Skills and Competencies Examples
In teaching and training of all kinds, we frequently run into two terms that seem interchangeable on the surface. But as we work to refine our craft, we find that they are quite different indeed. Of course, if you have glanced at the title, you know we are talking about “skills” and “competencies.” Here, we will talk about the differences and similarities between these two ideas. This is important because we want to understand the learner. But we also want to have a firmer grasp on what it is we are doing, what we are trying to impart to the learner when we offer them materials.
For most purposes, we may have an intuitive understanding of the two terms which is normally sufficient. But we are going to drill down to get at what really separates these two key ideas.
- Computer programming
- Handling accounts
- Language proficiency
- Actively listening
- Data-based decision making
- Strategic planning
These knowledge skills and competencies examples show us what we probably already know about skills and competencies- that skills may enhance competencies, but competencies can, and often are, unlearned talents that we bring with us to the job and classroom.
In the real world, all too often, job competencies are made from either an inborn talent or a hard-won skill. Either way, the worker is treading on thin made from incomplete knowledge, skills, and competencies. Our goal here is to find a way to take those with competencies, to add skills to those competencies, round it out with a knowledge base – and from this, we expect to see truly spectacular professionals to be the result.
Competencies vs. Skills
We all like definitions, especially those of us with language competency. So we are now going to break these terms down according to their definitions, and using examples, tease out the important differences between them.
Competency meaning: Knowledge, behaviors, or tendencies that lead an individual to be successful in a given activity.
The most important relative of the word “competency” is “compete.” If we were to engage in a given ability in the form of a competition- in, say, an acting contest, what we would have is a competition. Those who are competent in acting may enter the contest with a chance at victory. However, someone who has no acting experience would be wasting her or his time in such an endeavor, because such a person is an incompetent actor. They cannot compete because do not have the necessary competency.
We chose the example of typing because it illustrates the fact that skills and competencies can often overlap. For example, a competent actor brings charisma, diction, and grace to the stage. An actor may be born competent, but great actors build skills on top of their basic competency.
Competencies are a bit more nebulous than skills. For example, a person may be a competent ship’s captain, but lack the skill to be a good navigator. Certainly, a captain would be better with a mastery of navigation, but they may be able to get by without it if they have a GPS and or an officer of the deck who can do the navigating for them. In this way, we see how someone can be competent in the absence of skill.
Examples of Competencies
You may have noticed that competency is still somewhat nebulous. This is because a competency can exist with or without skills. It can be made up of one or more skills, talent, knowledge base, propensity, or even in-born tendencies. Competencies begin to shine when we add skills and experience to them. Let’s look at a few more examples.
Judgment: Some people show good judgment, while others don’t. It’s one thing to train a police officer in the skills they need, but judgment comes from passion and talent.
Cooperation: Like negotiation, the ability to cooperate is about getting the most out of a team. This is an important leadership trait.
Spacial relations: People who are good at solving puzzles and engineers tend to have a good sense of size, proportion, and mechanics.
Language: Some people are better at expressing ideas than others. Some people are dreadfully articulate and yet lack the ability to do sales or debate.
Common competencies tend to be things we are born with a talent for, enjoy, and spend time doing. Some school-age children are better at sports than others. They enjoy it more as a result and tend to keep it up. The same goes for writing, playing Chess, dancing, math, video games… you name it.
Examples of competencies
However, let’s not completely confuse competencies with talents. You may be born with a talent. You may even be born with a tendency for competence in a given area. It might help to think of a given competency as similar to a good camping spot. A good camping spot appears naturally through proximity to trees, mountains, rivers, and a nice smooth spot of ground. But we build on it by adding shelter, amenities, and utilities- which we can compare to skills.
Knowledge competencies examples
Of course, we are born knowing very little except how to cling to our mothers. But knowledge competencies develop with time, effort, and interest. It’s worth noting that we have major institutions of learning designed to create knowledge competence and degree programs to certify those who complete them. Here are a few examples of knowledge competence.