Man​aging and leading a group, and achieving our goals may it be personal requires competence. As a senior manager, I often discuss with friends and colleagues how challenging it is to recruit highly competent individuals as well as develop and train competent employees. I thought it is just my observation however I realise that we all share the same sentiments.

Based on my experience, competence can be developed and it is very important that we cultivate it, at an early age.I believe that we all can become competent in time.

Before I continue the discussion  about competence, let us first define the term, the business dictionary defines competence as;

cluster of related abilities, commitments, knowledge, and skills that enable a person (or an organization) to act effectively in a job or situation. Competence indicates sufficiency of knowledge and skills that enable someone to act in a wide variety of situations. Because each level of responsibility has its own requirements, competence can occur in any period of a person’s life or at any stage of his or her career.

Now its clear that competence is a group of related abilities, knowledge, skills and most importantly commitment in order for us to become effective in whatever we do, and if we are effective, we will achieve the goals that we set.

The million dollar question is, how to cultivate competence? I learnt that I was very lucky because at a very young age I was encouraged to develop competence. I spent my entire life with my aunt, who was a grade school teacher (she’s retired now), back then I always complained about how strict she was, I have schedules from day to night time, school days  and weekends, can you believe even during summer I had to follow a schedule?  Everything were planned and organised, everything were repeated until I perfected them..I didn’t know then that she already started to teach me to become a competent individual.

While reading John C. Maxwell’s book entitled MAXIMIZE YOUR DAY, 365 days of insight to develop the leader within you and influence those around you, I came across the COMPETENCE section and there he outline 5 Steps to cultivate that quality. The steps are simple and I found out that I have been trained and followed the same processes since I was young.

So, without further ado below are the five steps to develop competency.Step one and the easiest… all you need to do is show up everyday. Responsible individuals would report daily however highly competent individual take it further, showing up is no longer a responsibility instead it becomes a commitment, he or she would come ready to play no matter what the circumstances or how they feel. He or she is always prepared for the day.

This is the one thing I’m best at, eventhough sometimes I’m not at my best form, I still push myself to show up in my commitments at work or even meeting friends..I always come prepared.

One time, my boss; the President requested that I join him in a very important meeting, I asked why I had to go with him and what will be discussed. He told me to just accompany him and witness the negotiation, however I acted proactively and reviewed all documents, created a brief even if not required, brought a copy of documents and my laptop. It turned out everything I prepared were used and in the negotiation and we closed the discussion. In short I am always prepared and several steps ahead of everything..I analyse the situation, identify risks and other possibilities and prepare counter measures.

Step two, work on improving yourself. Highly competent individuals always find ways to improve, learn and  grow their knowledge and skills… they do this by asking a question.. why? Those who ask how will always have a job but those who asks why will always become a boss and a leader.

Back in college, I took up BS Chemistry course and my first job was as an instructor in DLSU-DASMARINAS..I had to take up an MS Degree in graduate school since it was a requirement, when I moved out and became a quality assurance supervisor and product researcher in a chemical company, our President mentored and encouraged me to shift to sales and marketing career, I decided to again study and learn marketing by taking up diploma in strategic marketing which is a higher education degree..since then I pursued this path… yet I continue to develop my expertise in this field by studying, what I’m saying here is that I didn’t stop from learning and improving myself, I kept studying and training because I wanted to be an expert in this field..

Again, highly competent individual becomes a leader not just a boss. A very competent leader would always follow through with excellence. One has to press on and keep on continuing until an activity, action and or project had been completed.

I remember when I first launch a hairstyling product in the country, I didn’t stop after it was launched in the market, instead, I pressed on, monitored it’s performance, conducted audits and created below the line activities just to ensure that it’s well  communicated although we have tapped an agency to complete the job and they’ve done well. That product became number 1 in the country.

Great and competent individual is not satisfied with completing the job, instead he or she go beyond what is expected and go the extra mile.

When I was still working for an international government organisation as a Marketing Manager, I am not satisfied with communicating and selling the product, I also develop new busines partnerships. To ensure that the partners were satisfied I go the extra mile by offering my expertise through free consultations on how to grow their own business, it wasn’t part of my.job description but I did it anyway. The result was , we have loyal and best business partners.

Lastly, a very competent individual like a leader is an inspiration to others. He or she does not only strive to deliver excellence but also wanted people around them to become excellent and competent by inspiring and teaching them how to become one.

I am writing this blog, not because I wanted to brag about my accomplishment, (I think I still have lots to achieve in order to say that I’m highly successful) instead I wanted to share my learnings and inspire others by telling short stories about what I have done. Its a very small step but I believe somehow, someway I will be able to touch a soul, and if has an impact on only one person it will for sure duplicate, and that single person will pay it forward just like what I am doing now.

I became who I am, because of those great people who taught and mentored me, I was lucky that in this lifetime I met them. I pray that you, yes you, who is reading this article now will meet someone to inspire you, it’s not yet too late for growth and development.

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