The global skills and competency framework for the digital world


Guiding, influencing, and developing others across various levels, aligning with strategic objectives.

This is a prototype for SFIA 9. It is subject to change before publication.

Guidance notes

Leadership in a professional context involves guiding and influencing others, developing team capabilities, and aligning actions with strategic objectives. It's not just about managing people; it's about inspiring, strategising, and driving positive changes.

Effective leadership requires a mix of skills, including emotional intelligence, strategic thinking, effective communication, and the ability to motivate and develop others. As professionals progress through SFIA levels, their leadership role evolves from self-management and team leadership to strategic leadership and organisational influence.

Leadership in the SFIA framework represents a progression from developing personal understanding and responsibility to guiding and shaping organisational strategies and policies. This evolution highlights the increasing scope of influence and strategic impact of leadership roles across different levels.

Level 1 - Follow

  • Proactively increases their understanding of their work tasks and responsibilities. 

Level 2 - Assist

  • Takes ownership to develop their work experience. 

Level 3 - Apply

  • Reviews and analyses current working practices to identify improvements. May contribute to the development of others.

Level 4 - Enable

  • Demonstrates an awareness of risk and may lead a team.
  • Contributes specialist expertise to requirements definition in support of proposals.
  • Shares knowledge and experience in own specialism to help others.

Level 5 - Ensure, advise

  • Provides leadership at an operational level.
  • Implements and executes policies aligned to strategic plans.
  • Assesses and evaluates risk.  
  • Analyses requirements and advises on scope and options for continuous improvement. Takes all requirements into account when considering proposals.
  • Shares own knowledge and experience and encourages learning and growth. 

Level 6 - Initiate, influence

  • Provides leadership at an organisational level.
  • Contributes to the development and implementation of policy and strategy.
  • Manages and mitigates organisational risk.  
  • Understands and communicates industry developments, and the role and impact of technology. 
  • Balances the requirements of proposals with the broader needs of the organisation.
  • Promotes a learning and growth culture in their area of accountability. 

Level 7 - Set strategy, inspire, mobilise

  • Leads strategic management.
  • Applies the highest level of leadership to the formulation and implementation of strategy.
  • Establishes governance to address business risk.
  • Communicates the potential impact of emerging practices and technologies on organisations and individuals and assesses the risks of using or not using such practices and technologies. 
  • Ensures proposals align with the strategic direction of the organisation. 
  • Fosters a learning and growth culture across the organisation.