Competency Standards

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A lesson in Leadership and Management and your Competency Standards.

I once had the privilege and misfortune of captaining a cricket eleven. It was a corporate grudge match between rival companies and I was honoured that my pedigree was well known enough for them to put the (c) against my name. The unfortunate part was that I didn’t know the bulk of my team mates and had no idea of the skills of the members of my side.

So I did what any first time captain would do – I spoke to my team and asked them where their strengths lay. When I pressed for an opening bowler, I had one very keen and eager guy who assured me he was genuinely fast.

We batted first and struggled to put many runs on the board. And the game was all but over when the fore-mentioned, so called fast bowler, sent down a mixture of very slow lollypops and wides and was hit for 26 from the first over. We were saved when I tossed the ball to a quietly spoken unknown entity who turned out to be a genuine bowler and knocked over the remainder of their side. We won by 2 runs!

From a leadership and management perspective, it made me think. Whilst I had ‘ticked some boxes’ around consultation and team management it really came down to understanding competency. In my situation, the (mis)understanding of competency came down to the self-awareness of others. In ‘real’ cricket teams, player competency is measured by past performance and how well you do at practice and training.

The same is true in business. As a manager or business leader you need to have a strong understanding of the true level of competency of the people around you (and yourself).

Many studies have been undertaken on the subject of job competency and they can be categorised into:

  1. Administrative Competencies;
  2. Communication Competencies;
  3. Team Building Competencies, and;
  4. Cognitive Competencies.

These competencies were found to be the most important or vital for leadership and management effectiveness, as well as the overall productivity of the business.

When considering management positions, responsibilities widen in scope, authorities increase, and people management becomes more exacting. As a consequence, competencies will have to change or the mix of it will have to be altered in order to adjust to the requirements of the job. If an accounting clerk or a bookkeeper for example, is promoted to the position of an accounting supervisor, their competencies will have to be enhanced. Aside from maintaining technical skill in computing and bookkeeping, they would need to be skilful in coaching, mentoring, scheduling of work, monitoring, appraising staff, and team building.

The same is true for a Finance Manager who is promoted to General Manager, where the competencies would require more of: weighing risks and making decisions; setting goals and standards; plotting directions; leading the organisation and inspiring the employees to excellence. As opposed to competencies in supervision, resource management and solving specific problems.

Job competencies, especially in management, include the following: 

Administrative Competencies:

  1. Management of Time and Priority Setting.
  2. Goals and Objectives Setting.
  3. Work Planning and Scheduling.

Communication Competencies:

  1. Listening and Organising.
  2. Clarity of Communication.
  3. Getting Objective Information.

Team Building or Supervisory Competencies:

  1. Training, Mentoring and Delegating.
  2. Evaluating Employees and Performance.
  3. Advising and Disciplining.

Cognitive Competencies:

  1. Problem Identification and Solution Provision.
  2. Assessing Risks and Decision-Making.
  3. Thinking Clearly and Analytically.

It’s a good exercise to assess yourself and your team members against these areas to gain knowledge of your overall business competency. Remembering, that if you asked each team member to rate themselves and then actually assessed them you would probably get two different results!

Australis College provides a variety of business and management programs aimed at providing individuals and businesses with the knowledge, skills and tools to make a positive impact in their job roles, careers and personal lives. The information in this article is from the BSB51915 Diploma of Leadership and Management. For more information on Australis and our programs please visit our website by clicking here for more information and to get started today.