Every day at work we use skills but seldom give thought to how we acquired them, how we are executing them, or how they will serve our career success long-term. As a coach, I have often had to ask my clients these questions:
- How well did you do that?
- Did you do that as well as you could?
- Is there another way you could have said or done that?
These questions bring them back to consciousness with how they are saying and doing things at work. Too often we multitask or rush through things without completing the loop in our minds.
These have become painful moments for others at work and cause them to feel slighted, disrespected, not valued, or overlooked. Like the boss who is taking calls while in a meeting with an employee or sending emails when you should be making eye contact with the person across from you.
Have you ever wondered where we learned these skills and how we developed them? I think that we should ponder those questions above as we reflect on our day or week at work. You will notice that some of your skills may need to be further developed, some are as good as they can get, and some are competencies.
There is a difference between skills and competencies. Skills are what we do, and competencies refer to how well we execute or do something.
When we develop competencies, they become part of our characteristics. Competencies flow out of us without effort or a lot of thinking on our part. There is a way to build skills into competencies. This is my favorite part of training and development, the work that I have done for 24 years. I love to see people develop a skill or competency.
Competencies are developed by learning, observation, practice, feedback, encouragement, and more practice. It is a bit like what my students are going through now in the peer coaching segment of their coach training at Interpersonal Wellness Services Inc. It is easier to develop competencies in an area that you are passionate about, so you must not be hard on yourself if you are not feeling competent about a certain skill.
Are You Building Skills at Work That Can Be Your Career Success Currency - PODCAST
As an entrepreneur, I have had to learn a lot of skills purely out of necessity, but I am not competent at all of them. I do not want to be competent at bookkeeping, that is why I hired a bookkeeper. I have become competent at teaching, creating programs, and writing because I am passionate about them.
Let us look at the skills that you have used at work this week, are there some you could have done better? Are there some you have already developed into competencies?
There is a reason why I am bringing this to your attention because it is important to be conscious of the skills we have and how we use them. There is a saying that what is measured is treasured. If you value your career and relationships at work, you will do your best to develop the right skills to relate with others at work at a high level. This will prevent you from making silly mistakes that cause interpersonal slights and conflicts.
Reflecting on your skills also puts you in the driver's seat of your life and creates a heightened sense of awareness. As such, you become far less defensive. This will ensure that when someone points out a deficit, you will be able to acknowledge their insight and thank them for bringing this to your attention, rather than getting upset and defensive.
As you escape from work this week, leave behind the stress and worry. Do not take other people's baggage with you. Just focus on yourself and how you can improve your skills and competencies in the coming weeks.
Relax, enjoy yourself but always remember that developing skills and competencies is your responsibility. Those are things that will serve you in your career wherever it takes you. Remember, I have come to notice that those with great skills and competencies are able to use them as currency for career success.