What does being competent mean?
On a personal level, to define competent is having the ability to do something, and in most cases, to do it well. For example, if a person was going on a job interview, both the hiring company and the person would feel that the potential employee was competent to do the job. That is, the person possesses the skills and abilities to fulfill the job requirements and completes the competent definition.
On a business level, to define competence is similar, which can be described as having any number of skills, abilities and knowledge of how to perform in a certain job and be able to perform well. Educational background, work experience and attitude all contribute to the competency definition. For the person lacking these same skills, competency in a particular job would not be evident.
To take this competence definition a little further, it can be described as not only being competent, but a close relative is being confident. If a person is truly competent, then that same person will feel confident about having the skills and abilities to perform the job they are assigned. Therefore, they will perform all the duties that the job requires in a way that allows them to feel confident in the way the are able to do the job. One of the worst feelings in the world is being in a job where you don’t feel competent. You start to question whether you have the ability to perform the job, as the duties seem to be more than you can handle. Trying to perform without both the feeling of being competent and the actual knowledge that the job is beyond what you are able to do is not going to work and then the situation comes down to once again being competent. If the job duties are beyond your true understanding and knowledge, it may be that the particular job is not for you. Competence plays a big role in not only how you perform in the job, but how you are able to perform in the job. That is how to truly define competency.
The competencies definition is so basic, you are able to perform or not perform the job based solely on competency. There is no getting around it, no substitute for it and no being able to pass it off as something else. It is there or not and how successful a job can be done depends on it.
Types of competence can appear on many levels and in many situations. For example, to define communication competence is to realize the ability to not only communicate well, but to be able to be competent in all phases of communication, such as grammar, syntax, etc. Grammar speaks for itself and a person who has the ability to communicate well is a standout in any organization. Most people would think this was a basic skill which most people have, however, it’s more likely that the opposite is true. Communication skills of the highest level are rare and seem to be reserved for those in the writing, editing and similar jobs. This is not to say that those not working in those particular areas are lacking in communication skills, but to say that those who reach high levels of competency in those areas are rare.
Almost everyone who applies for a professional level job will notably have “good communication skills” on their resume, but the hard and solid truth is that not everyone does. It has gotten to be a common key phrase, a common skill to be listed, yet one that is hard to truly possess. It is rare that many people within an organization have true communication ability.
If you were to perform an unbiased study of employees in a certain organization, just reviewing the emails sent among employees and see the lack of correct word choice, bad grammar, misspellings, incorrect syntax and other usage mistakes, it would be amazing. Most large companies take the attitude that as long as there is understanding between the sender and the receiver, the message will be sufficient. But we all know that is not the best attitude to take.
Some progressive companies realize this problem and have even instituted ways for employees to enhance their communication skills by offering training classes for employees who fall below the desired level of communication skills. These companies have figured out how to give employees a step up in the communication process. However, as we all know, by offering training on the subject, not everyone will be able to master the subject matter and those who do will be the ones with the edge.
Communication is basic, yet so underachieved in the mass population. The quality of written material between offices, co-workers and clients is depressing at best. The company who forges on with the training classes deserves an “A” for effort, even with a scant amount of people coming out of it much better than when they went in. Yet, it is so important for employees to possess this skill, it hinges on so many phases of the business. An employee who has excellent communication skills is not only going to shine among co-workers, but have the ability to communicate well with clients, business associates and customers. It makes things so much easier when a person is able to express themselves in a clear and concise manner.
Additionally, it bodes well for the company itself to rely on those whose communications are up to, and beyond, par to take on the responsibility of written and verbal communication. The first contact with a company by their written word should give a good impression because without that, the company itself puts itself in jeopardy. According to its peers, it makes a bad showing among those receiving the information if the writing is unclear and hard to understand. Simple, basic language usage should be the goal within the business environment, yet mistakes and misusage still abound. Companies who have it together hire those with top notch communication skills and pay well for that skill, as it is a rarity to find among employees.
Along those lines, communication is important among all employees and clients, especially as you define cultural competence, which is the ability to interact positively with people of different ethnic groups and those from all socio-economic backgrounds. In business, customers come from every culture and economic background and therefore, it is important that employees possess a good attitude toward working with people of all cultures, economic backgrounds and educational levels. A company who realizes this may even offer diversity training and make employees understand the importance of communicating well with those who are from different cultures. Diversity in the workplace should be well understood and adhered to by all employees.
As for other levels of competency, to define core competencies is to describe it as the particular strengths of an organization and one that is not easily imitated by other like companies. It is what makes that company unique. It can be used in a variety of products and one that has additional benefits for the customer.
Core competencies examples include many skills needed to perform a job well, such as analytical thinking, which requires using logic to solve problems that come up in the workplace and knowing how to solve those problems. It includes a multitude of skills, such as computer competency where employees are able to use a computer, continuous education, so that employees are able to make use of professional development and training andinitiative, which is the ability to gain information from different sources not thought of before and apply those ideas and information to the company. These are a just a few examples that define core competencies and many more can be found that help organizations succeed.
Therefore, a competency based education serves the employees well and only leads to success of the organization, which is the priority in the workplace.
After all the previous discussion, what does competent mean? It means having the ability to perform the job at hand in a correct and precise manner. It means having the skills to perform the job at a top level and make sure that the duties of that job are being addressed and taken care of in a professional manner.
The success of the company is the goal of all its employees and being competent in many ways can assure that the goal is being accomplished.