How Do I Use the Tool Kit?

Using the Tool Kit


Organization of the tool kit is in five domains:

  1. Leading Change

  2. Leading People

  3. Leading for Results

  4. Leading in Context

  5. Fundamental Competencies

Each of the five domains contains a competency definition along with a menu of activities designed to promote further development and attainment of the competency. Given the complex and multi-dimensional nature of leadership competencies, no single activity can fully and completely lead to skill attainment in a particular competency.

That said, it is not expected nor even intended that every activity for every competency be completed. Rather, choose activities from those competencies that are most appealing or doable and address areas needing strengthening.


Many activities are synergistic and will span multiple competencies; for example, an activity to hold a youth panel within the Leading for Results domain and for the service orientation competency could also promote development of the competencies of initiative, planning, and personal leadership. However, in the interest of simplicity each activity corresponds with only one particular competency. This approach underscores the very nature of leadership represented in the NCWWI Leadership Model and Competency Framework; that is, that leadership is organic and holistic.

The tool kit outlines activities for the leadership levels of executive, middle manager, supervisor, or caseworker. However, individuals and agencies should use discretion regarding the appropriate leadership level.

Many contextual factors affect whether the transfer activities are appropriate for a certain level or another. Also, individuals may complete some of the activities alone, whereas they may need to partner with one or more colleagues for other activities.

Each activity provides a brief explanation, who the activity is appropriate for, and the relevant competency goal.

Learners who use the activities in this tool kit will transfer learning from the classroom or training environment to the field to develop fully their leadership knowledge and skills. Those whose leadership is self-taught, i.e., those without a classroom component, will advance their leadership skills through use of the tool kit as well. These learners will gain opportunities to develop the competencies most relevant to child welfare leadership while addressing individual strengths and areas for improvement.


Worksheets guide some activities and contain resource and background information to guide others.Some offer reflective questions, some are self-assessments, and others direct the user to complete a set of tasks or activities.

This is an example of a worksheet:

Worksheet 1a.A1 – Upside Down, Inside Out

You can use worksheets in the following ways:

All worksheets are in PDF format. You need Adobe Reader (or any other PDF reader) installed on your device in order to access and use them.

Download a free version of Adobe Reader from Adobe.

Firefox users! To enable the fillable-form feature when using Firefox as your browser, do the following:

Leadership Development Plan

NCWWI’s Learning and Living Leadership: A Tool Kit offers a variety of activities to mix and match leadership skills development. Different audiences at all agency levels also may use it to develop a personal leadership development plan.

A leadership development plan should be customized to each individual’s needs and learning style. Because many of the activities in this tool kit span multiple competencies, a plan comprising four to five complex activities may be sufficient. Individuals may also want to include a variety of activities, from shorter-term, less complex activities to those that are more complex and time-consuming.

The tool kit is flexible.

Carefully select the right number of activities to address the various competencies targeted for strengthening. This may be one or two, or five or 10 activities, and will depend upon user needs, interests, and time constraints, as well as agency review and approval where necessary.

The activities listed are simply suggestions. Indeed, they may lead to the development of other activities that are more relevant for the individual or the agency. The goal is for learners to develop leadership skills by building specific competencies with activities that are most meaningful for their particular context.

Four steps guide the process of developing a customized leadership development plan:

  1. Assess the competency level for each of the competencies within each domain, and determine a smaller set of competencies to focus on for the individual leadership development plan.

  2. Review the activities, select ones that advance desired competency levels, and complete the Leadership Development Plan form (see Appendix A).

  3. Discuss the Leadership Development Plan with a supervisor, manager, colleague, peer, coach, or mentor. Tool kit users are reminded to check for and secure any permissions, clearance, consultations, and/or other necessary communication before engaging in any activities. Determine how to obtain ongoing support and feedback as the plan is implemented to enhance learning and make meaning of experiences. Throughout the tool kit, look for the following icon as a reminder to secure necessary approvals:


  1. Conduct the activities and, using the Post-Activity Reflection Journal below, document progress as appropriate by responding to the reflection questions at the end of each activity to further cement the learning around the leadership competencies.

Leadership Development Plan

Leadership Development Plan Example

Post-Activity Reflection Journal

Some tips to consider: