Civil Service Behaviour Helper Struggle to write behaviour statements? This site is for you!


Behaviours are the actions and activities that people do which result in effective performance in a job. The Civil Service has defined a set of behaviours that, when demonstrated, are associated with job success. Civil Service Behaviours are specific to the grade level of the job role.

Seeing the Big Picture

Understand how your role fits with and supports organisational objectives. Recognise the wider Civil Service priorities and ensure work is in the national interest.

Understand how your work and the work of your team supports wider objectives and meets the diverse needs of stakeholders. Keep up to date with the issues that affect your work area. Take a keen interest in expanding knowledge in areas related to your work. Focus on overall goals and not just specific tasks to meet priorities.

Related Strengths: Challenger, Mission, Strategic and Visionary

Changing and Improving

Seek out opportunities to create effective change and suggest innovative ideas for improvement. Review ways of working, including seeking and providing feedback.

Regularly review own and team’s work and take the initiative to suggest ideas to make improvements. Give feedback on changes in a constructive manner. Take a positive, open approach to the possibility of change and encourage others to do the same. Help others to understand changes and the reasons they are being put in place. Identify and act on the effects changes are having on your role and that of the team. Look for ways to use technology to achieve efficient and effective results. Consider accessibility needs of the diverse range of end users.

Related Strengths: Adaptable, Courageous, Change Agent, Improver, Problem Solver and Resilient

Making Effective Decisions

Use evidence and knowledge to support accurate, expert decisions and advice. Carefully consider alternative options, implications and risks of decisions.

Take responsibility for making effective and fair decisions, in a timely manner. Analyse and research further information to support decisions. Talk to relevant people to get advice and information when unsure how to proceed. Explain how decisions have been reached in a clear and concise way, both verbally and in writing. Demonstrate the consideration of all options, costs, risks and wider implications, including the diverse needs of end users and any accessibility requirements.

Related Strengths: Analytical, Decisive, Preventer and Problem Solver


Show pride and passion for public service. Create and engage others in delivering a shared vision. Value difference, diversity and inclusion, ensuring fairness and opportunity for all.

Show pride and passion for your work and positive, inclusive engagement with your team. Understand your areas of responsibility and display awareness of the wider impact of your actions. Proactively role model and promote an inclusive workplace, promptly dealing with inappropriate language and behaviours when they arise, including any instances of discrimination or misconduct. Give praise and credit to colleagues and stakeholders where appropriate.

Related Strengths: Confident, Change Agent, Inclusive, Motivator, Team Leader and Visionary

Communicating and Influencing

Communicate purpose and direction with clarity, integrity and enthusiasm. Respect the needs, responses and opinions of others.

Communicate clearly and concisely both orally and in writing. Take time to consider the best communication channel to use for the audience, including making the best of digital resources and considering value for money. Interact with others in an enthusiastic way. Express ideas clearly and with respect for others. Listen to and value different ideas, views and ways of working. Respond constructively and objectively to comments and questions. Handle challenging conversations with confidence and sensitivity.

Related Strengths: Authentic, Emotionally Intelligent, Explainer, Inclusive and Influencer.

Working Together

Form effective partnerships and relationships with people both internally and externally, from a range of diverse backgrounds, sharing information, resources and support.

Develop a range of contacts outside own team and identify opportunities to share knowledge, information and learning. Show genuine interest when listening to others. Contribute to an inclusive working environment where all opinions and challenges are listened to and all individual needs are taken into account. Ensure it is clear that bullying, harassment and discrimination are unacceptable. Offer support and help to colleagues when in need, including consideration of your own and their wellbeing. Change ways of working to aid cooperation within and between teams in order to achieve results.

Related Strengths: Challenger, Emotionally Intelligent, Inclusive, Negotiator, Networker, Relationship Builder, Team Player and Mediator.

Developing Self and Others

Focus on continuous learning and development for self, others and the organisation as a whole.

Identify gaps in own and team’s skills and knowledge. Set and consistently meet development objectives. Seek learning opportunities. Support the development plans of all colleagues, recognising how diversity of experience/background can help to build an inclusive team culture. Consider the contributions of all team members and delegate work to aid the learning and development of all. Encourage and listen to developmental feedback from colleagues.

Related Strengths: Enabler, Explainer, Inclusive and Learner

Managing a Quality Service

Deliver service objectives with professional excellence, expertise and efficiency, taking account of diverse customer needs.

Work with customers to understand their needs and expectations. Create clear plans and set priorities which meet the needs of both the customer and the business. Clearly explain to customers what can be done. Keep colleagues and stakeholders fully informed of plans, possibilities and progress. Identify common problems that affect service, report them and find possible solutions. Deliver good customer service which balances quality and cost effectiveness.

Related Strengths: Disciplined, Efficient, Focussed, Organiser, Precise, Preventer and Service Focussed.

Delivering at Pace

Take responsibility for delivering timely and quality results with focus and drive.

Regularly review the success of activities in the team to identify barriers to progress or challenging objectives. Identify who and what is required to ensure success, set clear goals and areas of responsibility and continually assess workloads considering individual needs. Follow relevant policies, procedures and legislation to complete your work. Ensure colleagues have the correct tools and resources available to them to do their jobs. Have a positive and focused attitude to achieving outcomes, despite any setbacks. Regularly check performance against objectives, making suggestions for improvement or taking corrective action where necessary. Ensure that colleagues are supported where tasks are challenging.

Related Strengths: Adaptable, Disciplined, Catalyst, Focussed, Organiser, Resilient and Responsible.


Strengths are the things that we do regularly, do well and that motivate us.
The Civil Service Strengths Dictionary is a set of defined strengths that are relevant to the culture and type of work that we do. Civil Service Strengths are not defined by grade.


You can adapt to variations in work or environment and your effectiveness isn’t impacted by change. You are flexible and versatile and act as an advocate for change.


You seek and analyse information to inform decisions based on the best available evidence.


You are self-aware and true to yourself in all situations, even when under pressure.


You are self-motivated to act to achieve a goal. You are confident using your own initiative to take forward actions.


You can bring a fresh perspective whatever the situation or context. You see other people's views and can appreciate there are many different angles to consider.

Change Agent

You are positive and inspirational in leading and supporting others through change.


You take charge of situations, people and decisions. You communicate confidently and give direction.


You are an innovator who tries new approaches and pushes yourself to work outside your comfort zone.


You use your judgement and take a considered approach to situations and tasks when making decisions.


You follow processes, operating firmly within set standards, rules and guidelines.


You convert resources into results in the most efficient and economical way

Emotionally Intelligent

You draw insight from your own emotions and those of others to demonstrate empathy.


You see the potential in everybody and encourage them to learn, progress and develop.


You communicate thoughts and ideas, verbally or in writing. You simplify complexities and adapt communication so others can understand.


You strive for quality outcomes and excellence in everything you do.


You recognise everyone as an individual, accepting people for who they are and treating everyone fairly. You actively encourage and provide opportunities for others to share ideas and contributions.


You influence others, you articulate the rationale to gain their agreement.


You look for better ways of doing things and enjoy coming up with new and original ideas.


You are inquisitive, you seek out new information and look for new ways to develop yourself.


You provide stability and cohesion within teams, finding common ground and purpose. You enjoy collaborating with others to drive forward a shared goal.


You pursue things which give you a sense of meaning and purpose, working towards a longer term goal.


You are highly driven and inspire others to move things along and make things happen.


You facilitate constructive discussions and enjoy getting all parties to reach an agreement.


You proactively create and maintain positive, professional and trusting working relationships with a wide range of people within and outside the organisation. You identify connections and reach out to bring people together.


You make plans and are well prepared. You seek to maximise time and productivity.


You are detail-focussed, you ensure everything is accurate and error free.


You think ahead to anticipate, identify and address any risks or problems before they occur.

Problem Solver

You take a positive approach to tackling problems and find ways to identify suitable solutions.

Relationship Builder

You quickly establish mutual respect and trust, building long lasting relationships with others.


You have inner composure, recover quickly from setbacks and learn from them.


You take ownership for your decisions and hold yourself accountable for what you have promised to deliver.

Service Focussed

You look for ways to serve customers putting their needs at the heart of everything you do.


You look at the big picture and consider the wider factors and long term implications of decisions.

Team Leader

You are confident to lead a team and can effectively manage team dynamics to drive forward a shared goal. You take into consideration everyone’s individual needs and create a genuine team spirit.

Team Player

You work well as part of a team and strive to ensure the team pulls together and is effective.


You create and share a clear vision of the future.

Leadership Statement


about our work and its future

  • We will show our pride in and passion for public service, communicating purpose and direction with clarity and enthusiasm
  • We will value and model professional excellence and expertise
  • We will reward innovation and initiative, ensuring we learn from what has not worked as well as what has

Related Strengths: Explainer, Influencer, Visionary and Motivator


in our engagement

  • We will be straightforward, truthful and candid in our communications, surfacing tensions and resolving ambiguities
  • We will give clear, honest feedback, supporting our teams to succeed
  • We will be team players, and will not tolerate uncollaborative behaviour which protects silos and departmentalism

Related Strengths: Authentic, Confident, Team Player and Team Leader


our teams to deliver

  • We will give our teams the space and authority to deliver their clearly set objectives
  • We will be visible, approachable, and welcome challenge, however uncomfortable
  • We will champion both difference and external experience, recognising the value they bring
  • We will invest in the capabilities of our people, to be effective now and in the future

Related Strengths: Enabler, Inclusive, Mediator and Resilient

Leadership in Action

Every day we see the best Civil Service leaders...

Creating a sense of purpose and focusing on outcomes

Civil Service leaders set a vision, understand the purpose of their work and are focused on results and what this means for the citizen, in the UK or abroad. They put the mission and the goals of the organisation and wider system ahead of self-interest. As well as focusing on delivery and the here and now, leaders take a longer term view and help others to also keep this in mind when making decisions. To achieve the best outcomes, leaders think about how a team can be at its best, building personal and staff resilience to support wellbeing.

Building inclusive teams and encouraging challenge

Civil Service leaders value and actively promote inclusion. They recognise that diversity – of background, of life experience and of thought – brings different insights, creates challenge and encourages change and innovation. Leaders create conditions of safety where all colleagues can provide challenge and feedback. They surface tensions and resolve ambiguities and speak up when they experience or witness unacceptable behaviour, discrimination, bullying or harassment. They value fairness and respect, share a sense of connectedness and create a sense of belonging for others.

Demonstrating passion and wanting to change things for the better

Civil Service leaders show pride and passion for public service - the work that they do drives them to want to do better and to seek out new solutions to challenges every day. They continually reflect on the values that underpin their work and that drive them to work to serve citizens, sharing this with others. They are ambitious about the changes they, their teams and colleagues can make for citizens. This includes leading new and different ways of carrying out tasks, innovating and transforming how we work.

Empowering and developing individuals and teams

Civil Service leaders continually think about and take action to develop others and, build their capability and continually improve their performance. Leaders make the time and space to build the teams that are needed to achieve their goals. They make it possible for others to do their best work and have ownership of it. They help individuals to set their own objectives and make decisions on how and where they work. The best Civil Service leaders also continuously practice their active listening, coaching and communication skills to achieve this.

Exercising judgement and making good evidence-based decisions

Civil Service leaders are rigorous in their decision making, using the best available evidence and wide range of expertise to underpin what they do. They exercise their judgement to make sure their advice is incisive and decisions are fair. They know when and how to bring in technical skills and different perspectives to inform debate. They know when it is useful to keep a broader, strategic perspective and when to get ‘into the detail’ to really understand a situation or problem. They provide challenge and hold others to account. In all their decisions, they are focused on value for money, efficiency and sound financial management.

Guiding teams using experience and expertise

Civil Service leaders have the experience needed to build and develop the right organisational structure and team to deliver against priorities, now and in the future. Leaders look across their teams to think about what they can learn and to identify what change they might bring. They understand how to implement effective governance and risk arrangements. They demonstrate a commitment to learning and professional development and throughout their career continue to consider the breadth and depth of experience they require to lead.

Collaborating, making connections and encouraging cross system working

Civil Service leaders recognise that many of the government’s biggest challenges do not fit neatly into the boundaries of a single department, organisation or sector and work with others to identify shared solutions to challenges across systems. They encourage a broad range of people to work together to develop a shared view of a problem and to prioritise delivering the best outcomes for the citizen over narrower team or department objectives. They step out of the way to allow their teams to be innovative and take risks, identifying different ways of approaching and solving problems.

Continually reflecting on their leadership style and developing self awareness

Civil Service leaders are at their best when they are authentic and self-aware. They reflect on their actions and their emotions in different situations, show an openness to feedback and willingness to change, sharing reflections with their team. In doing this, they show their teams and peers that they are learning, make mistakes and learn from them, and can be vulnerable. Leaders commit to understanding how it feels in different roles, including for those delivering services direct to citizens. They regularly consider their own strengths and development areas, and have a personal development plan, using coaching and/or mentoring to support growth.

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