Competency matrix

Selection of leadership style based on the competency model is very important and challenging task. To support the competency model, the Competency Matrix becomes essential for a good leader to succeed.

Primary Objectives
  • Create a culture that inspires and empowers every individual to contribute his best in building business and organization through self development.
  • Review current work performance and plan for the future improvements.
  • Provide an opportunity for post-appraisal discussions and guidance to promote self development.
  • Provide an objective basis to recognize and reward meritorious and outstanding performance.
  • Provide an objective basis to identify substandard performance and reasons for it.
  • Meet the need of each person to know how well he is performing.
  • Support coaching, mentoring, training and development activities.
  • Support internal mobility like growth paths, transfers, job rotation etc.
  • Chalk out career plan and career growth as suited to each individual's existing and potential strength profile.
  • Provide a basis for recruitment and selection of persons from external or internal candidates by identifying the best qualified person for a particular job or position.
What information does this simple analysis of team member competencies provide and how can you use it to improve the team effectiveness and efficiency ? Lets check one by one qualities which we need to measure in terms of competency to gauge the work force. In order to carry out an organization's business in a superior manner, it needs to identify the competencies it's managers and all other employees should possess, further improve and practice to improve their job performance towards achieving it's goals.

Ability: An individual's capability either developed or not developed (undiscovered, unrealized and untapped). An accountant may be able to sell but has not done so.

Attitude: An individual's tendency to act in predictable ways. A manager may have humanistic attitude and therefore, he may be compassionate towards people.

Behavior: What an individual performs or does is his behavior and that is observable. It is based on his thinking which is not observable.

Competency: It is the developed ability of an individual. One competency may be a good integration of several allied skills related to the competency. Conducting an effective meeting is a competency that calls for many allied skills like making a meeting agenda, promoting healthy group process, resolving conflicts, managing time etc. Competencies are observable and ratable/measurable.

Knowledge: What an individual knows and comprehends is knowledge. Knowledge may be obtained from formal education, observations, training and experience.

Management: It consists of planning, organizing, staffing, directing (also leading) and controlling.

Potential: It is the predicted future performance of an individual.

Performance: Actual work output/results given by an individual against the expected results or goals/objectives is his performance. It is normally the basis for appraisals and rewards.

Practice: An individual acting as per his or organizational strategies and policies is putting the policies into practice.

Skill: It is the work behavior. In a sense, every verb in a dictionary is a skill. It is micro competency. Allied skills make a competency. In earlier example of conducting meeting, listening is another skill that is essential for conducting effective meetings. Skills are observable and ratable/measurable.

Style: Patterns of behavior is style. A person with humanistic values will have particular sets of behavior towards people and that defines his style.

Traits: They are personal characteristics. For example, an individual can be harsh, arrogant, aggressive or some other person may be polite, just, assertive etc. Many a time, they may not be observable or ratable/measurable.

Competency is Not a Task Statement :

  1. Competency is a combination of an underlying capability, a characteristic or an ability with knowledge and skills that results in an effective performance. If competencies are improved, they will give still more effective or superior performance.
  2. Competencies are knowledge and skills statements and not task statements. For example: conducting the meetings is a task. In order to do so, one needs required competency. Therefore, in this case the required competency is the combination of skills to make an agenda, to promote a healthy group process, to resolve conflicts, to manage time etc.
Developing Competency Matrix :

1. An organization should develop an inventory of all the competencies it will need from it's people in order to run it's business effectively and efficiently as per it's vision, mission, objectives and strategies.

2. These identified competencies then should be classified and grouped together accordingly. The following classifications can be made:

  • Behavioral or soft competencies (these competencies relate to self-awareness and interpersonal competencies of an individual at his individual level): For example: initiative and drive, motivation, leadership, team work. Managerial competencies (these are organizational, people-related, and role-related): For example these competencies could be decision making, communication, delegation, disciplining.
  • Technical competencies/hard competencies (some people call them functional competencies): For example: a supervisor in an automobile factory supervising the operations of numerically controlled (NC) machines should have in-depth knowledge of working of NC machines, an HR specialist should have expertise in various types of performance appraisal systems, a programmer should have a good grasp in writing programs in the specific computer languages as needed by the IT organization employing him.
Some more examples of the competencies under these classifications are given later in this write-up.

There could be other alternate ways for classifying competencies as given below:
  1. Competencies for individual excellence or for managing self.
  2. Competencies for interpersonal relations.
  3. Managerial competencies which can be further classified as: 1. Organizational. 2. Role related and 3. People related.
  4. Functional or technical competencies.
  5. Information related competencies

3. Each competency, in turn, will have it's levels of proficiencies. These should be identified.

4. Clear explanations of each level of each competency should be written down. These levels are given different labels by different organizations as per their needs. Some examples are given below:
  • In one organization, these proficiency levels for each competency are graded as: oh-oh, so-so, good and great.
  • In other organization, they are termed as: baseline, collaborative productivity, ownership, managing complexity and expert.
  • In another organization, they simply put them as: level 1, level 2, level 3 and level 4.
  • Irrespective of what labels or names these levels are given, basically the levels mean: beginner level, learner level, skilled level, expert or master-skill level.
5. Finally for each job or each position which competencies of which proficiency level are required should be determined. This is called developing a "competency matrix".

Competency Mapping:

Having created competency matrix for every job/position, the job incumbent's current competencies are evaluated against the desired competencies and their level of proficiency. This is mapping the competencies of a job holder against the desired competency matrix for that job. The gaps in desired and actual competencies are identified. This entire process can be done collaboratively by the job holder himself and his superior(s).

Post Competency Matrix/Mapping :

Once the gaps in competencies and proficiency levels are known, the gap analysis is carried out. The analysis focuses on the further development of the job holder rather than trying to pin him down for his lacunae in competencies. Therefore, the reasons for the gaps are found out objectively and further course of action to remove these gaps is decided and implemented.
Answers to where to improve and how to improve are worked out:
  • Competencies the job holder need to improve.
  • What job holder will do to to improve them?
  • What the job holder's superior(s), HR department and the organization will do to improve them?

The competency based leadership Model

                  There are four level of capability and the basic premise is that people should be expected to perform and the level of their capability. Improving future performance requires that first, capability should be developed. Each level requires a different leadership inputs and the model is best used to differentiate these inputs and expectations on the task by task basis.

A great indicator for which leadership style to apply and which leadership action are required to begin by considering what your people are capable of. 

For example, if you have an expert computer programmer who is capable of creating the fully functioning database in a day, it is reasonable to expect them to do so. However, if you have a less experienced programmer who can produce a database to the same specification but because they have to refer manuals and check their actions along the way, it takes them three days, then it is not reasonable to expect them to produce the database in day. 

If you push them to deliver within the same time frame as the expert programmer, you are likely to get sub standard outcome along with a demotivated staff member. Against this, if you always give this piece of work to expert programmer, how will other one gain the experience required to become an expert ?

Just from this example it becomes clear that people's capability drives both performance expectations in the short term and their development needs in the longer term. As we shall see in later chapter, it also drives recruitment, delegation and team working.

Level 1 - No Competence - Instruction- Hands off Leadership style
Level 2 - Partially Competent - Supervised Practice - Key Decision point
Level 3 - Broadly Competent - Supported Practice - Hands on Leadership style
Level 4 - Fully Competent - Empowerment - Hands on Leadership style

Model Review :
There are four level of ability or competence.

Level 1 : Is when there is no competence in area of task, because of it is new to individual. At this point individual need Clear instructions. That is, they need to be told what to do, how to do and also, to understand why they are doing it.

Level 2: After getting basic instruction, the individual will progress to the second level and become partially competent. At this stage, they know that they are meant to be doing but will have to think carefully, and critically about what they are doing, there will often be a lack of consistency in their output. Their need at this stage is for supervised practice. That is, they need to have their work checked at regular intervals and receive feedback on what they are doing well and what can be improved.

Hands on approach :
When the staff member's capability is at these first two levels, the leader needs to provide hands on support and guidance. This can take the form of micro management, monitoring of work and/or coaching. This starts towards the autocratic end of the leadership styles continuum at level 1 and moves towards a shared leadership style during level 2.

Hands off approach :
Assuming the individual has a natural talent or aptitude for the task or skills they will progress to level 3. As the capability moves to level 3 and level 4 there is gradual shift along the leaderhship style continuum with increasing level of freedom being provided by the leader.

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Level 3 : At the third level the individual is regarded as broadly competent, meaning that they can consistently perform the task to the required standard, although they may not be as quick at completing the task compared to the fourth level and they might also struggle with unusual or complex versions of task. What they need at this stage is supported practice. That is, they required the opportunity to practice but knowing that support is available when they need it, along with occasional reviews and feedback discussion.

Level 4 : The main difference between 3 & 4 levels is practice and experience. Being completely competent at this fourth level means that the individual is able to perform the taks to the required standard, within the optimum time frame. They are also able to deal with complex and unusual work of task. To all intents and purposes they can be regarded as an expert in the task and allowed to work independently, that is empowered to get the job done. The leader does not withdraw support entirely but is primarily concerned with monitoring the performance output produced by the staff members.

Leadership action from Model :

Level 1 - Instruction - Autocratic leadership Style.
Level 2 - Supervised Practice - Autocratic to Shared leadership Style.
Level 3 - Support practice - Shared leadership Style.
Level 4 - Empowerment - Shared to Laissez Faire Leadership Style

Leadership Styles

There are basic four leadership styles. - Autocratic, Laisee Faire , Participation /Shared and Bureaucratic Leadership styles. The leader picks up right skill at right time. There is nothing like good or bad leadership styles among the above.

1. Autocratic Leadership

In this style of leadership, a leader has complete command and hold over their employees/team. The team cannot put forward their views even if they are best for the team’s or organizational interests. They cannot criticize or question the leader’s way of getting things done. The leader himself gets the things done. The advantage of this style is that it leads to speedy decision-making and greater productivity under leader’s supervision. Drawbacks of this leadership style are that it leads to greater employee absenteeism and turnover. This leadership style works only when the leader is the best in performing or when the job is monotonous, unskilled and routine in nature or where the project is short-term and risky.

2. The Laissez Faire Leadership Style

Here, the leader totally trusts their employees/team to perform the job themselves. He just concentrates on the intellectual/rational aspect of his work and does not focus on the management aspect of his work. The team/employees are welcomed to share their views and provide suggestions which are best for organizational interests. This leadership style works only when the employees are skilled, loyal, experienced and intellectual.

3. Democrative/Participative leadership style

The leaders invite and encourage the team members to play an important role in decision-making process, though the ultimate decision-making power rests with the leader. The leader guides the employees on what to perform and how to perform, while the employees communicate to the leader their experience and the suggestions if any. The advantages of this leadership style are that it leads to satisfied, motivated and more skilled employees. It leads to an optimistic work environment and also encourages creativity. This leadership style has the only drawback that it is time-consuming.

4. Bureaucratic leadership

Here the leaders strictly adhere to the organizational rules and policies. Also, they make sure that the employees/team also strictly follows the rules and procedures. Promotions take place on the basis of employees’ ability to adhere to organizational rules. This leadership style gradually develops over time. This leadership style is more suitable when safe work conditions and quality are required. But this leadership style discourages creativity and does not make employees self-contented.

Negative Attitude Effects Negative

I have never Seen Continuing, Successful Person with a Bad Attitude.

You are where you are and what you are because of the dominating thoughts that occupy your mind. Negative thoughts results in a negative person who is bound by his own person who is bound by his own negative circumstances. A negative thinker is like a man who swallowed an egg, shell and all. He was afraid to move for fear it would break, and he was afraid to sit still for fear it would hatch.

Here are six things that can result from can result from continual negative thinking.

  • Negative Thinking creates clouds at critical decision times.
  • Negative Thinking is contagious.
  • Negative Thinking blows everything out of perspective.
  • Negative Thinking decreases hope.
  • Negative Thinking limits our potential.
  • Negative Thinking keep us from enjoying life.

Negative Thinking creates clouds at critical decision times :
When a person always look for and finds a negative things in life it becomes a habit that is hard to overcome. When a positive opportunity presents itself, the negative person cant see it and never seize it. He will see every circumstances as a series of obstacles. The difference between obstacle and opportunity is the way you look at the situation. In such scenario with negative attitude deciding good, bad or worst becomes difficult for a manager. Abraham Lincoln considered by many to be the greatest president in the history of US said "Success is going from failure to failure without loosing your enthusiasm."

Negative Thinking is contagious :
Spending long period of time with Negative people will affect you. If you spend long with a person, you behave, look a like. Negative thinking is not apart from that this effect. So person need to be cautious while choosing the company, friends, partners and relatives to whom they spend most of the time of life.

Negative Thinking blows everything out of perspective :
You have probably been around people who blow everything out of proportion. Where there's a leak in the roof, they treat it like a hurricane. All they see in life is doom and gloom. These are people whose motto in life is the same as Murphy's law. You May have heard it : Nothing is as easy as it looks, everything takes longer than you expect, and if anything can go wrong it will and at the worst possible moment".
Instead of, I look at life accordingly to Maxwell's law : Nothing is as hard as it looks, everything is more rewarding than you expect, and if anything can go right, it will end at the best possible moment".

Negative Thinking decreases hope :
Negative Thinking destroys faith and undermines hope. It slowly but continually demoralizes the negative thinker, destroys his momemtum. The negative thinker do not get an idea about what is happening with his, but to aovid such cases a person need to identify his way of thinking and take necessary actions to change the same.

Negative Thinking limits our potential :
Negative thinker expect less and they get little, they also thing small about the world around them, people around them. Crates negative impact, energy, waves which do not support them to be a potential sources in the world. The negative thinking limits you growth because it is a cultivation of you thinking process. People become what they believe. People can not achieve what they do not aim for.

Negative Thinking keep us from enjoying life :
Negative Thinkers are seasick during the entire pan of their life. Regardless of the present, they are disappointed in the future. Many have adopted Chislom's Law which says "Anytime things appear to be getting better, you have overlooked something".
For negative people, the glass is never half full, it is always half empty. They expect and receive worst in life. If we have to live the life with full of joy and success, fullest to reach our goals, potential and enjoy the journey , we must be positive - Despite the circumstances life deals us.

Few Tips to Avoid Negative Thinking :

- Each time you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, reject the thought, and think a positive one instead.
- If you catch yourself visualizing failure, visualize success instead.
- If you hear yourself uttering negative words, change to positive words instead.
- When you say, "I cannot", say, "I can".
- Do you repeat negative words and phrases in your mind? Change them to positive ones.
- Open your mind to positive attitude and expect positive results.
- Decide that from today, from this very moment, you are leaving negative thinking behind, and starting on the way toward positive thinking and behavior.
It is never too late to change your attitude and your life.

The Successful Person Practices : Positive Thinking.

Attitude is the First Quality that Marks the successful Man. If he has a positive attitude and is a positive thinker, who likes challenges and difficult situations, then he has half his success achieved.

--Lowell Peacock

There is little difference is people, but that little difference makes big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.

--Clement Stone
You are only an attitude away from Success ! The difference between those who are successful and those who are not is this fact only. The lives of those who are successful are governed and controlled by the the thoughts of their best time, their good optimism and thieir most triumphant experience. Unsuccessful people, on the other hand, are guided and controlled by their past failures and doubts.

You are an attitude away from Success !
People will try to tell you that other have made them who they are. They will tell you that circumstances dectate their place in life. They will tell you that they cant help how they feel. But its not whats around us that makes us who were. In the end, we are responsible for the way we look at life. Victor frankl, Survivor of prison camp in Nazi Germany Said, "The last of the human freedoms is to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."

Maltbie D Badcock Said, "One of the most common mistakes and one of the constiest is thinking that success due to some genius, some magic, something or other which we do not possess". Success though, is determined by something withing your control. It is a result of your attitude. How high you will fly is limited more by how you think than any other factor in your life.

  • Our attitude determines a great deal of what happens to us in life.
  • Our attitude towards life determines life's attitude towards us.
  • Out attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us.
  • Out attitude at begining of task will determine the success of its outcome more than anything else.
  • The higher you go in any orginization of value, the better attitude you will find.
No wonder it has been said that we create our own environment - Mental, emotional, physical and spiritual - By the attitude we develop.

Having a positive attitude does not guarantee success. It will definitely improve your day to day life, but it does not guarantee that you will achieve everything you want. But the opposite is true. If you have Negative Attitude, it is certain that you will not be successful - I have never seen continuing, successful person with bad attitude.

The Power of Thinking :
Alfred a Monteperi Said "The environment you fashion out of - your thoughts - your beliefs - your ideas - your philosophy - is the only climate you will ever live in," If your thinking is positive , then so will be your environment. Some people believes many are born thinking positively and other negatively, and that they are stuck with whatever disposition they get. While it is true that we are born with the inclination to be one way or the other, we can over come that inclination . The bottom line is that positive thinking can be learned by anyone, regardless of circumstances, temperament and intellect.

10 Principles that helps develop ability to think positively.
  1. Act, walk, talk and think like a person you wish to become.
  2. Hold successful, positive thoughts in your mind.
  3. Radiate the attitude of well being, confidence and purpose.
  4. Treat everyone you meet as the most important person of the earth.
  5. Make every person you meet feel needed, important and appreciated.
  6. Look for the best in every one.
  7. Do not talk about your health unless it is good.
  8. Look everywhere for the best in new ideas.
  9. Avoid pettiness. (concentrate on Goals and priorities)
  10. Develop a spirit of giving.
Fruit of Positive Thinking and Living :

Positive thinking can change your life. It can put you into the position of succeed in any venture you desire to pursue. Here are just a few of the characteristics of positive thinker. There are more, but there along could be enough to put a person on the road to success.

  1. Self confidence.
  2. Initiative.
  3. Persistence.
  4. Creativity.
  5. Leadership.
  6. Growth.
  7. Ability to produce results.
Having a positive attitude may not guarantee success. But when your attitude is positive, it puts you on the road that leads to success. Whether or not you arrive there will be dertermined by what you do along the way.