Competency is a person’s knowledge, skills, and attitude that will allow him to perform his job functions in a superior and effectual manner. A person with the required competencies can handle a job much better than a person who does not have them. For this reason, companies are always spending their resources to ensure that they employ highly competent individuals. To achieve this goal, they provide competency-focused interviews to be able to screen those who have the competencies the company is looking for. Moreover, they also conduct regular performance evaluations to be able to assess competency and sponsor competency trainings, if they determine a need for one.
One particular aspect that is often overlooked, and is actually quite helpful to understand and develop employee competencies, is influence. Managers often forget that there are factors that influence one’s competency (or a lack of it) and it is important to familiarize themselves with these so that they can deal with issues and concerns arising because of an employee’s competency level.
Family Influence on Competency
A family is the smallest societal unit. The home is where an individual learns the basic life skills, and is without doubt, the largest influence factor for everyone. In terms of competency, there are many things that can directly or indirectly be a result of family influence. Some of these can be derived from the personality of parents and siblings, socioeconomic status, birth order, and education. Thus, a family (particularly the parents) plays a significant role in shaping their children’s future.
Competences that can be developed and honed at home are usually behavioral such as: leadership, goal-orientation, and creativity. Leadership is defined as the ability to lead, inspire, and influence others. Leaders can be developed at home when parents give their children opportunities to take charge of a certain activity or event, as well as by boosting their confidence in the abilities they possess.
Goal-orientation is another behavioral competency that can be greatly influenced at home when parents take time to impart to family members the value of setting goals and working towards achieving them. Lastly, creativity can flourish in anyone when they are given freedom to find ways to address and resolve issues at home big or small, without limitations and restrictions. When children are encouraged to always think outside the box, they will become very creative.
Workplace Influence on Competency
In the workplace, employees are either challenged or discouraged to strive for excellence. This is due largely to several factors such as: management support (or lack of it), competition among colleagues, self-image, and the culture in the workplace. Fundamentally, these factors can either bring the best out of any employee, or the worst. Although not entirely to blame, these factors do have a big impact on performance.
If management is supportive to the growth and development of their employees, they will not only strive to determine one’s competencies but also do what they can to improve and help the employees develop new competencies. For example, if they have identified that a required competency is lacking in a particular department, they would come up with ways and means to allow these individuals to acquire the competency, either through coaching or proper training.
On another note, competition among colleagues also has a crucial role in encouraging others to learn new skills and obtain another competency which they know will help them excel and gain an edge over their colleagues.
As an example, if an individual realizes that although he has excellent job knowledge and is able to work efficiently and productively, he still cannot deliver effectual presentations during meetings. As a result, a colleague gets more recognition than him. If he takes these setbacks as a challenge, he will strive to develop effective communication skills; he may even opt to take formal trainings on communication just so he can be better at it.
Environmental Influence on Competency
Environmental influence on personality development is well-accepted in today’s human psychology studies, and yet little is known about its influence on one’s competency. Just as family is a strong influence in any one’s development, the environment is also partly responsible for molding a person’s perception of self, others, and his surroundings, as well as his values. Self-image is one of the five characteristics of competency thus it can be concluded that the environment does have an influence on an individual’s level of competency.