Communication, time management, critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, resilience, and integrity are only a few of the top soft skills that employees focus on for flourishing in the post-pandemic hybrid environment.
People may have several skills, some unrelated to each other, and each skill will typically be at one of the stages of competence at a given time.
What is competence?
Broadly speaking, competence means having the ability to perform a task well. This means that competence refers to a combination of knowledge, skills and experience, likely affected also by attitude, that makes a person capable to do something efficiently.
The 4 stages of the competence model is a learning framework that describes the journey individuals go through when acquiring a new skill. First developed by Noel Burch in the 1970s, it has since become a widely applicable concept across various industries, including business.
The 4 stages of the competence model provide a valuable framework for understanding how individuals learn and develop new skills. In a business setting, understanding this model can help managers and employees identify areas where skills are lacking and create strategies for improving performance and productivity. Let’s explore the four stages:
Stage 1: Unconscious incompetence
The first stage of competence is characterized by a lack of awareness of one’s skill level. An individual in this stage does not know what they do not know, and they may not even recognize that they lack the required skillset. For example, an office employee may not know how to use a particular software program and may not even be aware of its existence.
To overcome this stage, you need to identify areas where your skills and knowledge are lacking. Consult with your supervisor, attend training sessions or seminars, and read relevant industry publications to gain a better understanding of your role and the big picture of the industry.
Stage 2: Conscious incompetence
In the second stage, an individual becomes aware of their incompetence. They recognize that they lack the required skills and knowledge to perform a task effectively. For instance, an office employee who has just started using a new software program may find it challenging to operate and understand it.
To overcome this stage, you need to seek out training and resources to improve your knowledge and skills. You can consult with your supervisor, attend specialized training courses, or seek out online resources to gain a better understanding of the relevant regulations and practices.
Stage 3: Conscious competence
The third stage is where an individual begins to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to perform a task effectively. They become more confident in their abilities, but their performance still requires a conscious effort. An office employee who has been using a new software program for some time may now be able to operate it with ease but still needs to concentrate on the task at hand.
To move beyond this stage, you need to practice and apply your skills consistently. Seek feedback from your supervisor or colleagues and use it to improve your performance. Attend refresher courses or participate in industry conferences, such as the SAFETY4SEA Forum, to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and regulations in the industry.
Stage 4: Unconscious competence
The final stage is where an individual has mastered a skill to the point where it becomes automatic. They can perform the task without conscious effort, and their performance is consistently high. An office employee who has been using a particular software program for years can operate it with ease and may not even have to think about it.
The fast-paced and dynamically changing business environment requires constant work on skills for those who wish to stay relevant and stand out at their job. Many skills require practice to remain at a high level of competence.
To maintain this level of competence, you need to continue to learn and develop your skills. Seek opportunities to mentor new employees or share your knowledge with colleagues. Participate in industry forums or volunteer for leadership roles to continue to grow your expertise and contribute to the success of your organization.
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