How Being Competent Can Improve Team Performance


People’s ability to be competent by using their soft skills and values is something that tends to be overlooked when it comes to the world of business. But, one could argue that this kind of competency (more on that below) is in fact an employee’s biggest asset. Both soft skills and personal values are hard to learn and even harder to teach. But, they’re also what tends to set people and businesses apart from the masses. 

In fact, companies that understand their core competencies can then easily figure out their unique selling point within their markets, and even set foot into new ones since they’re clear in their positioning. As a manager, being able to pinpoint these competencies in your team specifically is incredibly helpful. This in turn would allow you to make sure they’re aligned with the company’s overall goals.

What Does Being Competent Mean?

To understand how competencies can affect your team’s performance, it’s probably important to start by explaining what being competent is. Competencies make reference to each person’s (or organization’s) skills, values, or behaviors required to correctly perform an assigned job. 

They look more at soft skills – like we mentioned above. They focus on how something can be done at a deeper level, than at why we are actually doing it. For example, when it comes to starting your own business your overall goal will probably be to make money. However, in order to achieve that goal, you’ll need to have certain competencies that will help you achieve it. This could be anything from creativity and tenacity, to emotional intelligence. 

What Is Competency Management?

If the idea of competencies basically means looking at soft skills and values, then competency management is being able to pluck that information from your team and use it to your advantage. It’s the practice of finding, developing, and managing these competencies to make sure each employee can achieve what’s needed within the position they hold. From there, managers would be able to optimize those skills, even more, to line them up with the organization’s business strategy.

The other side of the same coin would be to also use that information when it comes to hiring, developing, retaining, and engaging with employees – all things that can give you and your organization an advantage above the rest. 

Why Is Competent Management Useful?

There’s plenty of reasons why you’d want to implement this practice in your job as a manager. The biggest one? Helping your team make full use of their potential. Doing this can influence both short and long-term development for both the company and employees. It’s also a great way to lower attrition. Essentially, when someone feels competent at their job and understands what’s expected from them, they’re less likely to leave and more willing to work hard.

Understanding what kind of competency skills someone needs to best perform a job also means that HR is able better hire for open positions. Training and onboarding are much easier as well since you’re able to structure the process and provide clear expectations and parameters. At a more micro level, competency management helps improve productivity since managers can be faster at identifying deficiencies and developing improvement plans to fix them.

Examples of Managerial Competencies

While it can vary from industry to industry, there are some common skills and values all managers should have in order to be competent at their jobs.

  • Integrity. This is something that tends to go hand in hand with organizational values. Being honest and ethical is a key aspect you must develop in order to be a competent manager. Building trust with your team is incredibly important and showing them you have integrity is a smart way to start. 
  • Ability to problem-solve. As a leader people will look up to you when it comes to resolving new situations. Your team will probably be trained on how to address the most common job scenarios. But, it’ll be your task to deal with the one-off cases you might encounter. If you can take that ability and then teach it to your team as well, then you’re one step further than every other manager out there. 
  • Knowing how to delegate. You can’t do everything yourself, and a competent leader understands that their team is their biggest asset. Delegating the tasks that you know they can do will also go a long way in creating trust with your employees.
  • Interpersonal skills. Knowing how to talk to someone when emotions run high is a huge ability a manager can have. You’ll no doubt encounter upset team members from time to time, and being able to anticipate their emotions and alter the conversation based on that will work wonders for keeping the peace.

Related Readings

Professional Leadership Institute (PLI) is an educational website providing professionals from all types of businesses with practical education in entrepreneurial leadership. To keep evolving your leadership toolkit, additional PLI resources below will be useful:

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