Competent Team Members
Competency is defined as the necessary skills and abilities to achieve the desired objective (technical competencies) and the personal characteristics required to achieve excellence while working well with others (personal competencies).
- Technical competencies are minimal requirements of any team. They include the substantive knowledge, skills, and abilities related to the specific tasks to be accomplished.
- Personal competencies refer to the qualities, skills, and abilities necessary for individual team members to identify, address, and resolve issues.
There are three common features of competent team members:
- The essential skills and abilities to conduct the work;
- A strong desire to contribute; and
- The capacity to collaborate effectively.
One of the necessary characteristics of high performing teams is the participation of competent team members. In this case, “competent” is not defined as general social or intellectual competence, but rather refers to the presence of individuals on the team who are best able to achieve the team’s collective objectives.
There are essentially two types of competency involved in collaboration:
- Technical competency is defined as having the skills and
abilities necessary to fulfill the needs of the team. As such, an important
question to consider as you put together a team or evaluate the effectiveness
of an existing team is: do we have people with all of the technical skills
that are required for this task? If not, what critical skills are we
missing? Where else might we seek out individuals who possess the technical
competency that is currently missing from our team?
- The other type of competency needed for a successful team composition is personal competency. There are many people who are excellent at what they do, but are happiest when they are working independently rather than with others or in groups. This is simply a reflection of an individual’s preferred working style. However, it is important to remember that a person who prefers to work alone may be technically very competent, but lack the desire or the people skills necessary to work effectively in a collaborative environment. Having too many individuals with this work style can pose barriers to completing the team’s work. Personally competent team members, on the other hand, are those who are both capable of interacting well with others, and willing to do so. It is critical to have at least some personally competent individuals as members of your team.
To summarize, competent team members share three common features: they possess the essential skills and abilities to accomplish the work; they have a strong desire to contribute (ideally because they believe in the team’s vision); and they have the demonstrated capacity to collaborate effectively.
Research indicates that when these three factors are in place, the group’s confidence begins to grow, and this confidence gives the team the ability to meet challenges and adjust to adversity. Essentially, the competence of individual team members becomes the competence of the collaborative team as a whole. As a result, the team develops greater confidence in its ability to achieve its elevating goal.
In addition, teams that possess these features develop a greater ability to self–correct. They are more effective at monitoring themselves as individuals in their collective work and they can re–focus each other on the issue at hand when necessary.
Therefore, it is critical that teams ensure that they have the right balance of stakeholders on their team—individuals who bring both technical expertise and knowledge, as well as those who are able to work well together as members of a collaborative effort.
Click here for a teamwork exercise that will guide your team through conducting a stakeholder analysis.