Leadership Series: (9) Competence Second Element of Credibility.By Victor A. Imhangbe

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” (Nelson Mandela). 

From the above quote, successful leadership is not only a measure of what we have been able to achieve, but it’s a reflection of our share doggedness and determination throughout the various phases of failure. Nelson Mandela taught us that leadership must be learned from failure and success. These are complemented with training, active practice, self-reflection and interpersonal feedback. “As opine by Nadine J. Kaslow; the President of America Psychological Association. “Leadership is a state of mind that influences how we understand the group, institution or organisation that we are leading. So much of what matters in our leaders is not their accomplishments, but who they are as human beings”.

Competencies can be define as set of knowledge, skills, and abilities that is needed  to build a high level performance oriented  organisation that is capable of meeting current and future challenges. Through competencies leader is able to align the subordinate’s organisation practices to meet corporate mission objectives. The ability to understand the unique skills that are needed to succeed in your career will help you plan your professional growth and development. This can be achieve through proper identifying the right training opportunities, and evaluate your progress.

Persons with Specialise knowledge enjoy a much higher mark of credibility than those who lack expertise.  As society’s knowledge expands, we rely more and more on people who can validate profound expertise, often with a narrow focus.  We trust experts to understand the scope of an issue or project, to know the right questions to ask, and to know how to find the answers to those questions.  In today’s world, there is no credibility without expertise.

Michael Hyatt makes an emphasis as thus; if there are things that you can do, and should do, then do them. Don’t neglect them. The basic business fundamentals cannot be ignored. Strengthen your skills in weak areas or put people in place in whose skills and integrity you trust. To be competent does not necessarily mean you should know it all, but the ability to identify someone that can make up for your weak point is what makes your competency count. It is often difficult in practical terms to pinpoint your area of weakness, unless you genuinely engage yourself in unbiased and objective self-evaluation process. Hyatt opines here; “I was not able to recognize the areas I was weak in quickly enough to either learn how to do them (sometimes not practical to do) or find people with those skills that I could trust to do them well”.

It is also vital not to channel all your effort majoring on things that are minor. In Jim Rohn’s basic principles for success, he emphasis you cannot be successful in the long run, being 10 miles wide and an inch deep. There are a handful of things that are important enough to account for the greatest impact. Take a cue from Steve Jobs and get rid of the distractions. Tie your vision and strategy to the truly impactful things and execute those to the best of your ability. I failed by trying to do it all. You can’t. You will hit the wall, and so will the company. I became mediocre at a large number of things.

Perceived expertise comes from a blend of a person’s education and experience. For instance, people with doctoral degrees in a field obviously have more credibility than those who lack a degree.  At the same time, people who have “come up through the ranks” or have worked in diverse jobs within an industry are considered to be experts.  These folks usually have more perceived expertise than new college graduates.

Expertise turns into competence when it is put to the test.  A person earns his/her credibility as competent by succeeding at assignments and projects over time.  A track record of successfully applying knowledge and a willingness to continue learning increases perceived credibility.

Usually in corporate establishment, there are three critical types of competencies: They are: All the employees, the technical department and the Leadership. Competencies are requirements for all employees in any organisation in order to be successful. This could be known or call the core capabilities of your workforce for effective results to be ascertained by a leader. As a result of diversities of various positions, it is paramount for all the employees to acquired technical competencies which are specific to their own job or occupation. In addition to the all employee and technical competencies, being a successful leader requires the critical leadership competencies that are required in every segment of the organisation.

Susan Ascher; a communication leadership Coach says “A leader is a person who takes you where you will not go alone.”, However, what happens when the leader don’t know which way to go? You are left with one option which is to take the best decision for the group, but you don’t want to apply pressure or insecurity; what can you do?

Let me make reference to the words of Adrian in providing answer to the above.

Experts have identified six types of people included in a successful team: the adventurer, the stabilizer, the driver, the cheerleader, the perfectionist and the energizer. Each type of personality balances another and will give you a wider perspective on things and definitely more than just one way to solve a problem.

“Now you’ll have to work with all of them and the first thing you’ll need is authority. You can impose your views and ideas using force and fear- that’s the easy way, or you can inspire people towards a common goal. Keeping your position intact while making others feel valuable and empowered too can seem tricky but, in the long run, it’s one of the keys to an inspired and accomplished team”.

Ways to Enhance Your Leadership Competencies

Every student of leadership, manager, aspiring managers, and top-level leaders are all concerned with developing the competencies they need to become more effective leaders. According to Ronald E.Riggio; more than 100 years of leadership research has outlined the successful skills and abilities that are associated with leadership effectiveness. The following are drivers that were obtained research literature:

  1. Social Intelligence (SI): Social intelligence is the ability to get along well with others and understand social situations, to play social roles, and to influence others. It involves being able to see others’ perspectives and to understand the complex and abstract social norms, or informal “rules” that govern all types of social situations. Social intelligence is what some refer to as “street smarts” or “everyday intelligence.”

It can best be seen in terms of understanding of social situations and dynamics, and ability to operate effectively in a variety of social situations. Our research suggests that social intelligence, which we define as a constellation of social performance, sensitivity to social situations, and role-playing skill are critically important for effective leadership.

How to develop SI? Expose yourself to different people, different social situations, and work to develop your social perceptiveness and ability to engage others in conversation. It is a combination of skills expressed through learned behaviour, and then assessing the impact of one’s behaviour on others. It can be learn and nurtured, but it depends on the degree to which one is successful in dealing with others; one can experiment with new behaviour’s and new interaction strategies.

  1. Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal skills are the life skills we put to use on daily basis. It aids us to communicate and interact with other people, both individually and in groups. People who have worked on developing strong interpersonal skills are usually more successful in both their professional and personal lives.

How to develop interpersonal skills? Become an active listener, work on conversational and speaking skills, (join toastmasters; networking groups), and work on your personal relationships with friends, relatives, and your significant other. These skills will be added values to your work place engagement.

  1. Emotional Skills/Intelligence (EI): Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they’re feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people. For leaders, having emotional intelligence is essential for success. After all, who is more likely to succeed: a leader who shouts at his team when he’s under stress, or a leader who stay in control, and calmly assesses the situation? Emotional intelligence is our ability to communicate at the emotional level, understand emotions and emotional situations, and be in tune with our own emotions. These are particularly related to leadership “charisma.”

How to develop EI? Through continues practice by “reading” others’ nonverbal signs, mainly signs of emotion. Learn to adjust and control your emotions and your emotional outbursts. Practice expressing feelings and become an effective emotional “actor”. This learning will aid you to express emotions appropriately.

To boost your credibility on this element, take the following actions:

  • If needed, complete your degree or consider the next degree
  • Obtain a license to practice or a professional certification appropriate to your field
  • Request high-visibility projects to establish a track record
  • Ask to participate on task forces with key people in your organisation so they can see your competence firsthand
  • Participate in meetings, asking probing questions and making insightful comments
  • Attend conferences in your field and engage in continual learning.

From the above, we understand competence as set of knowledge, skills, and abilities that is needed to build a high level performance oriented organisation that is capable of meeting current and future challenges. In our next series, we shall be looking into the third element of credibility which is sound judgment as one of the major feature of a leader. Your opinion and feedback is expected on the comment column. Do you like the piece? Kindly share.


Victor Imhangbe

Hey, there! I am Victor Imhangbe and I am the brain behind this great lifestyle blog where you get to read everything from life to education to fashion and pretty much about everything else. I invite you to keep keeping tab on our latest news and updates!

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