Examples of Competency

Examples of Competency

Examples of Competency Jonathan Poland

Competencies are the various traits and capabilities that enable an individual or organization to be effective and successful. These may include skills, knowledge, abilities, personal attributes, and relationships that contribute to the ability to create value. In other words, competencies are the characteristics that allow someone or something to perform at a high level and achieve desired results. These may be related to specific job tasks or more general qualities that are applicable in a variety of contexts. By developing and demonstrating a range of competencies, individuals and organizations can increase their effectiveness and contribute to their own and others’ success. The following are common types of competency.


The ability to accomplish a task. For example, the ability to replace a motor in a particular model of elevator.


The systematic search and investigation of information and information sources.


The process of gathering, interpreting and structuring information.


The practice of designing and executing tests to discover knowledge or test a hypothesis.


The ability to transfer meaning to others and fully understand verbal and written communications.

Public Speaking

A talent for communicating to groups.


The art of making information interesting.


The ability to change people’s actions and ideas using communication.


Negotiating prices, terms and agreements.


A talent for meeting people and building out a network of social connections.

Relationship Management

The process of building and sustaining relationships with stakeholders such as customers.

Relational Capital

The relationships currently held by an individual or organization. For example, a candidate for a sales position who already knows hundreds of people in your industry versus a candidate who is relatively unknown.

Cultural Capital

The ability to build relationships and influence in the context of a culture.

Strategy Planning

A talent for identifying goals and plans to achieve goals under constrained and competitive conditions.


The direction of teams and control of resources.

Managing Expectations

Managing commitments and perceptions so that the work you produce matches the expectations of your stakeholders.


Oversight and direction of work.


Conducting processes and procedures.


Identifying and executing steps that achieve goals.


Orchestrating resources in order to realize a plan.

Time Management

The ability to use time effectively as measured by productivity.

Attention to Detail

The ability to deliver high quality products, communications and services.

Meeting Management

Planning, organizing and facilitating meetings.

Knowledge Management

The process of developing, capturing, communicating and using knowledge.


A talent for getting people working together towards a common purpose independent of your authority.

Change Management

The practice of leading change including defeating resistance to change.

Self Direction

The ability to achieve a set of goals without management and supervision.

Personal Resilience

Dealing with challenges and stress without a loss of motivation, direction and diligence.


Applying the level of care in your work that can be reasonably expected.

Decision Making

A talent for making reasonable decisions using techniques such as decision modeling.

Problem Solving

Troubleshooting and developing solutions to problems.


The ability to come up with non-obvious value.


The process of seeking leaps forward as opposed to incremental improvements.

Risk Management

Identifying, analyzing, treating and monitoring risk.

Quality Assurance

The end-to-end process of preventing mistakes.

Financial Management

Planning and control of financial resources including budget planning, forecasting, accounting, financial controls, financial reporting and audits.


The end-to-end process of managing relationships with customers and closing sales.

Customer Service

A talent for delivering customer service that is perceived as friendly and diligent.


The process of researching, developing, launching, distributing, pricing, promoting and selling products and services.

Technology Use

The ability to use technologies such as applications and systems.

Technology Administration

Deploying, configuring and administering information technology.

Software Development

The ability to architect, design and develop software.


The application of science and mathematics to design and development.

User Experience

The design of user interfaces and other user experiences.

Visual Design

The design of visual things such as posters.


Art is the creation of things with aesthetic value without commercial constraint.


Craft is the creation of physical value by hand.

Domain Knowledge

Knowledge that is specific to a domain such as a science or industry.

Situated Knowledge

Highly specific knowledge such as a salesperson who knows about a customer’s internal politics related to their purchase decisions.

Design Thinking

A talent for applying design to solve problems and make decisions.

Systems Thinking

Systems thinking is the ability to fully model the end-to-end impact of things to develop elegant solutions to complex problems.

Emotional Intelligence

The ability to understand, communicate and use emotion.


A talent for developing the competencies of others.

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