This is part of the Layers of Performance framework: Click Here to read the introduction.
The next layer in the framework is our competencies, sometimes referred to as skills. Building a competency in a particular field or task is usually gained through training, experience and effective application of personal talents. A competency develops when we are involved in a particular function over and over, leading to us mastering the competency where it becomes a recurring pattern.
There are two types of competencies/skills:
Hard Skills – Hard skills develop from the application of specialised knowledge and experience. Hard skills tend to relate directly to a particular function or field and are not as easily transportable as soft skills. That is, they tend to apply to specific solutions, like being able to write a computer program or fix a diesel engine.
Soft Skills – Soft skills tend to be a little less obvious than hard skills, in that they are harder to see and test. Soft skills are personal attributes that a person develops that enhance their ability to interact with others and their job performance. Soft skills tend to transfer easily between different positions as well as the personal and professional setting.
While these competencies/skills form an important part of the Layers of Performance framework we must understand that we do not need to develop competencies in all walks of life. It is essential for those who want to increase their performance to understand the competencies important for their specific role(s) in life and focus their attention on developing those.
In order to master any competency, we must first understand the other layers and how they impact our ability to master said competency. In other words, someone with a specific set of personal talents, education and experience will require different things to master the same competency as someone with another set of attributes.