Transversal Competencies Tools

Beliefs and Attitudes


The commitment to provide medical assistance to populations in distress, observing the principles of humanitarian action and medical ethics, and the willingness to direct his/her interest and behaviours towards the social mission of MSF.

Key words and concepts

impartiality, independence, neutrality, humanity, proximity, humanitarian principles, medical ethics, international humanitarian law, effectiveness, timeliness, advocacy, emergency, honesty, dignity, needs, integrity, relevance, cooperation.

Results of developing this competence

Greater involvement and integration in MSF.
Acceptance and respect for humanitarian values.
Greater acceptance of responsibilities as an individual and in MSF.
Increased synergies between areas by putting the interests of MSF before those of the team/service/department.
An active attitude in seeking out opportunities to fulfil MSF's social mission.
Seeking to improve the plight of beneficiaries, victims, patients and people at whom MSF's programmes are aimed.
Promoting the mission, humanitarian principles and ethical code of MSF.

Ineffective behaviour

Not knowing the vision, mission, principles and values of MSF.
Not respecting the medical ethics code.
Not showing understanding or respect for humanitarian principles.
Not showing an interest in keeping abreast of the MSF social mission and its progress (objectives, projects, activities, etc.).
Within your own sphere of responsibilities, avoiding decisions that you think won't go down well or will be unpopular.
Attaching credibility to information, rumours and comments without factual support and without having asked for the facts through the right channels.

Learn by doing

Find information on the vision, strategy, objectives and projects of MSF.

Learn about the MSF history and background to understand decisions and debates.

Get into the habit of reviewing articles related to the concerns, interests and initiatives of MSF every week.

Attend and take part in debates, in-house discussions or working groups. Take part as a volunteer in awareness-raising and dissemination activities. Participate in the MSF association.

With regard to MSF decisions that you think will not have the right uptake or impact, think and look for information about why they were made to be able to understand them, accept them and make them your own.

If you've worked in the field try and convey your experiences to those who haven't had that opportunity. If you've never been in the field, find people who have and ask them about their experience.

Make sure everyone is equally involved. Just because a staff member hasn't been in the field doesn't mean they are less likely to understand certain situations, but if they don't, try to explain it so they can understand.

Talk to your colleagues and your supervisor; ask questions.

If you're the supervisor, talk to your team. Ask if they know the MSF principles. Explain and facilitate access to basic documentation. Hold meetings or provide spaces where they can voice their queries or motivations with regard to the MSF project/mission.

Put staff in positions or posts in which they have to defend the position of MSF or that entail additional effort, accompanying them and offering your support as manager.

Provide your colleagues with information on MSF. Facilitate access to the Operational Library, Documentation Centre and Intranet. 

Learning through interaction, games and applications

The Photographer. D Lefèvre, E Guibert, F. Lemercier 2011.

Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City. Guy Delisle. 2011.

Burma Chronicles. Guy Delisle. 2008.

Blue Pills. Frederik Peeters. 2001.

Out of Somalia. A Caprez, C. Schuler, 2011.édicos-sin-Fronteras

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

Living in Emergency. Mark Hopkins. 2009.

First Mission. Boris Paval Conen. 2010.

MSF (Un)limited. MSF OCB. 2011.

L'aventure MSF. Patrick Benquet, Anne Vallaeys. 2006.

MSF 40 YEARS. Armelle Loiseau. 2011.

Hotel Rwanda. Terry George. 2004.

City of God. Fernando Meirelles. 2002.

The Constant Gardener. Fernando Meirelles. 2005.

The Pianist. Roman Polanski. 2002.

Triage: Dr James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma. Patrick Reed. 2009.

The Killing Fields. Roland Joffé. 1984.

Back to 1942. Feng Xiaogang. 2012.

Aftershock. Feng Xiaogang. 2010.

Underground. Emir Kusturica. 1995.

City of Life and Death. Lu Chuan. 2009.

In the Valley of Elah. Paul Haggis. 2007.

To Shoot an Elephant. Alberto Arce, Mohammad Rujailah. 2009.

The Impossible. Juan Antonio Bayona. 2012.

Plácido. Luis García Berlanga. 1961.

The Battle of Algiers. Gillo Pontecorvo. 1965.

Amazing Grace. Michael Apted. 2006.

Twenty-Four eyes. Keisuke Kinoshita. 1954.

Cry Freetown. Sorious Samura. 2000. 

Learn by reading

A Bed for the Night. David Rieff. 2003.   

La médecine humanitaire. Rony Brauman. 2009. 

An Imperfect Offering. J. Orbinski. 2009.   

Vidas sin Fronteras. Bru Rovira. 2010.

A Memory of Solferino. Henry Dunant. 1986.   

MSF: crónicas para el recuerdo. Pilar Petit. 2003.   

Misión en África. Felicitas Ibáñez. 2009.   

Africa is Contagious. S. Van de Vijver. 2010.

Condemned to Repeat? The Paradox of Humanitarian Action. Fiona Terry. 2002.   

An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action for the 21st. Century. J. Orbinski. 2009.   

Hope in Hell: Inside the World of Doctors Without Borders. Dan Bortolotti 2004.   

The Selfish Altruist: Relief Work in Famine and War. Tony Vaux. 2003.   

Memoir of Baron Larrey: Surgeon-In-Chief of the Grande Army (1861). D. J. Larrey. 2010.   

Albert Schweitzer's Ethical Vision A Sourcebook. Predrag Cicovacki. 2009.

Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale. G. Gill. 2004.   

Season of Blood. Fergal Keane. 1997.   

Rwanda and Genocide in the Twentieth Century. Alain Destexhe. 1995.   

Killing the Cranes. Edward Girardet. 2011.   

The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster. Jonathan M. Katz. 2013.   

A brief account of the destruction of the Indies. Bartolomé de las Casas. 1999.   

The Bureaucrats. Honoré Balzac. 1838.   

Invisible Cities. Italo Calvino. 1998.  

Learn on the Internet

Learn by training

PPD or SANOU course

Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA. 

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

Take part in induction briefings for new MSF staff
Participate and get involved in the FAD, General Assemblies (GA)
Mentoring, buddying.


The capacity to acknowledge, respect and integrate cultural differences in a way that facilitates the achievement of MSF’s objectives.

Key words and concepts

Tolerance, diversity, cultures, customs, adapting to difference, gender, language, language, practices, traditions, race, religion, background, anthropology, sociology, listening, difference, stereotypes, complexity, acceptance, awareness, dignity

Results of developing this competence

Improving your own competencies by being ready to accept and learn from different cultures.

Improving relationships with the team (colleagues, supervisors, etc.) by being seen as someone who values and respects cultural differences.

Showing an open, inclusive attitude towards other people with different norms to your own.

Improving relationships with the people we aid by being seen as someone who recognises and accepts cultural norms.

Accepting and supporting points of view and criteria that will benefit MSF, even though they're different.

Achieving more quality in the objectives of the social mission by means of good integration. 

Ineffective behaviour

Seeing all work situations as equal and apply the same criteria to all time and again.

Preferring to work alone or with people you know, who you know have the same type of ideas and approaches.

Refusing to understand others’ cultural codes or languages.

Not showing an effort to achieve the language competencies required by the post.

Thinking that your own system of work is the right one and not listening to other options or approaches.

Discriminating against team colleagues on the grounds of origin and/or culture.

Not showing an interest in learning about cultural norms and other points of view.

Not accepting or adapting to situations with different cultural norms.

Discriminating against others on the grounds of gender, age, religion, social or ethnic origin. 

Learn by doing

- The aim of cross-cultural awareness is for differing cultures to interact on equal terms. You also belong to a culture. Your value judgments and prejudices are part of your culture. Don't be too quick to judge.

- The first time you come into contact with a culture you're more likely to see what your cultures have in common. When you meet someone from the same culture as you, you're more likely to see individual differences. Bear this in mind when you're analysing a situation. Take into account both dimensions - cultural and individual, and avoid generalisations.

-  Some people experience a culture shock. In most cases, by talking about it they realise that what was initially a difference is not any longer or can be overcome.

- Understand and accept social diversity as something that is enriching professionally, personally and collectively.

-  Assess the way you interact with people from other cultures, if you try to understand what they say, if you ask questions respectfully, if you try to reach mutual understanding. Listen; not only watch what you say, but also how you say it, who you say it to and when you say it in your interaction with people from other cultures.

- Try not to compare cultures, particularly in a negative way. Nothing is better or worse; things are simply different.

- Have an open attitude towards what's new. Don't interpret differences as a personal attack. Express an interest in learning and finding out about other ways of understanding the world and other ways of doing things. In the event of a conflict, talk to the person to make sure it isn't a misunderstanding due to cultural differences in the way things are said.

- Behind every person's actions (including our own) there's an identity, a culture, a story, etc. that define us. Interaction in diversity is enriching. Seek out opportunities to talk informally with colleagues, co-workers and other people. Take an interest in others' life experiences, outlooks and cultural practices. Take part in work groups with people who are different to you. Put the emphasis on understanding rather than persuading.

- Learn the local language. People appreciate the effort, even if it is only a few words and basic and courtesy expressions.

- Use the language of the mission in workspaces. Be patient if your colleagues speak a language that you don't understand during leisure time. It might be necessary for you to have a mental break. 

Learning through interaction, games and applications

- Meeting with Neo. Intercultural awareness Role Play. MSF OCBA/MSF DK

- Cultural Briefing. Group debate about cultural differences in a work environment. MSF OCB.




- Zeitoun. Dave Eggers. 2010.

- FPCT (First Person Cultural Trainer).

- Footnotes in Gaza. Joe Sacco. 2010.

La mémoire dans les poches. Luc Brunschwig, Étienne Le Roux. 2009.

- Nylon Road. Parsua Bashi. 2009.

- Couleour de peau miel. Jung Sik Jun. 2009.

- Persepolis. Marjane Satrapi. 2007. 

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

- Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran. François Dupeyron. 2003.

- Bread and Roses. Ken Loach. 2000.

- The Visitor. Thomas McCarthy. 2007.

- Gran Torino. Clint Eastwood. 2008.

- District 9. Neill Blomkamp. 2009.

- The Battle of Okinawa. Kihachi Okamoto. 1971.

- Avatar. James Cameron. 2009.

- My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Joel Zwick. 2002.

- The Mission. Roland Joffé. 1986.

- 3 Idiots. Rajkumar Hirani. 2009.

  The Flower Island. Jorge Furtado. 1989.

  Rabbit-Proof Fence. Phillip Noyce. 2002.

  God's Horses. Nabil Ayouch. 2012.

  Binta and the Great Idea. Javier Fesser. 2004.

  In the Heat of the Night. Norman Jewison.1967.

  The Human Pyramid. Jean Rouch. 1961.

  Les Maitres fous (The Mad Masters). Jean Rouch. 1955.

  The Chess Players. Satyajit Ray. 1977.

  The Immigrant. Charles Chaplin. 1917.

  The Teahouse of the August Moon. Daniel Mann. 1956. 

Learn by reading

- In the Eyes of Others. Caroline Abu-Sada. 2012. - Intercultural communication. Alsina Rodrigo. 1999.

- An introduction to intercultural communication. Fred E. Jandt.

- Africa is contagious. Steven van de Vijver. 2010.

- The Innocent Anthropologist. Nigel Barley. 1989.

- A Plague of Caterpillars: A Return to the African Bush. Nigel Barley. 2007.

- What is the What. Dave Eggers.2007 

- On human diversity. Tzvetan Todorov. 2003. 

- The Art of Crossing Cultures. Storti, Craig; 2001. 

- Making Diversity Work: Seven Steps for Defeating Bias in Workplace. S. Thiederman. 2003. 

- Building on the Promise of Diversity. R. Roosevelt Thomas. 2006. 

- Managing Diversity: The Courage to Lead. Elsie Y. Cross; 2000. 

- Developing Competence to Manage Diversity. Taylor H. Cox, Ruby L. Beale. 1997 

- Capitalizing On Workplace Diversity. Richard Y. Chang. 1996.

- Into the Heart of Borneo. Redmond O'Hanlon. 1984.

- The Savage Mind. Claude Levi-Strauss. 1997.

- Ebony. R. Kapucincsky. 2003.

- Journal de voyage: Lettres à son Mari. Alexandra David-Neel. 1999.

- Exploring culture, exercises, stories and synthetic cultures. Hofsede, Gert Jan, Pedersen. 2002.

- Snow. Orhan Pamuk. 2005.

- Cultural Intelligence: Living and Working Globally. David C. Thomas, Kerr Inkson. 2009.

- The Crusades Through Arab Eyes. Amin Maalouf. 1983.

- A profile of the interculturally effective person. T. Vulpe, D. Kealey, D. Protheroe and D. MacDonald.2001.


Maintains effectiveness in achieving objectives by adapting to changing circumstances, contexts, tasks, responsibilities and people. 

Key words and concepts

Resilience, adaptability, frustration tolerance, equality, change management, social norms, willingness, unexpected, constructive, positive outlook

Results of developing this competence

- Improving competencies by being willing to learn and accept new ideas.
- Being able to find bigger and better alternatives to solve problems.
- Improving relationships with the team (colleagues, managers, etc.) by being seen as someone who is open, discrete is willing to adapt to new circumstances.
- Improving in the ability to adapt to changes that have a bearing on short-, medium- and long-term performance, thereby contributing to MSF's global objective.
- More willingness to take on additional or unexpected responsibilities.
- Managing difficult or unexpected situations effectively and keeping a personal balance.

Ineffective behaviour

- Always sticking exactly to rules, ruling out options that entail making an exception to the rules.
- Carrying out your own duties according to the job description but not accepting changes or new tasks that are vital to respond to the needs of the organisation.
- Showing passive and/or active resistance to any change.
- Preferring to work alone or with people who you know have the same opinions.
- Not helping to enact proposed changes. Not helping colleagues to understand the reasons behind changes.
- Not seeking tailor-made solutions to an unexpected situation.
- Not showing an interest in acknowledging the reasons behind changes. Not taking on new tasks at work.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

- What diversity is and how it manifests itself at work and in the community.
- How to work in multicultural or different settings.

- How to handle and promote a diverse work force.

- Handling resistance to change.

- Mentoring

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays en anexo: See folder “Attachments” > subfolder “3. Flexibility”

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA. 

Learn on the Internet 

Learn by reading

- Cómo mejorar tus habilidades sociales. Elia Roca. 2007.

- The Humanitarian Companion. John H. Ehrenreich, 2005.

- Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience. Laurence Gonzales. 2012.

- Global Dexterity: How to adapt your behavior across cultures without losing yourself in the process. Andy Molinsky. .2013.

- The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently ... and Why. Richard Nisbett. 2004.

- Free the Beagle. A Journey to Destiny. RH. Williams. 2002- Free the Beagle. A Journey to Destiny. RH. Williams. 2002 

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

- Castaway. Robert Zemeckis. 2000. 

Alive. Frank Marshall. 1993. 

The Odd Couple. Gene Saks. 1968. 

Tanguy. Étienne Chatiliez. 2001. 

The Shawshank Redemption. Frank Darabont. 1994. 

Agora. Alejandro Amenábar. 2009. 

Marathon. Jeong Yoon-chul. 2005. 

The Old Man and the Sea. Aleksandr Petrov. 1999. 

Crash . Paul Haggis 2004. 

Chariots of Fire. Hugh Hudson. 1981. 

Barbarossa. Akira Kurosawa. 1965. 

A Dog's Life. Charles Chaplin. 1918. 

The Help. Tate Taylor. 2011. 

In the Name of the Father. Jim Sheridan. 1993. 

Cool Hand Luke. Stuart Rosenberg. 1967. 

The Road. John Hillcoat. 2009. 

Harrison's Flowers. Elie Chouraqui. 2000. 

Into the Wild. Sean Penn. 2007. 

War witch. Kim Nguyen. 2013. 

Learning through interaction, games and applications
- NumberOne. Stroop Effect.

Learn by doing

- Keep an open, inclusive attitude towards other people with different opinions to your own. Express an interest in learning and finding out about other ways of understanding the world and other ways of doing things. Take part in different work groups to learn from others and achieve a common goal.

- Listen to others even though their opinions are different to yours; use techniques to listen, understand and respond.

- In situations of change or differences of opinion, identify the opportunities and positive dimensions these afford. Help others to understand and accept changes, highlighting the benefits they may bring.

- Seize the chance to go beyond conventional ideas and solutions. Learn from non-MSF people who have differing ideas and experiences. Adapt the direction of a project according to others' suggestions.

- Have brainstorming sessions and when something comes up that you think can't be achieved, explore all options and encourage your colleagues to use their imagination.

- Observe other teams that identify opportunities for change and that handle change effectively. Learn and identify strategies that can be used.

- Make presentations about the progress of projects, anticipating and preparing for people's reactions.

- Assess the way you interact with people from other cultures, if you try to understand what they say, if you ask questions respectfully, if you try to reach mutual understanding. Watch not just what you say, but also how you say it, who you say it to and when you say it. 

- Talk to your supervisor to analyse concrete situations in which you could improve your flexibility and weigh up the various possibilities they put to you. Think about these alternatives and put them into action. This will make you more flexible in future situations.

- Assess your actions in previous situations of change. Analyse what you did successfully to deal with it. Ask for feedback from colleagues who have direct knowledge of your efforts to handle change.


The ability to maintain a positive attitude and keep personal emotions under control, and the capacity to perform tasks in a persistently stressful or frustrating situation, while acknowledging his/her own stress limits and responding appropriately. 

Key words and concepts

Tolerance, stress management, self-awareness, calm, meditation, reaction, integrity, self-confidence, intuition, self-esteem, balance, work-life balance, respect

Results of developing this competence

- Controlling emotions with a positive attitude under stress.

- Keeping intense emotions under control when reacting.

- Capable of managing stressful situations and reducing stress in others.

- Staying effective under pressure, adversity and/or frustration.

- Staying focused and concentrated on work tasks and using time and energy productively in critical situations, stress, emergencies and heavy workloads.

- Staying positive and keeping personal relationships constructive when under stress.

- Being capable of managing difficult or demanding relationships and various styles of work.

- Being capable of recognising boundaries and reacting appropriately.

- Managing fatigue to be able to keep responding to needs over time.

Ineffective behaviour

- Losing control of the situation in stressful circumstances.

- In critical situations, emergencies or heavy workloads, becoming verbally negative, aggressive and/or discouraged, without taking actions to rationalise or rectify the situation.

- Allowing personal circumstances to affect professional situations and vice versa.

- Reacting to someone else's aggressive tone.

- Using a stressful situation to let off steam with the other person and expressing emotions that may become aggressive or offensive (shouting, insulting, discrediting, etc.) without thinking about the consequences.

- Not using coping mechanisms to handle everyday situations but being carried along by them.

- Showing impatience, nervousness and rigidity in all situations that do not go as planned or are felt to be ‘a pressure’.

- Not being capable of identifying and recognising the impact that your own emotions have on your work.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

- Guideline for emotional management and intervention after a critical incident. MSF OCBA. 

- Stress and energy management techniques such as Yoga or Tai Chi, 

- Martial arts, sports, music. 

- Attend training groups to combat stress based on mindfulness 

- Participate in emotional debriefing groups and organized support in operational centres or seek advice from the psychological/social officers at HQ 

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays. See folder “Attachments” > subfolder “4. Stress management” 

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA. 

Learn on the Internet

Learn by reading

Stress in the Field, MSF Holland; 2005. 

A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook. Stahl and Goldstein; 2010. 

The humanitarian companion, Ehrenreich, J.H.; 2005. 

Toward Inner Peace. Thich Nhat Hanh, 2010. 

Ayuda para el profesional de la ayuda. Psicofisiología de la fatiga por compasión. Rothschild, B.; 2009 

Emotional intelligence. Goleman, D. 1999. 

Programa para el control del estrés. H.Robles and MI Peralta. 2006. 

Cómo desarrollar la inteligencia emocional. Torrabadella, P. 2001. 

Guía práctica para superar el estrés. CE Hill., 2001. 

Training in Interpersonal Skills Stephen P. Robbins; Phillip L. Hunsaker; 2006. 

Touching the void. Joe Simpson 1988. 

Beyond Anger: Thomas J. Harbin. 2000. 

Stress et burnout au travail. Elisabeth Grebot 2008. 

Nothing special: Living Zen. C. Joao Beck. 2008. 

Heart of Darkness. Joseph Conrad. 1902. 

The god of small things. Arundhati Roy. 1997.

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

The Paper. Ron Howard. 1994. 

The Insider. Michael Mann. 1999. 

A Few Good Men. Rob Reiner. 1996. 

Ordinary People. Robert Redford. 1980. 

Pura Vida. (The Ridge). Paul Iraburu. Migeltxo Molina. 2012. 

No Man's Land. Danis Tanovic. 2001. 

Black Rain. Shohei Imamura. 1989. 

The Lion King. Bradley Raymond. 2004. 

War Photographer. Christian Frei. 2001. 

Thirteen days. Roger Donaldson. 2000. 

Mr. Holland's Opus. Stephen Herek. 1995. 

Forrest Gump. Robert Zemeckis. 1994. 

Back to the Future. Robert Zemeckis. 1985. 

Billy Elliot. Stephen Daldry.2000.

Learning through interaction, games and applications SOS Sports

- Lulu, femme nue. Étienne Davodeau. 2010.

Learn by doing

- Recognizing, feeling and expressing our own emotions is the way to communicate well with ourselves and with others. This entails: being aware of what you feel (emotions), being aware of how you judge a situation (thought) and controlling your reactions (behaviour).

- Think about how you control your emotions, when you lose control and what impact your reactions have on others; how they affect them. Share this with your colleagues and ask for their opinion.

- Identify signals in your body at times of stress or pressure: a higher heart rate, breathing difficulties, tension in your neck, lack of concentration, etc.

- When you think you're getting stressed, it's important to be aware of it. Discovering, feeling and being aware of your emotions is the first step. After this, practice some conscious breathing techniques like filling your lungs, counting to ten, getting out of the situation. Write down and practice a strategy to use every time these signals appear.

- Make a list of all the situations that stress you out. If you can't identify them, ask your friends and family. Carry out a brief analysis of why they're stressful for you: fear of failing, insecurity, lack of trust, frustration, etc.

- In a frustrating situation, practice getting it into perspective and rationalising energy constructively.

- In ongoing stressful situations, use steps and strategies to avoid stress building up and having long-term effects (such as back problems, skin problems, etc.). If you're struggling to put into practice stress-reducing techniques, find a good self-help book or seek expert advice. Following their suggestions will help you regain your well-being and health.

- To prevent and curb stress try:

  - Having a healthy diet. o Getting enough sleep.

  - Exercising daily.

  - Organising your time and work rationally: draw up schedules including breaks.

  - Dealing with problems as soon as possible. Don't put them off for later.

  - Improving your self-esteem: give yourself little rewards when you achieve targets.

  - Staying on good terms with others, reinforcing positive conduct in the people around you and criticising constructively.

- Carrying out physical and conscious relaxation activities (yoga, exercise, dance, gardening, hydrotherapy, reading, etc.) that suit your tastes and personality.

- Practice mindfulness.

- Stress is sometimes due to conflict between people. Solving conflicts caused by differences of opinion in the team requires diplomacy and cooperation in the team. Analyse your role in the conflict; this is where the conflict resolution and management process really starts.

- Ask someone in your team if you work in the same way when you are in stressful situations. Ask them to describe the situation and how you work, with concrete examples. Then think about how you'd like to work in these situations. Try to listen and control your voice, gestures and movements. Add this to your list of ‘How to react to stressful situations’ and assess how you do. Share this information with team members to get their opinion and/or advice.

- Talk to your supervisor or colleagues when your work gets too much for you to hear different ideas and be able to tackle your work calmly.

- Tell your supervisor about the tasks you find most stressful.

- React to change positively and productively.

- Adapt quickly to new settings, responsibilities and people.

- Know your limits and respect them.



The ability to analyse a situation, its time sequences and cause–effect relationships, in order to set priorities based on rational judgment

Key words and concepts

Thesis, antithesis, hypothesis, data, factor, urgency, importance, deduction, induction, logic, critical thinking, problems, arguments, decision, visualising, time sequences, cause/effect relationship, process

Results of developing this competence

- Preventing possible obstacles and anticipating what steps need to be taken as a benchmark for planning actions and activities to carry out.
- The ability to make realistic decisions in line with the possibilities of MSF, the environment or the circumstances at any given time.
- Knowing how to gather all information to anticipate the results of an action in a realistic time frame, mitigating any risks that may arise.
- Being critically constructive.
- The ability to plan and prioritise activities correctly, ensuring the objective set is achieved.
- Systematically identifying, separating and evaluating the components of a situation.

Ineffective behaviour

- Carrying out actions impulsively, without previously analysing the results or possible consequences of action.
- Not being able to draw up a simple list of tasks or activities to be done according to urgency or priority.
- When faced with complex problems, not being able to identify possible causes or explanations for them, nor the repercussions they may have.
- Letting yourself be carried along by day-to-day emergencies.
- No clear direction on priorities.
- Not weighing up the pros and cons before making a decision.
- Interpretations of situations are based on preconceived ideas.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

- Logic and maths games, sudoku, chess, word clouds 

- Mind maps 

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays. See folder “Attachments” > subfolder ”5. Analytical thinking” 

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA. 

Learn on the Internet

Learn by reading

Project cycle management guidelines. EC. 1993. 

El enfoque del marco lógico: 10 casos prácticos. Camacho, H.; 2001. 

Diagrama de flujos. J. Porras. 

Cómo guiar eficazmente su pensamiento. Sanson, P. 1992. 

Teaching Thinking. Debono, E. 1991. 

- Mystery novels. Agatha Christie. 

Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis. J. Richards. Heuer, 2010. 

The coming plague: Newly emerging diseases in a world out of balance. L. Garrett. 1995. 

The Black Swan. Nassim N. Taleb. 2007. 

Asking the right questions. M. Neil Browne. 2011.

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

The Usual Suspects. Bryan Singer. 1995. 

Inside Man. Spike Lee. 2006. 

Memento. Christopher Nolan. 2000. 

Wag the Dog. Barry Levinson. 1997. 

Dangerous Liaisons. Stephen Frears. 1988. 

Babel. Alejandro González Iñárritu. 2006 

12 Angry Men. Sydney Lumet. 1957

In the Name of the Rose. Jean Jacques Annaud. 1986. 

Identity. J Mangold. 2003.

Learning through interaction, games and applications 

- Memory. 

- Le Havre. 

- A force. 

- Backyard Monsters. 

- Cut the rope. 

- Portal. 

- Ancestry.

Learn by doing

- Observe colleagues or co-workers who have shown they have good analytical competencies or have anticipated a problem. Ask them how they dealt with the situation, what steps they took and why. 

- Think about specific situations when you have managed to think analytically and others when you haven't. Talk about it with a colleague or friend and ask for their opinion about how you could improve this competence. 

- When you're faced with a complex situation:
  - Break it down into smaller, more manageable parts.
  - Getting all the right, reliable information is essential. Ask key people what their understanding of the situation is and which events have had the most repercussions.
  - Think about possible solutions. Analyse the consequences of each possible solution, the pros and contras, and the impact on the situation that needs to be solved. Also think about the next steps to take, the people who'll be involved, and their reaction. Good analysis is the best ally to prevent or mitigate situations that arise from decisions made.
  - Once you've done this, make any changes that you think appropriate to the solution. 

- Identify priority relationships, hierarchy, cause and effect before drawing conclusions or offering solutions to a problem. 

- Use appropriate tools (graphs, algorithms, maps, tables, etc.) for analysis, identifying the elements of a situation, and recognize information gaps to come up with an adequate and timely solution. 

- Algorithms are a set of rules to solve a certain type of problem and make certain decisions. They are actions that are performed in an orderly manner to reach a solution to a problem. Algorithms must meet the following characteristics: set out an order to be followed in every step; be defined (reliable); if they are performed twice they must achieve the same result; and they must be finite, i.e. end after a given number of steps. 

- Write a list of the problems you observe over the course of a few weeks. Identify possible trends or connections between them. Schedule a time every fortnight to analyse your list (common points, differences and patterns). Identify all available information as well as the information you need to solve a problem. Try to get to the bottom of the problem and talk to the people involved to find out their perspective and the solutions they come up with. 

- Making priorities isn't always easy or welcomed by all. Therefore, good prior analysis of the situation is vital. Acknowledge any difficulties you find in setting priorities. It might make you anxious because you have to choose, which can sometimes give rise to dilemmas. Ask for support from your supervisor and/or colleagues. They can probably help with the prior analysis. 

- As a manager, offer support with the points discussed above. Giving examples of past events, even if you think the situation was completely different, can be a great help. Provide tools or do workshops to discuss a specific issue, if necessary, to gain further analysis and be able to make a decision.


The capacity to identify, articulate and communicate principles, ideas and priorities in order to channel efforts and resources towards the social mission of MSF. The ability to link day-to-day work with the long-term objectives to be achieved. 

Key words and concepts

Anticipation, priorities, objective, outlook, social mission, communication, social intelligence, important, urgent, plan, policy, values, long term, value, opportunities, critical thinking

Results of developing this competence

- Identifying potential problems before they occur and being able to decide if action needs to be taken.
- Effective problem-solving, considering each and every relevant variable. Identifying opportunities in advance or long-term projects for your team/service/department and, according to those opportunities, selecting and drafting action plans that are most likely to succeed.
- Recognising and assessing potential threats to organisational objectives.
- Developing and using criteria to guide decisions, bearing in mind factors such as: costs, benefits, risks, time, etc.
- Managing and considering risks and opportunities.
- Ability to develop objectives geared towards the social mission.

Ineffective behaviour

- Planning your own work with regard to short-term commitments and deadlines.
- Being reactive and constantly putting out fires.
- Setting objectives that are beneficial to your team/service/department, at the expense of the strategic priorities of the organisation.
- Focusing on measures related to the success of your team/service/department without considering the impact this may have on other teams/services/departments in the Organisation.
- Using only sporadic data and data regarding a specific situation regardless of past experience in similar situations.
- Lack of long-term vision (more than three years in the future)
- Failing to act in line with the principles, values and agreed vision in MSF.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

- Basic principles for setting a strategy. 

- Turning vision into action. 

- Efforts to make big changes. 

- Generating, considering and evaluating alternatives. 

- Evaluating threats and opportunities linked to the choice of strategy. 

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays. See folder “Attachments” > subfolder “6. Strategic vision”

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA.

Learn on the Internet

Learn by reading

Creating and Implementing Your Strategic Plan: A Workbook for Public and Non-Profit Organisations. Bryson, JM and Alston, FK.; 2001. 

Transformar con éxito las ONG: el liderazgo del cambio. Ignasi Carreras, Maria Iglesias, Maria Sureda. 2010. 

Strategy Maps. Robert S. Kaplan; David Norton. 2004. 

Crafting Strategy in an Uncertain World. Courtney, H.; 2001 

The Tom Peters seminar: crazy times call for crazy organizations. Peters, Tom. 1994 

Técnicas para saber aprender. Parrilla Salas, M.; 1987 

Cómo aprender a razonar. Dumont, J. 1987 

Handbook of Business Problem Solving. Albert, KJ. 1979 

The Fifth Discipline, Senge, P. 1993 

Strategic Thinking. Andy Bruce; Ken Langdon. 2007. 

The Persian Boy. Mary Renault. 2005 

Empire of Ashes. Nicholas Nicastro. 1998 

Strategic Management of Health Care Organisations. Swayne, Duncan, Ginter. 2009. 

Humanitarianism in question. Michel Barnett, T Weiss.2008. 

The Art of War. Sun Tzu.

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

Invictus. Clint Eastwood. 2009. 

Origin. Christopher Nolan. 2010. 

Dangerous Liaisons. Stephen Frears. 1988. 

Bowfinger. Frank Oz. 1999. 

Troy. Wolfgang Peterson. 2004. 

Ocean's Eleven. Steven Soderbergh. 2001. 

Alexander. Oliver Stone. 2004. 

Lincoln. Steven Spielberg. 2013.

Learning through interaction, games and applications

- Plague. Inc. 

- Eclipse. Board Game. Asmodee 

- Ziggurat. 

- MindJet

Learn by doing

- To define medium- and long-term plans it is important to identify what objectives we want to achieve, the main ways to achieve them, how the work should be performed, and the strengths and areas for improvement in a realistic way.
- Find information on the MSF vision, strategy, objectives and future projects of and define the role of your team in MSF as a whole.
- To obtain the best information, ask other people directly (set up specific meetings for this purpose) or indirectly, observe complaints or problems and add what you think is appropriate. Both should be done continuously and regularly. Identify the key factors in the problem you're working on; create a new way of interpreting it.
- Close your eyes and imagine the ideal outcome of what you want to propose. Make a list without prejudice, fears or boundaries. Write down your ideas.
- It is vital to set aside time to analyse and think - this is just as important as day-to-day tasks. Plan actions and set priorities in activities to achieve strategic directions.
- If you have difficulties in doing this, try to identify someone who has already developed this competence. Approach that person and observe how they establish strategies. Try thinking how they would do it. If you are responsible for setting strategic directions, examine your approach with people who have been successful in these or other areas.
- Analyse actions and objectives, identifying those that are in line with MSF principles.
- Identify what has already been achieved and what has not. With regard to the latter, try to identify why they have not been achieved, and what steps you should take to achieve them. Use any analytical methodology to help you pinpoint pros and cons before selecting the most appropriate strategy(s). Consider potential negative results.
- Evaluate what resources you have now and in the future so that the plan will materialize more realistically. Study innovations made by other organisations. Rate different options, even those that are most new.
- Make a list of resources you should consult before developing alternative strategies. Gather information and knowledge outside your own functional area.
- Share conclusions with your colleagues/supervisor and set up teamwork sessions to incorporate new ideas, visions and strategies.
- Collect the work and write down the objectives or action lines identified. Remember that you should always link plans to the social mission objectives and the principles and values to which we subscribe and collectively.
- Examine the data and past trends to find differences and similarities, make hypotheses, and offer possibilities for future trends. Make a summary and present your findings. Create a conceptual model or a diagram showing a summary of your findings.
- Perform an in-depth analysis of a situation or problem that you find attractive or interesting. Collect information, make hypotheses and draft an executive summary as an additional personal exercise to the activity that you are developing, measuring yourself against a clear development objective.
- Communicate the strategy consistently. Make an executive presentation or map outlining the whole process.
- Communicate it in a comprehensible manner. Be open to suggestions and proposals. Consider the possibility of integrating them before saying yes or no. Answer any questions that arise.



The drive and tenacity to achieve the defined objectives and to implement efficient solutions within a set timeframe, with the given resources and in accordance with the established procedures and models; the will to constantly seek improvement in the performance of his/her own tasks and actions 

Key words and concepts

Quality, accountability, objectives, effectiveness, efficiency, transparency, assessment, review, self-critique, models, procedures, improvement, policies, protocols, ambition, problem-solving, action, practice, relevance, impact, problem-solving

Results of developing this competence

- Doing the job with a clear structure of priorities for orientation towards achieving MSF's objectives.
- Prioritising achievement of results for the organisation, department or team, with a view to obtaining better results and quality.
- Seeking out and taking on new challenges and responsibilities
- Ongoing improvements to work quality, thereby having a positive bearing on the end results of the organisation.
- Professionally developing beyond expectations in your post.
- Focusing on things you can change, instead of investing time or energy in things that cannot be changed.

Ineffective behaviour

- The standards and objectives or targets that are set are easy to achieve and don't entail any additional effort to improve the results achieved.
- Avoiding situations that may entail a challenge, difficulty, conflict or differing opinions.
- Obtaining poor results and being satisfied with mediocre performance to stay in your current post.
- Doing little to improve the results of the team you belong to.
- Accepting things as they are without trying to improve them.
- Needing to be led and encouraged to initiate new actions.
- Showing shortcomings in work quality and yield, lack of concern about checking the result or minimum standards that are set.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

- Planning Matrix 

- MSF protocols or guidelines and policies. Appraisals and critical reviews. 

- MSF training for technical matters 

- Objective-based management (staff assessment) 

- Management chart 

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays. See folder “Attachments” > subfolder “7. Orientation to results”

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA.

Learn on the Internet

Learn by reading

Cómo conseguir lo mejor de uno mismo y de los demás. Rodger, B.; 2001. 

The Magic of Thinking Big. Schwartz, D.J.; 2000. 

In Search Of Excellence. Waterman and Peters; 1984. 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey, Steven. 1997 

Le guide de la communication. Jean-Claude Martin. 2005. 

Seven steps to better written policies and procedures. Stephen Page. 2010. 

Memoir Of Baron Larrey: Surgeon-In-Chief Of The Grande Army (1861). Dominique Jean Larrey. 2010.

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

The Paper. Ron Howard. 1994. 

The King's Speech. Tom Hooper. 2010. 

Groundhog Day. Harold Ramis. 1993. 

The English Surgeon. Geoffrey Smith 2007. 

12 Angry Men. Sidney Lumet. 1957. 

Humanitaire, le prix de l'action. MSF. 2011. 

Chariots of Fire. Hugh Hudson. 1981. 

Billy Elliot. Stephen Daldry. 2000. 

Breaking Away. Peter Yates. 1979

Learning through interaction, games and applications

- Triage Trainer TruSim, 2009. - SCM Globe.

Learn by doing

- A clear definition of global and personal objectives is key to develop this competence. It is also vital to know the quality standards and protocols of the organisation.
- To achieve good quality results it is important to draw up a plan for achievement of tasks/objectives. Look for opportunities to improve in everything you do and explore new ways of doing things (with better quality, lower cost, etc.). Identify basic performance indicators and prioritise their importance.
- Try to imagine how you would feel if you achieved your most important objectives. Think about the satisfaction this would give you.
- If the objective is a medium- or long-term one, draw up a successive plan of actions and regularly check if you're sticking to it and moving towards the planned results appropriately and with quality. If this isn't the case, change it.
- Use your resources (time, money, materials, etc.) optimally to get the maximum benefit from them. Use your imagination to suggest ways to improve work methods.
- When you have set an objective in your post and have shared it and discussed it with others, draw up and implement an action plan that will allow you to achieve it in the planned time frame.
- Identify your own criteria or indicators to measure how well you are achieving your targets or objectives. These indicators may be quantitative (deadlines, volumes, etc.) or qualitative (service quality perception, congratulations/complaints, continuity, etc.)
- Look at every detail, and revise your projects and your responsibilities, seeking efficiency in all your actions. Set concrete objectives to achieve more efficiency and quality.
- Seek out opportunities to take on more responsibilities or new projects. Do it gradually to make sure you feel comfortable and every time you make an improvement or progress in your objectives, congratulate yourself and encourage yourself to keep making more effort.
- Identify with your supervisor to identify the best techniques that other team members use and start bringing them to your work.
- As supervisor, provide tools that help to facilitate follow-up of objectives and their quality. Talk to your colleagues and/or supervisor about new tools in the event the current ones aren't appropriate for the situation.
- As manager or supervisor, foster team involvement in awareness of the objectives, their attainment and follow-up if necessary, either in individual or group meetings. In some cases sessions to review scorecards may be useful, to gain a global and individual vision of contributions to the overall objective.
- When it is significant to a conversation or meeting in MSF, offer any facts and/or technical or specialist information that you know. Do so with a view to helping the team and the organisation to make better decisions that are better informed.


The ability to understand and address the needs of patients, other beneficiaries and clients* in general.

*The word “clients” covers all people to whom MSF offers service: patients, beneficiaries, internal clients, external clients. 

Key words and concepts

Empathy, sympathy, closeness, support, listening, vulnerability, dignity, honesty, communities, needs, accountability, transparency, dedication, integrity, love, care, identification, service, compassion

Results of developing this competence

- Giving a rapid, efficient response to requests from patients, beneficiaries and clients, in pursuit of useful solutions.
- Fully knowing current and future needs and seeking short- and long-term benefits for the patient, beneficiary and client.
- Going beyond what the patient, beneficiary and client expect of you.
- Anticipating the needs of the patient, beneficiary and client.
- Listening actively and empathetically.

Ineffective behaviour

- Assuming that if the patient, beneficiary and client doesn't explicitly complain or make claims, the service is of high quality.
- Once a strategy has been set out for a given patient, beneficiary or client, focusing on putting it into practice without taking into account the repercussions it may have.
- Not investing time in following up a service provided.
- Thinking that you know the needs and expectations of the patient, beneficiary and client on the basis of past experience, without bothering to check or update them.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

- Listen actively 

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays. See folder “Attachments” > subfolder “8. Orientation to service” 

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA.

Learn by reading

A complaint is a gift. Barlow, J. 2000. 

Personal Quality: The Basis of All Other Quality. Moller, C. 2004. 

Transformar con éxito las ONG: el liderazgo del cambio. Carreras, Iglesias, Sureda. 2010. 

Life in Crisis: The Ethical Journey of Doctors without Borders. Peter Redfield. 2013. 

The Florence Prescription: From Accountability to Ownership. Joe Tye, Dick Schwab. 2009. 

Mountains Beyond Mountains. Tracy Kidder. 2009. 

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance. Atul Gawande. 2008. 

The Plague. Albert Camus. 1047.

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

- Invisibles. Javier Bardem. 2005. 

The Cider House Rules. Lasse Hallström. 1999. 

Fire in the Blood. Dylan Mohan Gray. 2012. 

300. Zack Snyder. 2007. 

Yesterday. Darrell James Roodt. 2004. 

Black. Sanjay Leela Bhansali. 2005. 

Turtles Can Fly. Bahman Ghobadi. 2004. 

Thank You for Smoking. Jason Reitman. 2005. 

Michael Clayton. Tony Gilroy. 2007. 

Tucker: The Man and His Dream. Francis F. Coppola. 1985. 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Milos Forman. 1975. 

Philadelphia. Jonathan Demme. 1993. 

The Remains of the Day. James Ivory. 1994. 

Cool Hand Luke. Stuart Rosenberg. 1967.

Learning through interaction, games and applicationsédicos-sin-Fronteras 

Arrugas. Paco Roca. 2008. 

Special exits. Joyce Farmer. 2011. 

Le combat ordinaire. Manu Larcenet. 2004. 

Downstream. Rabaté. 2008.

Learn by doing

- Write a list and go over it with your supervisor to clarify who the beneficiaries and clients are.
- Boost your knowledge about the patient, beneficiary and client: think, dedicate time, effort and resources into finding out about their needs beyond the obvious, also considering their objectives and functions. Analyse what you need to do so that your patient, beneficiary and client can achieve their results and objectives.
- Anticipate and be creative when you offer solutions, without overlooking any cultural differences.
- Learn to analyse your patients', beneficiaries' and clients' problems with them by asking questions. This will help you gather important information, and also show that you are interested in their difficulties.
- Reassure them that you fully understand their concerns, and briefly relay back to them what they have told you. Focus on the person and their situation, sympathise.
- To do so, ask open questions, i.e. questions that require explicit answers beyond yes or no. Ask what their perception of the problem is.
- Be personally responsible for listening to and responding to any claims that your patients, beneficiaries and clients make, putting yourself in their shoes. Before doing or saying anything, focus on listening to their complaint and try to avoid defensive reactions that reveal anger.
- Think about possible solutions and find out if these have already been tried before and what the outcome was. Take into account cultural differences when talking, investigating and acting.
- Think of a situation when you have to deal with a patient, beneficiary or client, put yourself in their shoes and consider how you'd like them to treat you. Share it with a colleague and make a note of any new ideas that come out of the conversation and try to put them into practice when dealing with your patients, beneficiaries and clients.
- Schedule a regular slot in your agenda to deal with your patients, beneficiaries and clients and solve problems related to them. Try to anticipate their needs. Make a follow-up chart and decide how often you're going to meet up with them.
- Find out how satisfied they are with the service you're providing and ask them how it could be better.
- As supervisor, perform follow-up and offer support in situations that require it. Some simple things can really help the members of your team. For example: talk about a similar experience you've had and what you did; provide tools, socio-economic and cultural data that foster better understanding and action. Regular feedback is necessary.
- It is important to inform team members; conflicts may arise due to cultural differences. Foster dialogue to reach understanding from all concerned and consensus in decisions. Pinpoint the causes of possible problems among internal clients and provide solutions as the manager.


The ability to prioritise and set lines of action, optimising resources (material, human, financial, temporal, etc.), ensuring that anticipated results are obtained by means of efficient management of his/her own and colleagues’ work and that assigned responsibilities and functions are clear at all times. 

Key words and concepts

Optimize, efficiency, effectiveness, responsibility, accountability, order, information management, time management, results, routines, holding meetings, objectives, priorities, expectations, protocols, procedures, information search, method

Results of developing this competence

- Performing work with high levels of quality, even higher than expected in the post by paying attention to all aspects.
- Optimizing the resources that are available.
- Enhancing the ability to anticipate issues and/or potential problems.
- Achieving results using available resources efficiently. Increasing the capacity to delegate.
- Compiling a structured and organized file containing useful strategic information.
- Reducing stress levels in people.
- Encouraging the team to organize its own work effectively.
- Increasing effectiveness by cutting the time spent on an activity, meeting, etc.
- Distributed time in a balanced way according to priorities.

Ineffective behaviour

- Acting without knowing or looking at established processes, procedures and/or policies.
- Deliberately ignoring established processes, procedures and/or policies.
- Accepting information received and acting in consequence without a critical vision to analyse the importance of this information and the impact it may have.
- Being unable to find information needed because it has not been filed or is lost due to a disorganised workspace.
- Being unable to delegate. Being unable to set priorities.
- Ineffectively managing one's own time or resources and not investing it or gearing it towards key performance areas.
- Working long hours unproductively.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

- Planning and scheduling work in a service environment. 

- Planning and project management. 

- Setting and managing priorities. 

- How to conduct effective meetings. 

- Coaching, mentoring, buddying. 

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays. See folder “Attachments” > subfolder “9. Planning and organization” 

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA. 

Learn on the Internet

Learn by reading

The Complete Idiot's Guide of Tools for Continuous Improvement and Effective Planning. Baker, S. and Baker, K.; 1998. 

Getting the best out of yourself and others. Rodgers, B.; 2001. 

Tens un email. Teresa Baró. 2010. 

Management for dummies. Bob Nelson, Peter Economy, 2005. 

Time Management Marc Mancini. 2004. 

The Active Manager: How to Plan, Organize, Lead and Control Your Way to Success. DuBrin, Coates. 1999. 

The 25 best time management tools and techniques. Pamela Dodd, Doug Sundheim. 2011. 

Designing Work Groups, Jobs, and Workflow. Hupp, T., Polak, C., and Westgaard, O.; 1995. 

El enfoque del marco lógico manual para la planificación de proyectos orientada mediante objetivos. IUDC/UCM. 1998. 

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. Brian Tracy 2007. 

Préparer une réunion pour mieux l'animer et y participer: réunions de travail et d'information, ordre du jour, timing, choix des participants. Chevalier-Beaumel, 2004. 

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Allen, D. 2002. 

Focal Point: A Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double Your Productivity, and Achieve All Your Goals. Tracy, B. 2001. 

The Three Ways of getting things done. Gerard Fairtlough. 

Successful time management. Patrick Forsyth. 

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. Atul Gawande. 2011.

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

Inside Man. Spike Lee. 2006. 

The Usual Suspects. Bryan Singer. 1995. 

The Great Escape. John Sturges 1962. 

Bowfinger. Frank Oz. 1999. 

Amazing Grace. Michael Apted. 2006. 

Prison Break. Paul Scheuring. 2005.

Learning through interaction, games and applications

Jungle Speed. T. Vuarchex, P. Yakovenko. Asmodée 2002. 

World without End. Devir 2010. 

Forbidden Island. Matt Leacock 2010. 

Sim City. 

Ticket to ride. 

Checkmark Pro (+List wizard)

Learn by doing

- Develop a routine to organize time use. To do this, draw up a daily ‘to do’ list. Identify the most important and priority issues. Always do this at the beginning of the day.
- Analyse if you follow established procedures, processes or standards. These processes have two aims: to facilitate routines and ensure accountability.
- Establish routines for short and long tasks. When you engage in long tasks, avoid interruptions.
- Find someone who has a good reputation for knowing how to establish and manage priorities. Ask this person to give you their support and advice. Consider asking your supervisor and/or colleagues to identify this individual.
- Identify the three most important things carried out in your area of responsibility. At least one of them should be routine (e.g., something that has to be done continuously) and at least one should be a special project (e.g., a new initiative or something that is a one-off effort).
- Prioritize according to importance and urgency. Review your ideas with an experienced advisor who is good at managing priorities. Then break it down into tasks and identify for each what skills, time, team, and resources you will need. Show the task breakdown to someone who knows about scheduling tasks or project work.
- Draw up a schedule/work plan for short-, medium- and long-term work including daily tasks without losing sight of the overall objective. Analyse what happens when you can't keep to the plan you have made. Make appropriate changes. Share it with a colleague who has a similar job. Share doubts, difficulties and opinions. You can also talk to your supervisor about it, ensuring that personal priorities are aligned with the unit. Together set priorities for the medium and long term.
- Create and/or use the most useful tools to get organised (list of tasks to do, appointments on your calendar, task tracking systems, etc.).
- Foster regular meetings with members of your team/service/department to monitor their activities. At these meetings, identify appropriate methods and procedures together to organize and control the things that have to be done.
- Consider if in your daily work you achieve the expected quality.
- Organise information clearly and systematically to make it easy to find. Use MSF standards whenever possible.
- Practice drafting reports and gathering basic data quickly.
- Always check the accuracy of the information: analyse if it is true.
- Prepare information for handovers so as little information as possible is lost.
- Punctuality in commitments and meetings is important. Set an alarm to go off five minutes before meetings. Yours and others’ time is valuable.
- Routine meetings should have clear objectives, a chairperson to lead and a limited time.
- Keep your work environment tidy and organised.
- Take the time to draw up a list of actions, activities or tasks to be implemented in the coming months:
  - Plan by systematically thinking what the objectives and/or results to be achieved are, i.e. what the consequences of those actions will be.
  - Set the date when these activities or actions should be carried out and set an order of priority.
  - Plan what resources you will need, which people will be involved, what the major obstacles might be. 
  - Based on the possible obstacles and the reactions that those involved have to your plan, draw up contingency plans to ensure a successful outcome.
  - Spend a little time each week monitoring and setting what tasks to do next week.
- As supervisor:
  - Provide tools for planning and organising tasks and time.
  - Ascertain if any members of the team have difficulty with proper planning and management of tasks and time. Early detection is important to prevent stressful situations.
  - Explain and back it up with examples and/or specific details of the importance of good personal and group planning for optimizing available resources.
  - Encourage people to update and monitor activities for proper planning.
  - Organize and plan according to objectives in the short, medium and long term. Encourage those who are strong in this competence to help colleagues who want to improve.
  - Good, clear definitions of objectives and deadlines are key for people to be able to integrate them into their daily activities. Ensure that objectives are clear to everyone. Communication about objectives and deadlines must be continuous.
  - Keep the team abreast of all changes and make sure that new team members receive all information so they can plan and be organised.


The ability to deal with a problem, obstacle or opportunity and carry out actions in a reactive way, by responding to the situation, or in a proactive way, by anticipating the situation. This may include both coming up with new solutions and being creative to solve situations with the existing means. 

Key words and concepts

Creative thinking, critical thinking, risk-taking, courage, making a difference, added value, critical sense, anticipation, prototype, research, observation, devising, breaking rules

Results of developing this competence

- Improving the quality and results of the objectives.
- Allowing for innovative solutions; trying different and new ways to deal with challenges and opportunities
- Allowing prompt action to be taken to achieve objectives and streamlining decision-making, being pro-active.
- Getting more involved in the work and getting better results through personal effort, improving the activity and new ideas.
- Getting unsolicited recommendations to improve performance or processes.
- Cutting out stages when necessary, so that the work is done without compromising values and standards.
- Responding and dealing with situations with new proposals or original ideas.

Ineffective behaviour

- Performing only the duties inherent to the post without any extra effort or added value. Ignoring jobs that require effort, postponing them or passing them on to a colleague.
- Giving in to difficulties without considering possibilities to change or seeking alternatives.
- Making minimum effort to fulfil responsibilities with the view that this is enough to do the work.
- Never taking the initiative to improve or change situations that block or hinder the achievement of better results.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

- Re-framing or other techniques to develop different perspectives or problems and issues. 

- How to overcome procrastination and the fear of acting. 

- Taking initiative and how to encourage others to take action. 

- Test your own and solutions and proposals and share them. 

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays. See folder “Attachments” > subfolder “10. Initiative and innovation”

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA.

Learn on the Internet

Learn by reading

Innovations médicales en situations humanitaires. J.Hervé Bradol, Claudine Vidal. 2009. 

Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers and Changemakers. Gray, Dave Brown, Macanufo. 2010. 

Autoafirmación y personalidad. Lindenfield, G.; 1989. 

How to determine and achieve your own goals. Lee, W. 1991. 

Los próximos 30 años. Alvaro González-Alorda. 2010. 

The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World. Schwartz. 1996. 

A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative. Von Oech, Roger, 1998. 

Mind, Life, and Universe: Conversations with Great Scientists of Our Time Punset E. 2009. 

Thinkertoys (A Handbook Of Business Creativity). M. Michalko, 2001. 

Networks in Tropical Medicine: Internationalism, Colonialism, and the Rise of a Medical Specialty, 1890-1930. Deborah Neill. 2012. 

The Leader's Guide to Lateral Thinking Skills: Unlocking the creativity & innovation in you and your team. Paul Sloane. 2006. 

The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO's Strategies for Defeating the Devil's Advocate and Driving Creativity throughout Your Organisation. Kelley, Littman. 2005.

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

Erin Brockovich. Steven Soderbergh.2000. 

Collateral. Michael Mann. 2004. 

Beyond the sea. Kevin Spacey. 2004. 

Tucker: The Man and His Dream. Francis F. Coppola. 1985. 

The Great Escape. John Sturges. 1962. 

Singing in the Rain. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly. 1952. 

Kinky Boots. Julian Jarrold. 2005. 

American Beauty. Sam Mendes. 1999. 

Castaway. Robert Zemeckis. 2000. 

The Dead Poets Society. Peter Weir. 1989. 

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Richard Fleischer. 1954. 

12 Monkeys. Terry Gilliam 1995. 

Amélie. JP Jeunet. 2001. 

Lessons of a dream. Sebastian Grobler. 2011.

Learning through interaction, games and applications

Solve the outbreak. CDC. 2012 

Journey. Thatgamecompany

Learn by doing

- If you want to achieve what you haven't achieved yet, you need to do what you haven't tried yet.
- Working on your own or with others in your area of responsibility, do exercises to stimulate creativity to find different ways of achieving the required results. Make a list of the ideas you come up with to obtain new approaches to overcome the limitations identified.
- Have brainstorming sessions. This will foster creativity and create an environment that is more prone to change and novelty, decreasing resistance.
- For brainstorming to be successful, the process must be free from criticism and judgment. Go for quantity by stimulating stimulation, writing everything down, keeping it to the point, and stressing that the ideas belong to all participants. The leader has to stimulate the participants.
- Look at the tasks you routinely do now and identify two or three that you think could be improved. Without being judgmental, make a list with the new approaches from the brainstorming session. Choose the most appropriate or the ideas that are most valuable and draw up an action or development plan. Inform participants of the outcome of the brainstorming session.
- Make a list of processes and procedures that could be created or improved, stating the problems entailed in each and possible improvement actions. Then pick one and start the actions you have identified for improvement.
- Write an idea, problem, etc. on a piece of paper and ask about different options.
- Diagnosing a problem or defining a challenge does not necessarily mean having the solution. Challenges are to be shared by all. Ask for opinions and be open to different answers. Similarly, be sensitive to your colleagues' needs and participate in the search for alternatives if they ask you to.
- If you are responsible for people, create the necessary space within the team to think and dialogue creatively.
- Move around every 30 minutes. Good ideas need movement. The brain needs glucose and oxygen from the bloodstream.
- If any of your daily activities can be done outdoors, do so. You'll find that you have more ideas and you are more relaxed. Another option is to walk to work. This is even better if you go a different way every day.
- Customize your workplace. Feel comfortable.
- Volunteer to help someone else who is currently leading a workgroup or managing a change initiative, and learn from this experience.
- Think ahead in potentially critical situations and come up with possible action plans.
- Evaluate the scope and impact of the problem including who it affects. Decide which people need to be involved, diagnose the causes of the problem, devise alternative solutions, and implement a solution, with a contingency solution ready if possible.
- Investigate new ways to achieve the required quality objectives. If others are responsible for the final decision, propose your alternatives. Emphasize your own recommendation and why you think it's the best choice.
- Use your resources (time, money, materials, etc.) optimally to get the maximum benefit from them. Use your imagination to suggest ways to improve work methods.
- Get used to thinking ahead. Propose new actions that can be undertaken to minimize problems or maximise on opportunities.
- In a situation of apparent failure, make an effort to summarise the ‘lessons learned’ that may be of help in the future.
- At the end of each day, week or month, draw up a list of successes.
- Reinforce and appreciate intelligent risk-taking, without pushing or blaming people for mistakes. Stimulate and strengthen team initiative.
- As supervisor: o Facilitate spaces in which people can express and develop their ideas. Listen and assess pros and cons before giving a response, even to ideas that are different or contrary to yours.
  - Don't be prejudiced and value differences as opportunities for improvement.
  - Change is often met with resistance; make sure you give the explanations and time needed to understand and accept it.
  - Promote a culture of openness rather than simply thinking 'we've always done it this way' ... change is possible and it is people who bring about change, so make sure you foster this outlook, while being realistic.
  - If you need help to get new ideas, use the techniques in the books and packs recommended in the resources section, or ask for help or advice.


The capacity to negotiate is the ability to convince and to reach acceptable agreements for all parties involved. 

Key words and concepts

Conflict management, communication, message, empathy, competence, competitiveness, ability to influence, assertive presentation, win-win, ability to give way, choosing the right battle

Results of developing this competence

- Having a positive impact on others by conveying an image of professionalism and excellence.
- Having more negotiating resources, both in the preparation and the negotiating itself.
- Communicating in a diplomatic, clear and logical way to help others understand and spread the message.
- Exploring alternatives and positions to achieve results, getting the support and acceptance of all parties and generating collective agreement to achieve the social mission objectives.

Ineffective behaviour

- Trying to argue one's own point of view without considering the interests/needs of the other party.
- Assuming that others will be enthusiastic about one's own ideas, which have not been checked previously.
- Not preparing presentations or arguments in advance, thinking that the relationship of trust with the other party is enough.
- Not seeking the support of third parties in complex arguments to convince the other party.
- Not using available support tools (documentation, additional services such as analysis, etc.) to achieve wider acceptance of ideas.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

- How to influence others. 

- Negotiation skills for win-win. 

- Skills: how to ask good questions, learn to listen, discover needs, explain benefits and handle objections. 

- Mentoring 

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays. See folder “Attachments” > subfolder “11. Negotiation and communication skills”

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA.

Learn on the Internet

Learn by reading

Forces of Persuasion:Dynamic Techniques for Influencing People and Making Sales, Patton, F. H.; 1991. 

The Art and Skill of Successful Negotiation, Kennedy, G., Benson, J. And McMillan, J.; 1982. 

El comportamiento no verbal. Fernandez Dols, JM. 1994. 

Getting to Yes. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In Fisher, Ury, Patton, 1997. 

The exceptiontional presenter. Timothy J. Koegel. 2007. 

Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed. Magone, Neuman, Weissman. 2011. 

The Medical Interview: Mastering Skills for Clinical Practice. JL.. Coulehan, MR. Block. 2005. 

Argumenter en situation difficile. Philippe Breton. 2004. 

Comment réussir une négociation. Roger Fisher; William Ury. .2006. 

Convaincer sans manipuler: apprendre à argumenter. Philippe Breton. 2008. 

Managing Difficult Conversations at Work. Sue Clark, Mel Meyers. 2007.

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

The Method. Marcelo Piñeyro. 2005. 

Thank You for Smoking. Jason Reitman. 2005. 

The Insider. Michael Mann. 1999. 

The King's Speech. Tom Hooper. 2010. 

12 Angry Men. Sydney Lumet. 1957. 

Margin Call. JC. Chandor. 2011. 

9 Queens. Fabian Bielinsky. 2000. 

Runaway Jury. Gary Fleder. 2003. 

The Negotiator. F.Gary Gray. 1998. 

Kramer vs. Kramer. Robert Benton. 1979.

Learning through interaction, games and applications


The Settlers of Catan. 



Learn by doing

- All communication-related competencies and the ability to influence are critical to negotiations, be it with external parties or with colleagues.
- Good preparation is vital for negotiating. Record how you would conduct the negotiation/presentation on camera. Listen to what you say and how you express yourself. Take notes and make any changes necessary for the negotiation. It is an interesting to get your colleagues to play devil's advocate when you present your ideas.
- The pre-negotiation preparation must include the following:
  - Negotiation objective (know what you want to achieve and what you are willing to negotiate, prepare different scenarios and come up with various proposals to prevent unexpected deviations).
  - Know exactly what you are negotiating. This is fundamental to reassure the other party and to be able to negotiate. Research and find out as much about the subject as possible. It is important to frame the issue within MSF. If the other party does not know MSF, explain its social mission, principles and values.
  - Find out about the other party and the context in which the negotiation takes place. Discuss the arguments with someone who knows the other party well, their customs, their objectives and cultural differences that may impact on the negotiation, to ensure maximum impact. Talk to colleagues to gather information on the other party, to show a personal interest in their needs and give your best answer.
  - Prepare the message. Use tact and sensitivity in communicating information, choose your words carefully and think about how they might affect people from a different culture from your own. Remember that we work in a multicultural environment. Invest time preparing alternative arguments that you can use when you want to persuade someone. Prioritize arguments that are more or less attractive or convincing for the other party and prepare for possible objections.
- During the negotiation;
  - Objective: Maintain the initial objective but listen to new proposals also. Before accepting or refusing, calmly assesses the consequences. Analyse the decision if necessary and if the situation enables it.
  - Knowing what is at stake. Answer questions and justify doubts. Humbly admit "not knowing" if you do not know the answer. Do not trick the other party.
  - The other party: Listen carefully and ask good questions to understand what they want and adapt to their customs insofar as possible. Say some words in their language to relax the atmosphere.
  - Message: Try to adapt your arguments to the style and technical preparation of the other party. Use words and terminology that the other party will understand. Be clear, concise and brief in both formal and informal documents. Explain complex ideas using examples that are familiar, understandable and relevant to the other party. The aim is to influence their opinion or position to achieve the desired result without overwhelming them with brilliant technical expertise. Consider your body language and your choice of clothes.
- After the negotiation:
  - After the negotiation, assess whether the objective was achieved, if the other party also achieved their objective and if you stuck to your plan.
  - Use lessons learned and consider ways of avoiding a repeat and find solutions or answers to any questions that were not resolved. Talk to your supervisor and/or colleagues about the negotiation and in particular about what most surprised you. Share lessons learned with the group.
- Other suggestions
  - Identify a colleague who is an effective communicator or who is renowned for his/her ability to convince. Go with them to a negotiation and learn how they prepare their arguments and adapt as the dialogue proceeds.
  - Request regular feedback from them about your work. o Invite your supervisor to participate in an interaction with a counterpart. Request feedback on the impact you have on the other person. Do the same with a presentation of ideas. Analyse together what was most difficult and what was done best.
  - Talk to your colleagues (in meetings) on each person's negotiating capacity.

People Management


Implies collaboration, sharing and cooperating with others, to work together towards a common goal.

Key words and concepts

Cooperation, commitment, tolerance, conflict management, sum, multiply, belonging, solidarity, collective objective, communication, responsible autonomy, complementarity, accountability, mutual respect, empathy, ownership,

Results of developing this competence

- Getting better and richer results by effectively building work groups.
- Increasing motivation in people by showing that their opinions are valued and taken into account, feeling part of the organisation.
- Improving the working environment as a result of success and increased cooperation and group feeling.
- Using appropriate methods and a flexible interpersonal style that facilitates the achievement of the team objectives.
- Better collegiality and better integration of new team members.
- Motivating others to commit to the assigned tasks and social mission.

Ineffective behaviour

- Working very independently or even against the group.
- Not drawing on the experience and knowledge of others or sharing one's own knowledge.
- Not considering others as a possible source of information to address issues or problems without all the information available.
- Not understanding the importance of teamwork; therefore not being able to persuade others of the need to work in groups on certain projects.
- Never giving the group what you expect from it yourself; not being a good team player.
- Preferring to work alone or with people who you know have the same opinions.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

- How to learn to listen better. 

- How to develop and motivate teams. 

- Support and feedback skills. 

- Coaching and mentoring. 

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays. See folder “Attachments” > subfolder “12. Teamwork and teambuilding”

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA.

Learn on the Internet

Learn by reading

Grupos inteligentes: teoría y practica del trabajo en equipo. Cembranos, Medina. 2003. 

10 Rules for Creating and Managing Projects That Win!, Randolph W., Barry Z. Posner.; 1994. 

El hombre en el grupo, Battegay, R. 1978; 

La comunicación interpersonal: ejercicios educativos, Jiménez Hernández-Pinzón, F.; .1991; 

Teamwork is an Individual Skill: Getting Your Work Done When Sharing Responsibility; C. M. Avery, M. Aaron Walker, E. O'Toole Murphy; 2011. 

Cross-Functional Teams: Working with allies, enemies, and strangers; MP Glenn. 2003. 

Teamwork from the Inside Out Field Book: Exercises and Tools for Turning Team Performance Inside Out; Susan Nash, Courtney Bolin; 2003. 

The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice; Deutsch M, Coleman PT, Marcus E.; 2004. 

Handbook for the Positive Revolution. Edward de Bono; 1994. 

Cuentos que mi jefe nunca me contó. Juan Mateo, .2010 

Management of unethical Behaviour. Group for advice and research on ethics and conduct, GAREC. MSF. 2012. 

La conduite des réunions. Roger Mucchielli, 2004. 

War of the Buttons. Louis Pergaud. 1912.

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

Counterfeiters Stephan Ruzowitzky. 2007. 

The Great Escape John Sturges.1962. 

Twister. Jan de Bont. 1996. 

Chariots of Fire. Hugh Hudson. 1981. 

The Lord of the Flies. Harry Hook 1990 

Ocean's Eleven. Steven Soderbergh. .2001 

Twelve Angry Men Sidney Lumet 1957. 

La estrategia del caracol. Sergio Cabrera. 1993

Ice Age. Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha. 2002. 

Chicken Run Nick Park, Peter Lord. 2000. 

The Replacements. Howard Deutch. 2000. 

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Stephen Norrington. 2003. 

The Italian Job. Peter Collinson. 1969. 

Simulators. Damian Szifron. 2002.

Learning through interaction, games and applications


- Sidibaba. Cooperative/decision making board game. 

- The Big Book of Team-Motivating Games: Spirit-Building, Problem-Solving and Communication Games for Every Group. Edward Scannell, Mary Scannell 2009 

- Duct Tape Teambuilding Games. Heck. 2011. 

A virus named tom. 

Little Big Planet. 

Trivial Pursuit. 

- Emergency, emergency, email explosion, mission to the moon, MSF group exercises

Learn by doing

- Make sure all team members know and share the common team objectives, and that these objectives are specific and measurable.
- For the team to achieve the objective, everyone has to do something.
  - Ensure that tasks are in line with the common objective. Be responsible with your assignments. Show appreciation when your colleagues are also responsible with their assignments.
- If the group has come up against organisational or other obstacles that hamper their achievements, look for ways in which the members can overcome them. Propose brainstorming sessions, find sources, contacts, approaches.
- People within a team are interdependent. To achieve an objective they need to forge relationships with each other. The most common types of relationship are:
  - Crossed monologues. There is no real dialogue and no team, but rather parallel universes. In this case it is necessary to ensure that all team members know and share the objectives, roles and responsibilities, and processes and procedures. It is also important to practice active listening.
  - Systematic opposition. Do not allow your team to establish a climate of ongoing clashes between people. Check that at any criticisms are constructive, try to improve the proposal, focus on the alternatives and not on difficulties instead of criticizing your colleague. Discussions can enrich a group and can also foster antagonisms that can harm cooperation between members of a group. When you notice that two people are in conflict, ask them both to try to say what the other person wants to express.
  - Collaborative: If there is a constructive and collaborative culture in your team, give feedback and be appreciative of your colleagues.
- At meetings try to be balanced in your interventions. Participate without monopolizing. Use participatory methodologies. Ask for the opinions of group members who seem more passive, involving them in discussions such as by: working in small groups, turn-taking, rounds of opinion-giving. Use a moderator if necessary. They may be a source of ideas that could be key to the whole team. Utilise the contributions made by the team members.
- Rules. Make sure you know all the rules at work in your team, both formal and informal. Be inclusive, involve others in team decisions and actions and include people from different levels and experiences. Be consistent.
- Evaluate regularly: objectives, tasks, climate, communication and team rules. Participate actively and implement the results of these evaluations.
- At meetings, take the responsibility of taking notes or minutes and try to keep colleagues informed on the latest developments.
- Try to be autonomous and pro-active. Encourage autonomy and initiative. Look for ways you can help the team to create inner strength and organisational skills, rather than simply showing them the way. Show them the way only after they have tried to find a way.
- Make a list of the teams you have worked in. Think about what you gave to those teams. Analyse what you did well and what you could improve and share your thoughts with someone you trust.
- Identify what responsibilities require teamwork. Observe behaviour and analyse whether your contributions are appropriate and relevant. Seek comments from other team members.
- Avoid working in isolation. The opinions of others will help.
- As supervisor:
  - To have a sense of belonging, look after and respect your colleagues. Foster a good working environment. Celebrate a job well done.
  - Organize an activity outside of work. This will help you get to know the team and reveal behaviour, feelings and opinions from a different perspective. Facilitate the space and time needed o Motivation is a huge factor. Try to ensure the team is motivated and encourages each other.
  - Make sure that everyone has equal opportunity to participate in strategic processes (as well as support processes). Value opinions and listen to them carefully and staying open to any new ideas.
  - Think of each of the team members and make the effort to understand their perspectives, tasks and responsibilities. Ask them how they see themselves and you.
  - Be professional and take responsibility for your role as supervisor.


The capacity to persuade, inspire and mobilise people to contribute to MSF’s social mission, including the ability to make difficult, political and/or operational decisions even against popular opinion/will, and to explain clearly the reasons for them. 

Key words and concepts

Delegate, listen, set objectives, focus, change management, communication, inspiration, critical sense, anticipation, responsibility, decision, collective, influence, take initiative, manage, set up, promote, encourage, motivate, evaluate, credibility, intuition, delegate, build capacity

Results of developing this competence

- Getting better at guiding the team, providing clear and consistent decisions.
- Showing that decisions are well informed, thus improving the overall team result.
- Improvement within the team of identifying and attaining the social mission.
- Having a team of collaborators with the right competencies and training. Improved confidence and motivation among team members.
- Creating strategies for the team to meet its objectives, thus contributing to the achievement of the social mission.
- Improving internal communication and feedback in the team. Being critically constructive.
- Expressing ideas and concepts in a clear and timely fashion, adapting to the audience and ensuring care and understanding.
- Being aware of the different ways to exercise leadership and of the right time and team for each way.

Ineffective behaviour

- Preferring to work alone, not taking into account the team and not guiding it.
- Dominating team meetings and never giving up leadership of the group.
- Engaging in battles with other team members, seeking a winner or loser.
- Leading meetings badly. Letting meetings take their own course instead of trying to achieve the targets set for them.
- Working independently of the team: not informing the team when needed on actions or decisions taken.
- Ignoring the potential of the team: not utilising the, ideas, opinions or skills of the team.
- Not feeling comfortable with this role.
- Not providing clear guidelines.
- Not communicating clearly and with strength and determination.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

- Leadership strategies and techniques. 

- How to be a good leader. 

- How to lead a team effectively, develop a team attitude and spirit. 

- Coaching and mentoring 

- Biographies. 

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays. See folder “Attachments” > subfolder “13. Leadership”

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA.

Learn on the Internet

Learn by reading

Leadership Lessons. Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Limits of Human Endurance - The Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition, Perkins, D.; 2003 

Shackleton's way: leadership lessons from the great Antarctic explorer. Morrell, Capparell. 2002. 

The Human Factor John Carlin; 2009 

The Leader of the Future, Hesselbein F, Goldsmith M, Beekhard R,; 1996 

Grupos en las Organizaciones, Gil Rodríguez, F., Garcia Sainz, M.; 1993 

Leonardo da Vinci y su códice para el liderazgo, Cubeiro, J.C., 2007. 

Leaders for Social Change, Ignasi Carreras, Amy Leaverton, Maria Sureda, 2009. 

Leading Quietly. J Badaracco Jr. 2006 

How to Deliver a TED Talk: Secrets of World's Most Inspiring Presentations. Jeremey Donovan. 2012. 

The extraordinary coach. JH. Zenger, K. Stinnett. 2010. 

Making smart decisions. HBR. 2010. 

Communicating effective way. HBR. 2010.

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

Invictus. Clint Eastwood. 2009. 

Master and Commander. Peter Weir. 2003. 

Alexander the Great. Oliver Stone. 2004. 

The Thin Red Line. Terrence Malick.1998. 

The Last Samurai. Edward Zwick. 

Gandhi. Richard Attenborough. 1982. 

Matrix. A. & L. Wachowski. 2002 

Braveheart. Mel Gibson. 1995. 

Pirates of the Caribbean. Rob Marshall. 2003. 

Star Wars. George Lucas. 1980. 

Beyond the Summits. Remy Tezier. 2009. 

The Lord of the Flies. Peter Brook. 1963. 

The Bridge on the River Kwai. David Lean. 1957. 

A Bridge Too Far. Richard Attenborough. 1977. 

Life of Brian. Terry Jones. 1979. 

Shackleton - The Greatest Survival Story of All Time. Charles Sturridge. 2002. 

Band of Brothers. Stephen Ambrose. 2001. 

Gladiator. Ridley Scott. 2000.

Learning through interaction, games and applications 

Learn by doing

- Leadership is focused on delivering results, developing a strategy, motivating the team and decision-making.
- Transmit a future vision. In emergency and humanitarian aid, sometimes what matters is the path and direction, because the only true objective is the social mission itself.
- It is essential to have knowledge of the subject about which a decision must be made. If you do not, inform yourself and ask people who do know about it, investigate it. Decisions must be based on knowledge and experience, either your own or that of others. This builds trust in others.
- To obtain information, go directly to the source. You must have clearly defined criteria. Detect weaknesses and strengths quickly and act accordingly.
- To make important or complicated decisions, develop a decision-making system that the team can use autonomously.
- You have to be involved and you have to show a clear commitment to achieving what is proposed.
- Align objectives and lines of action with beneficiaries, patients and clients.
- Accept your responsibilities at all times without blaming others.
- If decisions are unpopular, provide sold arguments in response. Use different means, contexts and examples to convince people.
- Work constantly on your communication skills. Be accessible
- Explains the reasons that led you to take a decision, because this gives others information and reasons they may not have known. Engage them so that they feel part of the process.
- Stress the advantages and also identify the disadvantages and what actions you will take to mitigate them.
- Acknowledge your own limitations and capabilities, strive to overcome and develop them.
- Use the team. Without them you cannot do the work. There has to be a relationship of trust between supervisor and worker. This encourages members to be involved and motivated to carry out the plan.
- Inform them and give clear instructions. Make sure they are all present, and if this is not possible, make sure the information gets to those who do not have it. Explain how and why, when circumstances permit this. Make sure that instructions are well understood
- Provide the means to implement the decisions taken. Be realistic and consistent with the team.
- Notify your team of changes in work processes or procedures that other teams use and that could enhance the effectiveness of the group.
- Listen to other opinions and value other views, ideas and suggestions without losing sight of the ultimate objective; give a response or propose an action.
- Learn about the activities and performance of each person in your team.
- Identify which people are part of the same team and study what your contribution to the team is: with regard to results and how to obtain them (the way you work, your input, your ideas, etc.).
- Show a personal interest in each of your colleagues, be loyal to everyone, both to employees and to your managers.
- Think about your colleagues: identify the two best qualities in each, out of everything that they contribute to the team, which you can learn from.
- Try to keep your promises as soon as possible and do not promise what you cannot give.
- Spend part of your day thinking, analysing and making improvements to decisions made and in the team.
- Talk to people respectfully; people do not listen when you shout; focus on the means rather than the message.
- What you write down conveys what you think. Be clear and concise; persuasive writing is a great value for you and your team.
- Appreciate and acknowledge effort and achievements in your colleagues; always be respectful when correcting someone.
- The keys to good communication are: a single message, a focused and valuable idea, memorably explained, with experiences, examples, in language that connects, avoiding technicalities. Remember that what matters is what captures the audience, not what you intend to say, invite the audience to agree.


The capacity to motivate and manage team members so that they successfully carry out their responsibilities, and the ability to guide staff development towards excellent performance. 

Key words and concepts

Focus, motivation, support, coach, empower, listen, advice, support, commitment, mentoring, feedback, communication, management, set up, promote, encourage, evaluate, influence, credibility, delegate, agreement, coordination, capacity building, responsible autonomy, respect

Results of developing this competence

- Developing a team attitude and spirit.
- Timely and effective fulfilment of tasks.
- Achieving the objectives set.
- Supervising teamwork in a non-conflictive manner.
- Motivating, identifying and engaging employees in the organisation.
- Increasing delegation and confidence in the team, even if this means supervision from the person responsible.
- Improving effective communication between supervisor and workers.
- Improving the ability to support and coordinate the team by example.
- Optimising on the capabilities of each team member.
- Detecting professional development opportunities for your staff and monitoring them.

Ineffective behaviour

- Passivity: giving up even when this interferes with performance of the task.
- Not leading: not giving orders, guidance or requirements.
- Trying to be liked by others: being more concerned about getting on with others than on doing the job.
- Keeping people on your team with poor performance who do not improve.
- Not checking: avoiding or ignoring measures to improve performance or objectives.
- Not holding regular meetings to inform people and gather opinions and ideas.
- Not conveying the importance of the work of each team member and how it impacts on organisational results.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

Look for opportunities that address the following: 

- How to motivate employees. 

- Ways to reward achievement. 

- Ways to develop a team attitude and spirit. 

- How to delegate responsibility with absolute confidence. 

- Ways and means of forging relationships. 

- How to manage teams. 

- Coaching and mentoring. 

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays. See folder “Attachments” > subfolder “14. Development of people”

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA.

Learn on the Internet

Learn by reading

Bringing Out the Best in People. Daniels, A. 1994 

10 Rules for Creating and Managing Projects That Win! Randolph W., Barry Z. Posner.. 1994 

The Seventeen Indisputable Laws of Team Work: Katzenbach, JR.; 2001 

Field guide to leadership and supervision for nonprofit staff. Carter McNamara; 2003. 

Management for dummies. Bon Nelson, Peter Economy. 2005. 

Managing Teams for Dummies. Marty Brounstein. 2009. 

Las 12 habilidades directivas clave. Antonio Valls. 2003. 

How to Manage Performance: 24 Lessons to Improving Performance Robert Bacal. 2008. 

Coaching for Improved Work Performance. Fournis, F. 1993. 

HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations. Nancy Duarte. 2012. 

Coaching For Performance. John Whitmore, 2012. 

Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. Daniel H. Pink. 2011. 

10 Rules for Creating and Managing Projects That Win! Randolph W., Barry Z. Posner. 1994. 

How to manage people. Michael Armstrong. 2008. 

Practical application of competencies in aid work. Sara Swords. 2003.

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

Master and Commander. Peter Weir. 2003. 

Stand and Deliver. Ramón Menéndez. 1988. 

The Dead Poets Society. Peter Weir. 1989. 

V for Vendetta. James McTeigue. 2006. 

Mystery Men. Kinka Usher. 1999. 

Up in the Air. Jason Reitman. 2009. 

1900 (Novecento). Bernardo Bertolucci. 1976. 

The Second Chance. Steve Taylor. 2006. 

Office Space. Mike Judge. 1999. 

Finding Forrester. Gus Van Sant. 2000. 

Training Day. Antonie Fugua. 2001.

Learning through interaction, games and applications 

Learn by doing

- Define and devise clear goals for the team and each team member. Communicate them and make sure they are understood. Define the roles to be played by people in your area of responsibility.
- Make a list of routine duties and long-term objectives for your area of responsibility. Try to identify the following with your colleagues:
  - What are the specific objectives to be achieved and how they will be measured?
  - What tasks must be fulfilled to achieve them?
  - Who is responsible for each of these tasks?
- Analyse the potential consequences of exceeding those goals and not attaining them.
- Report on decisions made, changes, and the reasons for them. If changes are understood, change management will be easier and faster.
- Redirect the overall objectives of the team and/or daily tasks if necessary. Involve team members in changes or implementation of guidelines concerning them.
- If you are not completely sure about what to do about a decision, get advice from your team members. This gives them a sense of empowerment and belonging.
- Spread the values and principles of MSF. Make sure the others know the social goals and mission of MSF.
- Support your team members, do not limit your job to giving instructions. Sit down with the team to talk, explain, communicate, etc.
- Foster an environment where communication and a good working atmosphere are important.
- As supervisor, you must monitor the work of employees.
  - Meet individually with your employees to discuss with them how their responsibilities relate to the operability of your team and the objectives of MSF; recognise their contributions.
  - Hold regular update meetings during a project to review progress and ensure that the objectives are being achieved. Constantly work to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the entire team.
  - Develop a monitoring system that includes formal and informal communication. Recognize achievements and provide support with challenges.
- Be consistent in judging the work of your colleagues, so they can self-assess and improve their own performance.
- Identify tasks that could be given to different people and plan and delegate tasks as soon as possible. If you delegate, do it with supervision but with trust and a view to developing, allowing staff to determine what and how they will do. Give them the resources and authority they need to get things done.
- Detect training needs for sound performance. Find and offer solutions.
- Provide all kinds of tools for performance and development.
- Show interest in the team members and foster interest in the social mission. This is sometimes easy to forget with everyday tasks.
- Motivate people to make long-term commitments. Explain the long-term needs of MSF, listen to the person's concerns and assess potential. Develop and follow a plan in agreement with the employee.
- Find ways to motivate and reward the efforts of your team. This can be done informally: through a note/email, a team outing, feedback given during a staff meeting, or public recognition of a job well done.
- Make sure you know the policies and procedures of the organisation, especially those related to people management and development.
- Make periodic assessments with staff and monitor them. This allows the person to develop their competencies and ensures clear and transparent communication about what is expected of him/ her. When work is being carried out, provide frequent feedback, both positive and negative, and define the consequences for non-achievement.
- Check your supervisory style constantly and how you give feedback to your team members. These two skills are key to effective management. Review situations where you have given formal and informal feedback.
- Continuously improve your communication techniques. Ask for comments on your style of supervising and addressing issues. Bottom-up appraisals are a good tool to improve.
- With your own supervisor, discuss opportunities to participate in major changes in MSF (whenever possible), and ask for guidance on the management aspects that are assigned to you.
- Try to create commitment and enthusiasm in the team, reinforcing the sense of responsibility and ethics in your workers.
- At meetings try to get as much information from those present. Ask the opinions of those who do not usually participate.
- Spend time ensuring that each team member is clear about their contribution to team success and objectives.
- Incorporate a system of individual aspects and feedback for employees.
- Ask others about your management style and the impact it has on colleagues and the team.


The ability to identify factors that influence staff and project security and to anticipate the situations that may endanger MSF’s staff, projects or premises. The capacity to make decisions and the ability to define, establish and adhere to appropriate measures and regulations in accordance with MSF’s security management principles and MSF’s security policy. 

Key words and concepts

Risk, vulnerability, threat, acceptance, perception, anticipation, dialogue, individual responsibility, reputation, social mission, occupational health, protocol, standard procedures, calm, discipline, rules, trust, respect

Results of developing this competence

- Understanding, respecting and enforcing the MSF security framework.
- Contributing to the implementation, analysis and adaptation of project security.
- Being able to contribute to designing the security framework at mission level.
- Fostering a culture of team security at the project/mission level. Improving knowledge of the surroundings.
- Improving the network of contacts.
- Higher guarantee of fulfilling the objectives of the project/mission.

Ineffective behaviour

- Failure to comply with security rules that endanger yourself and the team
- Failure to comply with security rules that jeopardize the reputation, scope and objectives of the project or mission.
- Interpreting too narrowly or rigidly security rules and management, thereby damaging the operational objectives through omission.
- Lack of contribution to the analysis for updating current or future security rules.
- Systematically questioning security rules to the supervisor.
- Lack of involvement in fostering a culture of team security.
- Making impulsive/dangerous decisions.
- Questioning or not accepting decisions on a regular basis or at critical moments.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

- Articles and specialist documentation available at CIDOC Barcelona (air transport, perimeter protection, close personal protection, health and personal behaviour, dedicated analysis, health and safety, etc.). 

- Coaching and mentoring. 

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays. See folder “Attachments” > subfolder “15. Security management”

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA. 

- Security Training Videos. ECHO. 

- Security Management Course. (Centre for Safety and Development). 

- Security Management Training Course. RedR. 2003. 

- Security Course online. MSF OCA. 

- E-learning Management Security Course. MSF OCBA.

Learn on the Internet

Learn by reading

Operational security management in violent environments. K. Van Bravant. 2010. 

Guide to Security Management. Operations Manual. MSF-OCBA. 2011 

Staying alive. Safety and security guidelines for humanitarian volunteers in conflict areas. DL. Roberts ICRC. 2005. 

Humanitarian Negotiation Manual. D. Mancini-Grifolli, A. Picot. 2004. 

Safety First. Save the Children. 2003. 

Generic Security Guide, ECHO, Val Flynn. 2004. 

War. Sebastian Junger. 2012. 

The Junior Officers' Reading Club. Patrick Hennessey. 2011. 

The Yellow Birds. Kevin Powers. 2012. 

Dispatches. Michael Herr. 1977. 

Catch 22. Joseph Heller. 1973. 

Heart of Darkness. Joseph Conrad. 1902. 

The Forever War. Dexter Filkins. 2009. 

The Security Handbook for Work in Conflict Areas. J Gonzalez. 2011.

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

- I Am Legend Francis Lawrence. 2007. 

The dam. Southern Comfort. 1981. 

Rescue (Ransom). Ron Howard. 1996. 

Apocalypse Now. Francis Ford Coppola. 1979. 

Waltz with Bashir. Ari Folman. 2008. 

Generation Kill. David Simon. 2008. 

Paradise Now. Hany Abu-Assad. 2005. 

Shame. Ingmar Bergman. 1968. 

Restrepo. Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger. 2010. 

Jarhead. Sam Mendes. 2005. 

Desert Attack (Ice Cold in Alex). J. Lee Thompson. 1958.

Learning through interaction, games and applications

Sindy. Security monitoring software. MSF. 2010. First aid by British Red Cross

Learn by doing

- Reading, understanding, accepting and implementing security frameworks set out in MSF documents (Operations Manual, Country Policy Paper, Security Plan, Safety Rules, Risk Analysis, etc.).
- Understand, accept and distinguish key security concepts: security v. safety; acceptance and perception, risk, threat and vulnerability, etc.
- It is the role of everyone to monitor security strictly and make sure they are informed, and to inform the head of security of any developments.
- Know the protocols and clarity of the responsibility limits of the work you do.
- Knowledge of context and responsibility (interest) for being updated.
- A good briefing is necessary to gain knowledge of all security management aspects. Ask for this information.
- The consequences of non-compliance may harm the beneficiaries, operations and reputation of MSF, the team itself and individuals.
- If you participate actively in context analysis and risk analysis, keep the team informed at all times about changes.
- As supervisor, make sure team members have read and understood the context, responsibilities and security rules.
- Utilise visits from supervisors (HOM, RECO, etc.) and other security-related posts for the learning process.
- Take part in all types of event, task or action related to security: simulations, assessment of risks and threats, etc.
- To have an overview of all aspects that affect security: negotiation, advocacy, lobbying, conflict background, historical incidents, etc.
- Learn all existing protocols for risk situations: kidnapping, critical incident, evacuation, etc.
- Participate and request participation in security training courses, both from MSF and externally (particularly for security officials).
- Perform constructive analysis and security management on the project/mission.
- Always ask if you have doubts as to security rules.
- As supervisor:
  - Keep clear flowcharts and algorithms in decision-making on security. Define and inform what/who does security backups, when they report, who they report to, who makes decisions, what protocols are used in the event of communication breakdown.
  - Perform risk analysis with other team members, risk mitigation, provide examples of what would happen if these risks materialize (e.g.: partial evacuation, remote control or temporarily ending activities). Find examples of similar situations, the decisions made and the implications they had.
  - Define who participates in security meetings, including senior national staff. With sensitive information, the group must be defined.
  - Set up training, simulations and scenarios based on risk analysis and develop strategies to solve them.
  - Ensure that the entire team is kept abreast of security-related information.
  - Give security-related support/coaching to the rest of the team as a task in itself and every day.


The ability to identify relevant actors in a given context, engaging, cultivating and maintaining relations with them according to the aims of the organisation. 

Key words and concepts

Empathy, risk-taking, communication, message, objective, accountability, transparency, patience, flexibility, credibility, trust, advocacy, lobbying, public relations

Results of developing this competence

- Improving understanding of language, culture and behavioural patterns of people with whom you work. Interacting with respect for cultures, beliefs and practices.
- Increased ability to work effectively with people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
- Being more proactive to anticipate and/or prevent conflicts.
- Increased capacity to mitigate conflict and to adopt appropriate strategies to resolve them.
- Having a greater ability to meet the social goals and mission adequately.
- Building trust among people, donors, patients and communities who place trust in MSF to carry out activities and manage resources effectively and efficiently.
- Explaining, conveying and fostering MSF's operational needs and social mission.
- Forging relationships that are essential to achieving the social mission and communicating added values in MSF's interest.

Ineffective behaviour

- Preferring to work alone or individually
- Attending meetings in person but not interacting or giving views and/or ideas.
- Hesitating or refusing to help others to do their job.
- Doing your own work without paying much attention to what the rest of the team is doing.
- Not showing respect for the opinions or actions of people from a different cultural or ethnic background.
- Not spending time to get to know people, colleagues, patients and beneficiaries around you.
- Not preventing conflict and therefore not detecting the causes or addressing them openly.
- Rejecting coordination and information exchange with other stakeholders for no reason.

Factsheets / Handouts / Tips / Exercises

- Mentoring. 

- Handouts, Factsheets y Role Plays. See folder “Attachments” > subfolder “16. Networking”

Learn by training 

- Training brochures. MSF OCB, MSF OCG, MSF OCA. 

- Training in listening skills, building relationships of trust, public relations

Learn on the Internet

Learn by reading

Networking for Development. Paul Starkey. 1997. 

Networking for Policy Change. B. Boyd; S. Homer; F. 1999. 

Wikis, Webs and Networks. Rebecca Linder. 2006. 

People to People Fundraising Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Charities. T. Hart; J. M. Greenfield; S. D. Haji. Wiley; 2007. 

The Influential Fundraiser. Bernard Ross; Clare Segal. 2009. 

Relationship Fundraising. Ken Burnett. 2002. 

NGOs, Civil Society, and the Public Sphere. Sabine Lang. 2012. 

How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks For Big Success In Relationships. Leil Lowndes. 2000. 

Humanitarians in Hostile Territory: Expeditionary Diplomacy and Aid Outside the Green Zone. Van Arsdale, Smith. 2010. 

Humanitarian Diplomacy: Practitioners and Their Craft. Larry Minear Hazel Smith. 2007. 

- Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics (10th Edition). Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron. 2011

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time. Keith Ferrazi. 2005.

Learn by watching videos, films and documentaries

Charlie Wilson's War. Mike Nichols 2007. 

Thank You for Smoking. Jason Reitman. 2005. 

Wag the Dog. Barry Levinson. 1997. 

Schindler's List. Steven Spielberg. 1993.

Learn by doing

- Creativity and cooperation are important in all positions, but fundamental for people who work with a team because they must enlist the cooperation of others on ideas and lines of action and to make change. They are fundamental for those whose work involves any kind of negotiation.
- To develop a network of contacts you must be pro-active and open to opportunities that arise in your day-to-day work.
- Bear in mind the viewpoint of the other person, listen to different views and respond accordingly.
- Make sure you talk to the right person.
- Make sure you keep stakeholders informed of the achievements and the social mission of MSF; this is important to make them feel they can contribute to it.
- To gain trust, you need to be able to explain MSF's work in language that is pleasant and easy to understand. Every culture and every individual is different. Adapt the language, the message and the way you relate to each stakeholder. Make sure you know the social norms and protocols that apply to every situation. Always be diplomatic and polite.
- You represent MSF. Every act, word and message that you do or say is directly related to the organisation. For the safety and involvement of others, you have to be very clear and consistent with your contacts. Be cautious. Ask your colleagues/supervisor to help you draft the message or give you ideas of what to do in specific situations.
- Although they might seem difficult to separate, it is important to distinguish between professional contacts and personal relationships.
- Social networks are active in many societies. Be prudent before posting anything referring to MSF. Make sure the information can be made public. Consult your supervisor. Different audiences interpret the same message differently.
- As supervisor, you can foster development of this competence as follows: delegate the responsibility of establishing contacts and networks; formally introduce the person to various contacts; appoint a contact person for others; actively involve the person in meetings, working groups or teams project; work on developing the culture of networking regularly, and adapting the message to the listener.
- Keep an updated contact directory that will be useful for your colleagues or replacement.

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