As it appeared in the Daily Nation on August 11th 2020
Dr Lucy Kiruthu
Every day we interact with business owners and employees from different organizations. We interact with them when we visit the supermarket, the barbershop, gym, salon, chemist, hospital, restaurant etc. We also interact with employees when we call our internet services provider, the telephone company, the insurance company and many others. In today’s digital age, we also interact through social-media channels and digital applications. Within our organizations, we interact with each other. We also interact with those that we do business with that are in other organizations. How good is your team during these interactions?
Every interaction demonstrates our team’s level of competence or incompetence. When the interaction is smooth and the job is done proficiently, we consider the person highly competent. However, when the job is not done as per our expectations and the interaction is not smooth the person can be said not to be competent. Being competent simply means that one has the necessary ability, knowledge, skill, experience and attitude to do a certain task successfully. At the workplace, competence is considered as a measure of one’s ability to perform a job satisfactorily. How competent is your team? Does your team have the required knowledge, skill, experience and attitude to get the job done?
Both highly competent and incompetent staff are commonplace. The good news is that we can improve our level of competency. We can do so through different methods. On-the-job-training is one of the ways that many staff members have become competent. Many become competent by gaining exposure when involved in new projects or even learn from past success and failures. Others attend training and conferences or pursue certification courses that make them more knowledgeable. Our commitment to self-improvement, the people we surround ourselves with, what we read, and how we spend our time, can make us more competent. Besides the individual, organizations should have an interest in their team’s level of competency. Organizations, therefore, need to contribute to building their team’s competency levels. For example, they need to be aware of their team members learning and professional development goals. Once the goals are clear, organizations should take up the responsibility of supporting their team members to achieve them. What are you doing to improve your competency level and that of your team? Is your team getting their job done proficiently? If not, it is time to support them to become more competent.
For some businesses, this has been a slow season. I believe that it presents an excellent opportunity to improve our level of competency and that of our team members. Which areas do you and your team members need to improve on? What have you done in the last three months to become more competent at what you do? How are we taking advantage of technology to learn? One is never too young, too old or too competent to stop learning. Learning is at the center of becoming better at what we do. To become a little more competent, we must be intentional about it every day!
Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy