  1. Strategic Planning

Positioning the organization and the community for events and circumstances that are anticipated in the future

  1. Advocacy and Interpersonal Communication

Facilitating the flow of ideas, information, and understanding between and among individuals; advocating effectively in the community interest

  1. Presentation Skills

Conveying ideas or information effectively to others 

  1. Media Relations

Communicating information to the media in a way that increases public understanding of local government issues and activities and builds a positive relationship with the press 

  1. Integrity

Demonstrating fairness, honesty, and ethical and legal awareness in personal and professional relationships and activities

  1. Personal Development

Demonstrating a commitment to a balanced life through ongoing self-renewal and development in order to increase personal capacity

*Indicates a private sector, online or in-person provider (non-governmental or professional association).