One of the most valuable currencies in the workplace is perceived competence. Competencies are the key to talent. Whether you are looking for a new job or a promotion, employers will try to evaluate how well your talents fit with a given role.

If co-workers view you as competent, they are more likely to respect you and collaborate well with you and having good professional relationships can only help your career. If the boss believes you are competent, your chances for increased responsibility and advancement grow.

One of the bases for respect, salary, and promotion are your competencies. If everyone in your workplace perceives you to be competent then you will earn their respect and open new doors for promotion. Personal growth is required in your career. Working hard doesn’t mean doing what you do the same way forever, improvement must be perceived.

How do you get people to perceive you as competent? The answer is simple: if you must be competent you need to refrain from doing things that demonstrate that you are struggling to keep up.

Competencies in the workplace

A workplace competency is a description of a required skill, attribute or behaviour for a specific job used to define and measure an individual’s effectiveness. Your competence is what interests your present or future employers. Competencies are arranged into a framework that brings together a number of job roles and the required capabilities that the job holder must possess or acquire in order to perform his job effectively.

Developing competence in the workplace

Competence development means an individual’s competence and proficiency development throughout the working career. In one’s own work, competence development can refer to updating, expanding, deepening or completely redirecting one’s competence by:

Observe. To observe is a way to gain knowledge and improve your skills. When you are new to a job, no matter what it is, observing your environment is the first step. Observe what others do and how they do it. While observing you will notice what are the vital aspects that you should consider with this new job, from this you will deduce the nature of the task assigned to you.

Try to figure it out first. There are plenty of good reasons to ask for help at work, perhaps you are a new employee. Or, maybe, you’re using a new or unfamiliar system. It could be that you’re just stumped and you need some assistance before you call for help. However, take five or 10 minutes to try to figure it out. Try some basic problem solving, identify the problem, come up with some possible solutions, and try out your solutions to see if one of them does the trick. Another is when you are assigned to a new project, after observing and still you have questions then do not hesitate to raise questions. It is better to be sure than committing mistakes.

Be familiar with work. As acknowledged above, there are going to be times when you have little choice but to ask for assistance in the workplace. In those cases, it is crucial that you remember what you’ve been told. Asking your workmate every time you do your job is not being competent at all and your workmate might be pissed off. Be familiar with your work, memorize the steps and everything that is there to recall. Make sure that you have understood and remember all the instructions that were given to you at the start of the work to minimize you asking others about what to do.

Do what you must do to remember things: Take notes. Turn the information into a song. Repeat it in your head, of course until the information is seared into your grey matter. If you have to ask the same question three times or more, your perceived competence is going to take a hit.

Improve your skills  

Now that you are familiar with your work then it is time to improve some of your skills to further make you better and be more competent. While doing your job you might have observed your performance which includes your weaknesses. If you think that you are weak in your communication skills then it is high time for you to improve it.

Your attitude counts as well, improve your character, attitude, and personality to make your relationship in your work place sound. Your attitude towards work should also be developed.

Be serious about mistakes. That co-worker we just talked about the one who cannot seem to remember anything also is usually the guy shrugging off mistakes. “My bad,” he says with a chuckle, right before calling IT because his computer won’t activate (turns out the cord was unplugged).

When you make a mistake, acknowledge it. Demonstrate that you now know how to avoid the mistake in the future. And, this is the important one, don’t make that mistake again. Repeat mistakes and you will appear less competent.

Be open minded and updated

To be updated with the new trends and happenings related to your job is the best way how to improve competence in your workplace. If new ideas are being suggested to you, do not throw them away immediately without considering it, have a free and open mind on new trends.

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