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Competencies distinguish exemplary performers from average performers.

If you are a human resource professional, or a training and development manager or if you are a manager of a team in your organization looking forward to mentoring and coaching your employees, you cannot simply jumpstart into that.

Before starting your job, you need to understand what is competency? And how its understanding leads to better and effective Human Resource Management.

What is Competency? Judge a few questions:

If you want to judge a person’s efficiency at work, just ask yourself four things about him/her:

  1. Does he/she use his/her “applied” knowledge?
  2. Does he/she use his/her skill?
  3. Does he/she use his/her right attitude/motive?
  4. Do these above three factors enable him/her to deliver superior performance in each job, role or situation?

I hope you got it, right?

A competency is the amalgamation of a behaviour or a set of behaviour that describes excellent performance in a particular work context.

For a definition and detailed what is what of competency, you may click here.

Few facts about What Competency is and what it is Not?

You need to understand few things about what is Competency to sieve out facts from common misunderstandings. Here are few of them below:

  1. Competencies differ from skills and knowledge.
  2. Competencies include only those behaviours that demonstrate excellent performance.
  3. Competencies do not include knowledge, but “applied” knowledge or the behaviour application of knowledge that produces success at work.
  4. Though competencies use skills, it also considers the degree of manifestation of skills that produce success.
  5. Competencies are not work motives, but includes observable behaviours related to motives.

Thus, competency can be defined as “A capacity that exists in a person that leads to behaviour that meets the job demands within the parameters of organizational environment, and that, in turn, brings about desired results” (Boyatzis)

What are the different factors which affect the competencies of an electrician?

Take an example, to understand, what competency is all about?

What are the different factors which can affect the competencies of an electrician? They include:

  1. Basics of Electricity (Knowledge of physics)
  2. Knowledge of circuits (Applied knowledge)
  3. Problem-solving skill, reading circuit design, safe handling of electrical machines (Personal attributes)
  4. Initiative, energetic, positive attitude (Observed behaviour)

So, what are the components of Competency?

The basic components of competencies are:

  1. Skill:

A skill is the ability to carry out a task with pre-determined results often within a given amount of time, energy, or both.

Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills.

For example, in the domain of work, some general skills would include time management, teamwork and leadership, self-motivation and others, whereas domain-specific skills would be used only for a certain job (like welding, plumbing, cutting skills are needed for mechanical technicians)

  1. Knowledge:

Knowledge is the understanding acquired through constant learning. It’s a lifelong process.

  1. Personal attributes:

Personal attributes are inherent characteristics which are brought into the job.

There is a difference between attitude and personal attribute. Our core beliefs and external stimuli at times do affect our attitude towards work. At times it determines the efficacy of personal attributes in a certain job.

  1. Behaviour:

Behaviour is the observable demonstration of skill, knowledge and personal attributes which culminates in an excellent performance.

Our attitude affects our behaviour at work.

There cannot be any fixed set of competencies which can be universally applied to all jobs. You need to dig into each job role of your organization.

And thus, you need to ascertain what are the best competencies that suit to a person to perform every single job to peak perfection. Understanding this is the beginning of better human resource management.

Every job nature and the factors which determine its success changes with time.

For some examples of competencies, you may click here.