Competencies refer to an ability to perform a task or job. Different job roles require different set of competencies. These are referred to as specific competencies. However, some competencies remain constant across job roles and organizations. Such competencies are called generic competencies. For instance, effective communication is a more generic competency as compared to business acumen which is a more specific competency and is not required by all job roles. Competencies required by a manager may not be needed in a chartered accountant. The approach to competency mapping starts from a generic perspective which further paves the way for more specific ones.
Let us now look at the most often used competencies in organizations today. It should be noted that the following list is not in the order of most preferred to least preferred. Every organization want these competencies at different degrees.
Communication skills One of the most sought-after competency, both generic and specific, is effective communication skills. Such a competency indicates the ability to share information effectively. It also includes aspects such as being assertive, influencing skills and listening skills. From an application point of view, effective communication is required at an everyday basis by all employees in an organization. To be able to delegate tasks, communicate what has been done and what needs to be done, to inform of the latest trends and figures and to manage a team – all of these are dependent on effective communication skills. Such a skill is imperative during a negotiation process. How one puts forth their arguments and attempts to have a win-win situation is largely dependent on how they can communicate with the other people.
Innovation The second most important competency is that of innovation. As the world market is changing, there is a demand for creative minds to bring something new to the table each time. Every 5 years the vision of the organizations world-wide is taking a new shape. This demands for innovation and creativity. People who can think out of the box and from different perspectives have become the need of the hour. The competency of innovation sets apart one organization from another and brings variety in the market.
Leadership What is a group without a leader? A leader gives direction, communicates vision, and binds the group together. Good leadership skills help to maximize efficiency and achieve organizational goals. With such important function, leadership becomes one of the most sought-after competencies today.
Customer Centricity The success of most organizations is largely dependent on how happy their customers or clients are. The happier the clients and customers, the more the business for the organization. A large part of the profit comes from happy customers. Therefore, for employees being customer-oriented and customer-centric is most important for such organizations. One should have the ability to please customers and keep customer satisfaction as a top priority.
Conflict Management The competency of conflict management is the ability to manage and resolve conflicts. Such a competency goes hand in hand with leadership and managerial potential. Think of a leader who cannot resolve conflicts amongst group members. Will the group still achieve organizational goals or it will be more scattered and confused in their approach? Conflict management is crucial at all levels in an organization because where individual differences exists, conflicts are bound to arise. If managed successfully, the organization can strive towards great heights.
Strategic Orientation Having a strategic orientation means having the competence of planning and organizing alongside maneuvering through obstacles. Achieving organizational goals requires planning and organizing in accordance with the vision and mission of the organization. A well-planned approach leads to achieving higher number of goals. Therefore, managers and team leaders are hired with strategic orientation along with conflict management and effective communication. This is because plans not only have to be made but also communicated. If not communicated properly, a well-planned approach may also fail to achieve the long-term and short-term organizational goals.
Time Management Managing time effectively is imperative to getting work done. The better managers can manage time, the more quality work can be produced according to the plan. It also helps in being a “good” manager because one can spend time mentoring the team and raise their morale with effective feedback. Such a competence has a variety of benefits stored for employees at all levels in an organization and not just managers. Therefore, along with other competencies, time management is also the most often used and sought-after competency today.
Analytical Skills Being analytical means simplifying complex problems by breaking them down into manageable components. One should be able to conceptualize and visualize the problem in hand even with the least amount of information. The ultimate aim is resolve the problem. Managers needs to be analytical in their approach. This is because not all decisions are made with complete information. The challenge is to make good decisions even with incomplete information and this requires a person to be analytical.
Diversity Management With workforce becoming more and more global, the need for diversity management is also rising. Culture shock is a most common phenomenon today since every culture is diverse and drastically different from another. Being able to accept another’s culture without any prejudice and biasness is the core of managing a diverse workforce. A diverse workforce brings with itself different perspectives and curbing them is disadvantageous for the organization. Therefore, leaders and employees with diversity management competency are most preferred in organizations today because they encourage innovation and team cohesion.
Functional and Technical Skills All the competencies mentioned till now are behavioral competencies, most often used and sought after. But along with these, functional and technical skills are also important and most needed to be effective on the job. Managers need to have the prerequisite skills and knowledge about the area of work to be effective on the job. Without it, they would fail to function.
One should note that behavioral competencies and having functional and technical skills share a reciprocal relationship. If one knows the skills of trade but is not able to plan and communicate, possessing the skills would be a waste. Similarly, having good communication skills and a strategic agility, but no knowledge and skill in that work area, will do no good to the organization.
This list is not an exhaustive one. There are other competencies as well. These are however, the most common and important ones sought-after by organizations today..