Competency and Character

Experience is valuable within a team. However, to grow into a highly effective team, we must utilise the competencies of our people to perform at our very best.

Depending on what organisation you work for and the work that your team carries out, competencies will need to change from time to time as you and the team continue to grow.

When I talk about competency, I mean the knowledge, skills and abilities that you and your team have to complete your work. The best leaders know and understand how important competencies are within each member of their team and also within themselves.

As the leader of your team, it is so important that they and the other leaders you work with trust you. It is also very important that you trust your team and the other leaders too. For you and your team to be trusted then having the right competencies to do your work are essential.

First, if you can’t be trusted then you will be removed as the leader. Second, if members of your team can’t be trusted, then you or another leader will remove them.

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I have worked with low performing leaders in the past who think that if they have a team of people, then they are happy. They didn’t care if they were competent to do the job right, just as long as they came to work and filled the gap in the team.

They looked at their team as numbers, not as people. Even if the people on the team are doing a bad job, have a bad attitude, don’t care about the team or the vision of the organisation.

Then the leader will not do the right thing and either help to develop their competency or replace them. The low performing leader will just keep them on the team because that is the easy thing to do.

I have employed new members of my teams in the past who were not quite there with their competency, but they came across as having a great attitude and they got good references from previous roles.

So, I decided to employ them as a new member of my team with the plan to help develop their competency so that they were on the same level as the rest of my team.

A lot of leaders around the world do the same thing, and it is a great feeling to help others in doing this. Seeing a team member grow in their competency from my help is one of the best feelings in the world.

I look at competency development of my team as a responsibility of mine and of every highly effective leader around the world. If a leader doesn’t see their team’s competencies in this way, then the team and organisation will suffer.

I have been part of teams in the past where our competency development wasn’t taken as seriously as it should have. Sure, I went on graduate training programmes and placements to become a better engineer.

But my leadership development and other parts of my training that was important was overlooked by my leaders. This was also the case with other members of the teams that I was a part of, and we didn’t perform as well as we could or should have.

Competency development is essential for all, both as individuals and as part of the team.

Now, when it comes to character development, most organisations and teams don’t even think about it. I have never seen on an organisation’s leadership or training programme anything specific to character development.

But I have spoken to other leaders who do take character development seriously and are trying to convince their organisations to do the same. Character development must be carried out deliberately and planned just like when you take up competency development.

Whenever I discuss or mention character development to you and others, I am talking about development of your people, developing their leadership, and the focus on their personal growth. I do not mean the development of your team’s competencies when it comes to character.

Most leaders around the world do not make the development of their team or themselves a priority, which is a shame.

This is why we see in so many organisations their leaders not retaining their good people, or developing them into highly effective team players, leaders or a highly effective team overall. This is a decision that the leaders make and for what I can see and have experienced, they are making the wrong decision.

I want my articles to help you realise that when it comes to people and character development, you need to go the extra mile for your team. You must do more than is expected of you as a leader. You must deliberately help develop your team’s character, both individually and as a team.

Highly effective leaders and team players who have applied to join your team, when they go for the interview, they will be able to sense whether you as the leader, and your organisation put’s their focus on people development.

If they sense that you are not focused on people development, then it is highly likely that they will not continue to join your team following the interview.

They do this because they already have a high-level character and they want to ensure that by joining your team, their character can only develop with your help as their new leader.

However, if you as the leader do focus on people development with your team, and when new people apply to join, they will be able to sense how serious you take your leadership development and personal growth.

Especially if these new applicants are highly effective team players or leaders, they will be able to follow you as an example if they are successful and join your team. If they don’t sense that you take your leadership development and personal growth seriously then they will look elsewhere.

So, it is important how much you focus on your own and your team’s development when bringing in new people.

Highly effective team players who are looking to join a new team know what kind of team they want to join. They want to join a team that is led by a highly effective leader and is developing new highly effective leaders within their team.

The organisation you are part of will start to see success and great results when you develop yours and your team’s character. With a growing character in all, yours and your team’s competency will naturally grow too.

The relationships you have with each team member, other colleagues and leaders will grow, as will the relationships you have outside. Sharing your vision, mission and purpose with your team and inspiring them to take them on as their own is how to begin this great journey with your team.

Competency is not the most important one to focus on, but it is still very important. Developing your competency is required because without it you cannot perform the necessary daily tasks in your job.

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Having the right knowledge, ability and skill is what is required for your job and what competency is all about. Having the right values, leadership skills, behaving in the right way and taking the right action is what character is all about.

Character is what keeps you going and growing if you consistently develop it. But, if you don’t then it can drag you back. Character is more important than competency because without character then there won’t be any competency. So, to be competent, you must first have character.

To develop your own character and to help your team to develop theirs take a great deal of courage from a leader. It is not easy to inspire your people to develop their character because when doing so requires you to remain humble.

You cannot come across as arrogant when advising people how and why they must develop their character first before developing their competency. By building the courage and remaining humble will build trust within your team too. Remember, without trust, it is impossible to lead or influence.

The knowledge to develop your character is not easy to develop and being able to share this knowledge with your people isn’t easy either. But it is essential if you want your people to follow you because they want to.

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

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All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

2 thoughts on “Competency and Character

  1. how about using AI since it is widely used nowadays in almost all the fields.
    Character is important, I thought it was the most important factor to consider when hiring a person, regardless of academic qualifications.
    if a leader imposes his character on the team, do you think the team will be effective?

    1. Hi Chee,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, means the world.

      Using AI is not for me right now, but I am not ruling it out completely. I have a friend who has phD in AI so I will talk to him about it, and how it could help.

      All the best,

      Tom

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