There are two broad types of competencies:
A combination of both is almost always required to be effective.
Behavioural competencies are often called soft skills. They define not just the ability to do something, but how it is done. Often they also describe a way of doing things in relation to other people. This is particularly true of leadership competencies.
To help you understand behavioural competencies, here are some that Cary Grant displayed as John Robie, the cat burglar:
- Is suave and sophisticated
- Uses romance and seduction
- Differentiates between high and low value jewels
- Displays stealth and deception to evade capture
- Remains cool under pressure
Leaving behind the world of jewel thieves for a moment, what if you just received a promotion and you were now a first level manager in an organisation. What are some of the leadership behaviours that you would need? There are many, but a few would be:
- Defines clear standards and measures for individual and team performance.
- Plans are developed in accordance with the organisation’s objectives.
- Provides regular and specific performance feedback.
Because behavioural competencies are innately subjective, they must be observable.
Functional competencies are often referred to as technical skills or competencies. They simply mean the ability to perform some technical task. Things like operating machinery, performing double entry accounting, making a dress or designing a hyperloop.
There’s nothing like some examples to help develop an understanding. So let’s take a look at some sample competencies here.