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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Competency (or Competence) Defined

Absence of Agreed Formal Definition

An agreed formal definition of competency or competence is yet not available.

Therefore, we will put forth the sense of various definitions of competency and then tell you which one we will be using for the purpose here.

We often hear people saying that for anyone to carry out a task or a job properly; one needs ‘competency’. People say this so very often that it has rather become some sort of cliché. Therefore it is necessary to re-visit the real meaning of the term ‘competency’ before we proceed further on this topic.

Some define competency as ‘ability’.

Others define it as ‘skill’. Some others define it as ‘allied skill sets’.

Some see it as the quality of being adequately or well qualified intellectually and physically.

Comprehensive Understanding of ‘Competency’

A more comprehensive way of looking at it is that competency is an integrated whole of commitments, related abilities, knowledge and skills and the resultant behavior enabling an entity (a human being or an organization) to perform effectively in a job or situation leading to fulfillment of certain objectives.

Competence indicates sufficiency of knowledge and skills that enable someone to act in a wide variety of situations.

Because each level of responsibility has its own requirements, competence and its acquisition and enhancement can occur in any period of a person's life or at any stage of his career.

Looking into the history or even lately many people who were earlier thought to be highly competent people (and we had the misfortune of many of them misruling many parts of the world in some capacity or other) have now been found wanting or lacking in ethics in severe ways. This situation has created havoc in global and local business systems, economy, social setup and political arena causing tremendous difficulties to the humanity as a whole. Particularly the people who can influence the humanity because of their social, political, corporate and religious status cannot be tolerated as being incompetent and indulging in unethical practices. Its continuance can be devastating.

Therefore, we, as management thought leaders, authors and management practitioners, believe that ethical way of doing things should form an essential and integral part of any competency. Achieving even the grandeur by hook or by crook does not make the so-called achiever a competent person.

Essential Elements of ‘Competency’

Keeping in mind the aforesaid discussions, therefore, in this book when we use the term competency it envelops all the elements as given below:

       Sufficiency of all of above-mentioned elements at any point of time for given situations.
       Behavior (performance or action in accordance with the above-mentioned elements towards achieving objectives)

Any person or an entity can accomplish a task or activity or a project (consisting of various tasks and activities) as desired provided the person or the entity has the required competency. Conversely the task or activity or project will not be completed to a desired satisfaction level if the required competency in that person or entity is lacking or totally absent.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Generally Asked Questions on Soft Competencies in Interviews

Questions Often Asked in Employment Interviews

Given below are some questions that may be generally asked by job offering organizations to job seekers to evaluate them on soft competencies:

Sample Questions:

• Tell us about an important assignment you handled. How did you manage it and what were the results?
• How do you set up the priorities for your day-to-daywork?
• If any of your projects derails, goes behind schedule, how do you pull it up to bring it back on track?
• What is more important to you; processes or results? What ever is your answer, why do you think it that way?
• Can you give an example of any process improvements you achieved recently and what was its impact on various factors?
• Why do you think re-engineering of processes fail many times? Do you think one should not re-engineer but go gradual on improvements?
• How do you rate yourself as a result-focused person and why?
• Are you a deadline and timeline conscious person and how do you make sure that they are met?
• Do you like to take the challenges involved in fire fighting or would you rather be more cautious and eliminate such emergencies?
• Have you worked on any cross-functional project? What were your experiences on it as compared to a purely internal or departmental project?
• Do you believe in internal customer care concept? Would you still help the next-in-line department if because of your cooperation it is going to steal the show? Do you recall any such example from your past experience?
• Do you have at the back of your mind somewhere the requirements of you ultimate external customers? Does your approach to work get guided by it? Can you
illustrate the point in light of your experience so far?
• How do you rate yourself as a decision maker? Can you describe any decision making situation where you were at cross roads; a dilemma situation, and you came out as a winner?
• Tell us about a situation where you goofed in decision making? How did you handle it then?
• Can you construct your decision making process and share with us? Take your time to think and then tell us.
• Are you the type of person who wishes to have a 100% correct decision and in the process may miss out on timelines or budget limits etc or will you take a chance to meet the other factors? In either case, tell us why?
• Suppose you take a considered decision in a situation where others are shying away from any commitment but it is important to take decision and it backfires. Do you display courage, own it and face the consequences or do you manipulate an apology or play a blame game or play politics and get scot-free?
• Continuing from the earlier question, then, what is right in a hierarchical formal organizational situation where every one's authority areas are earmarked, yet decisions are not forthcoming?
• Can you confidently communicate with your superiors your professional ideas? Do the persons high up in the organization hierarchy intimidate you?
• If you are confident and at ease in dealing with superiors, what have you done to build up this kind of confidence?
• How do you update your knowledge and skills? Do you have any specific approach to it? Can you elaborate it?
• Describe your problem solving process.
• Which do you prefer, attend to the problem and give an immediate short term solution so that things move on or would you wait on solving the problem until you have eliminated it from the grass root level?
• While coming out with solution to a complex and repetitive problem do you keep the financial and other constraints always in mind or do you aim at a solution irrespective of the constraints and try to achieve a permanent solution even at the cost of extra investments? Either way, what are your arguments?
• Do you encourage participation of your team members or do you push your decisions through them? Provide some examples to illustrate your style.
• In building consensus on a solution to a complex problem, have you faced any difficulties? What were they? How do you manage?
• Do you see the conflicts in your day-to-day work among the people and of people with you? What is your conflict management style?
• Can you describe your conflict handling process? Give an example.
• Do you lose your cool or get angry or frustrated when you get into a conflict with some one? How do you act?
• Did you ever have significant difference of opinion with your boss? What was it? How did you deal with it?
• Has it ever happened with you when your basic values were put to test in an organizational situation?What did you do?
• In your previous jobs, did you work with great teams? Give an example and why do you consider that to be a great team? What was your role and contribution in making it so?
• What are your proposals for development of people working for you? Have you tried some of them?
• How do you compare the training effectiveness of the class-room programs and the on-the-job training programs?
• What are your leadership qualities? Do people work for you with enthusiasm by taking initiatives? Then, you must also be delegating lots?
• Sometimes it happens that if you work for perfection or 100% quality, you may lose an opportunity, time is of essence. Would you rather push an imperfect product or solution so as to make the most of the opportunity? What is you take on it?
• Are you a good implementer, an action person? Are you also a good thinker and planner? What is more important for you? Why?
• Can you narrate the problems you faced in implementing any solution that you recently introduced?
How did you tackle them?
• Tell us something where you applied your creativity and met with a breakthrough.
• What kind of creativity systems or techniques do you use with your team?
• Do you encourage borrowed or copied creativity or you only appreciate something originally done? Why?
• Can you sell your concept, ideas and solutions to others who matter? Share your experience with us on this.
• How do you rate yourself as a presenter? Are your presentations appreciated by your audience? Can you tell us the kind of feedback you get from them on your presentation?
• Do you have any experience of conducting or coordinating the meetings, either in a room or using teleconferencing facilities? Give one such example and how did the meeting go on various counts?
• You have been assigned a project but you have not been given a clear picture of it; its pretty hazy. Can you still proceed and complete it? Did you do something like this in your earlier jobs?
• In the event when some information is just not available, does the lack of information bother you? Can you work in ambiguous situations? Do you have such an experience to share with us?
• Are you open enough to share your part of information in a team situation or in a cross functional project? Perhaps keeping that information up your sleeve till emergencies arise can be a way to gain importance. Your comments?
• Are you a person who first sees the big picture of things and then go into details or do you do it the other way round? Can you give an example from your work situation?

(You can obtain "Competencies and Competency Matrix"- as eBook and printed book- online from Amazon)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Competency Matrix: Overdoing the Competencies

For detailed descriptions of each and every soft competency or soft skill, please refer:

Competency Matrix: Overdoing the Competencies

Excess of Everything Is Bad

(You can obtain "Competencies and Competency Matrix"- as eBook and printed book- online from Amazon)

In our earlier post on "Competency Matrix" (, we had included a word of caution. It was about taking care of the pitfall of "overdoing the competencies". 

While developing various kinds of competencies, it is possible to fall into this trap of getting "obsessed" with those competencies. But then as you are aware excess of everything is bad. We had cited a few examples of this and it's negative impact. 

In this present post, we are giving a comprehensive list of indicators of this "obsession" or "overdoing" on a large number of competencies as given below.

Indicators of Overdoing the Competencies: Beware of Overdoing the Competencies

When you get obsessed with any competency or start overdoing it, possibilities of following tendencies exit and efforts should be made to overcome them.

  1. Action Orientation: hopelessly workaholic, lopsided personal/family and social life, stressed out, setting unrealistic goals, setting very difficult dead lines, subordination of planning over actions, single track mind and action, inflexible.
  2. Composure: uncaring attitude, hiding the emotions all the time, stressed because of bottled up feelings not shared or expressed, boring at times.
  3. Communication: only gab and no worthwhile content, too much or too little preparedness before communicating, presentation style and effect more important, excessive salesmanship,  too much of a listener, listening giving impression of agreement or weakness, may err on time management due to over-indulgence in communication by self and others. 
  4. Conflict Management: invariably insist on only the win-win solution though not necessary,  getting involved in every conflict resolution situation though not required, seeing every problem from an assumption that some conflict exists. 
  5. Conviction: inappropriately sticking to certain ways of thinking, inflexible even where flexibility is necessary, blatant in expressions about self beliefs, too pushy in actions related to matters of  self convictions, perceiving flexibility as a sign of non-conviction, closed to feedback.
  6. Creativity: disproportionate expenditure of resources on certain creative ideas of less importance, superficial ideas, only ideas and no implementation, possibility of becoming a loner  and poor team player, contempt for less creative people, being far ahead of people and time  in  terms of creativity to the extent that the ideas get shot down by others.
  7. Customer Orientation: Giving in too easily to customers even when not warranted, twisting even well-tested company policies, plans and practices in view of customer demands, inordinate pressure on employees of the organization and overcommitting other resources to accommodate the customers.
  8. Decision Making: may becoming overzealous in giving decisions rather than evolving the decisions,  burdening all the decision making situations on own shoulders, giving decision without sound analysis, short term decision overlooking any long term considerations, weakening  the decentralization.  
  9. Developing People: lopsided expenditure of time and other resources on training and development of people, more of professor than an executive, employees spending more time and efforts in training rather than on the job thus affecting the time lines of the projects. 
  10. Integrity: perceiving and making every situation an issue of integrity and ethics, act in a self-righteous manner, getting projected as a stubborn and inflexible person, making too much fuss of transparency and openness.
  11. Interpersonal Skills: being goody goody with each and everyone at the cost of effectiveness and efficiency, acceptance and approval addict, tendency for groupthink, avoiding conflicts all the time, cannot handle rough weather, wasting time spend relationship building and networking, compromising and accommodative.
  12. Leadership: mistaking leadership for dictatorship or patronage, more words less action, creating a crevice between followers and self leaving people behind, tendency to curb emergence of new leadership, insistence that only his vision be followed, share his vision, envisioning or deciding on only the big or strategic picture with little concern for details, get projected as more theoretical and less practical.
  13. Problem Solving: tendency of analysis paralysis, burdening self with all the responsibilities of problem solving, curtailing delegation and the resultant empowerment of others, excessive avoidance of  risks.
  14. Self Confidence: danger of turning overconfident, mine is always right posture, bordering on being arrogant, shun feedback and opinions of others, creating a sense of inferiority complex in others.
  15. Self Development: obsessive with self-improvement through self-help literature and other self-help resources, self-centered and selfish, may become boring to on-lookers with self-improvement antics.
  16. Result Orientation: overemphasis on results and no concern for processes, results by hook or by crook, inclination for short term results as these are immediately seen, inordinately high concern for tasks and results and no or very little concern for people, cannot form teams, meddling with subordinates'/colleagues' work to achieve results.
  17. Team Building: excessively participative all the time and in all the situations, may miss the targets and time lines due to overemphasis on consensus building, always evolving decisions taking  people along with and not taking a definitive position i.e. not taking decisions on own when required, disproportionately greater inclination for concern for people as compared to concern for tasks/timely results, insistence on forming teams for every job even when not appropriate to do so.
Our famous authors Shyam Bhatawdekar and Dr Kalpana Bhatawdekar have been writing articles on the 'competencies' and 'competency matrix' for quite some time now on these pages. It has been attracting an extremely large readership till date.

Considering that such a large audience needed knowledge and its  application on this subject, the authors finally decided to write a self-contained book covering all the necessary aspects of 'competencies' and competency matrix'.

The book titled "Competencies and Competency Matrix" has been published in eBook format as well as in the print format and is now available to the readers online from Nuubuu and Amazon.

Books Authored by Shyam Bhatawdekar and Dr Kalpana Bhatawdekar (available online from Nuubuu and Amazon)

1.     HSoftware (Human Software) (The Only Key to Higher Effectiveness)
2.     Sensitive Stories of Corporate World (Management Case Studies)
3.     Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers (Volume 1)
4.     Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers (Volume 2)
5.     Stress? No Way!! (Handbook on Stress Management)
6.     HSoftware (Shyam Bhatawdekar’s Effectiveness Model)
7.     Competencies and Competency Matrix
8.     Soft Skills You Can’t Do Without (Goal Setting, Time Management, Assertiveness and Anger Management)
9.     Essentials of Work Study (Method Study and Work Measurement)
10.   Essentials of Time Management (Taking Control of Your Life)
11.   Essentials of 5S Housekeeping
12.   Essentials of Quality Circles
13.   Essentials of Goal Setting
14.   Essentials of Anger Management
15.   Essentials of Assertive Behavior
16.   Essentials of Performance Management & Performance Appraisal
17.   Health Essentials (Health Is Wealth)
18.   The Romance of Intimacy (How to Enhance Intimacy in a Relationship?)
19.   Love Knows No Bounds: Novel, a refreshingly different love story
20.   Funny (and Not So Funny) Short Stories
21.   Stories Children Will Love (Volume 1: Bhanu-Shanu-Kaju-Biju and Dholu Ram Gadbad Singh)
22. Travelogue: Scandinavia, Russia

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Competency Matrix

For detailed descriptions of each and every soft competency or soft skill, please refer:
For loads of authentic literature and high quality books in all aspects of management, business and leadership, refer:

For everything you wanted to know on building leadership and management, refer Shyam Bhatawdekar’s website:

(Refer our High Quality Management Encyclopedia at:

(We encourage you to read the articles on life management and competencies (giving detailed descriptions and explanations of all the competencies) at: 

Competency Matrix

(You can obtain "Competencies and Competency Matrix"- as eBook and printed book- online from Amazon)

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.
    Definitions of Some Related Terms That Often Confuse Many

    The terms given below are alphabetically arranged.

    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.

    Why Competencies in an Organization?

    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.

    Competency is Not a Task Statement
    • 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.
    • 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 (inclusive of developing inventory of competencies)

    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:
    • Competencies for individual excellence or for managing self.
    • Competencies for interpersonal relations.
    • Managerial competencies which can be further classified as: 1. Organizational. 2. Role related and 3. People related.
    • Functional or technical competencies.
    • Information related competencies.
    You may like to refer for a comprehensive inventory of soft competencies: (Soft Skills) and/or (Life Skills)

    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?
      Excellence in Competencies/Skills

      You will be able to achieve the excellence in any skill or competency only if you rehearse or practice the learned skill a large number of times. Knowledge alone is no guarantee for achieving great levels in skills or competencies.

      Only if you start swimming, you will become a swimmer; mere knowledge of swimming or great theories of swimming will not automatically make you even an ordinary swimmer. Knowledge surely helps and is a must but without doing, it is of no use to you. If you wish to become a good teacher, start teaching the subject you know well. If you want to become an actor, start acting. Seek roles in movies or dramas or TV shows and keep refining your acting by doing it and also applying your knowledge in doing it better. If your desire is to become an author, start writing. Write something every day. And use your knowledge to write even better. Doing is what makes you what you wish to become, knowledge alone does not.

      Implementation of knowledge is the name of the game. Wisdom is in knowing what to do and how to do but the virtue is doing it.

      Great Knowledge + Zero Implementation = No effectiveness, No results, No success.
      Some Knowledge + Some implementation = Some Effectiveness, Some Results, Some Success.
      Great Knowledge + Great Implementation = Great Effectiveness, Great Results, Great Success.

      There are 4 levels of competencies or skills (also refer points 3 and 4 of the paragraph titled "Inventory of Competencies and developing Competency Matrix" above):

      1. Unconsciously incompetent: Ignorance (example: you are not even aware that there are some proper styles of swimming).

      2. Consciously incompetent: Acceptance of incompetence and creating a desire to learn (example: you accept that you do not swim properly and you will like to learn the correct styles of swimming).

      3. Consciously competent: Gaining the knowledge about the skill to be mastered and begin practicing the knowledge gained (example: gaining knowledge on how to swim using proper styles of swimming and start swimming using the right styles of swimming).

      4. Unconsciously competent: Keep practicing the knowledge gained till you gain mastery in the skill (example: you have now become an expert swimmer since you have been swimming using the proper styles of swimming over number of hours and you can now give yourself 9 on 10 or even 10 on 10).

      For greater success in life, you should try to reach the unconsciously competent level in the skills required by you for your professional, personal, family and social activities/tasks/projects.

      Additional Examples of Behavioral and Functional Competencies

      As mentioned earlier, we give below some more examples:

      Some More Examples of Behavioral and Managerial Competencies

      Individual:· Self Development
      · Self Confidence
      · Intellectual Strength
      Results:· Strategic Decision Making
      · Focus on Results
      Team Work: Team Building
      · Open Communication Skills
      Passion for Products and Technology: Passion and Drive for Technology

      Some More Examples of Functional Competencies

      · Ability to set accounting policies
      · Ability to perform financial analysis
      · Ability to select, evaluate and monitor vendor performance
      · Ability to use CAD/CAM tools
      · Ability to perform manufacturing capacity planning
      · Ability to assimilate new technologies, methods, architectures and techniques related to production
      · Ability to use Microsoft Word Software
      · Ability to use JIT (just-in-time) principles and practices
      · Competency in recruiting the people

      Soft Skills and Hard Skills

      You will need to sharpen your soft skills as well as your hard skills in order to become effective, efficient and successful in your life and your professions.

      Hard skills are to do with the technical skills and soft skills are the behavioral skills. Both types of skills are required for carrying our your professional activities effectively and efficiently. They are also required to be successful in your personal, family and social life.

      You should first identify as to which soft skills and hard skills you need to develop. Each person may have his or her unique requirements. Once having identified them, you will need to feel motivated about developing those skills. We have emphasized earlier that there is no short-cut to master the skills. You will have to acquire the right kind of knowledge about those skills and then keep on practicing.

      Then, you are there to win the world.

      Soft Skills

      Earlier, we have emphasized the importance of acquiring and mastering both types of skills- the hard skills and the soft skills. Hard skills are important and you should never undermine them. They are your bread and butter skills. For example, a tourist guide has to know the technical aspects of his job like showing his tourists the right places in a proper sequence with authentic commentary on them, the legalities of his job, the safety aspect of his tourists etc, yet, he will be more in demand and earn more if he also has the necessary soft skills for the job like manners and etiquette, interpersonal relations with tourists, humor, creativity etc.

      Hard skills are more rational types and soft skills improve your emotional intelligence. Soft skills make you more cultured, empathic, understanding, caring and also, more sophisticated and reformed.

      You must try to find out what soft skills you should choose to acquire and develop for success in your personal, professional, family and social life.

      We are giving below a fairly comprehensive list of soft skills for your guidance. To know the details on each one of the competencies given below, you can refer to the respective web links (URLs) given below later in the paragraph titled "Other Topics of Interest".

      1. Observation.
      2. Know yourself (introspection).
      3. Openness and flexibility (paradigm shifting).
      4. Internal motivation and passion. (Refer:
      5. Action orientation, drive and self initiation. (Refer:
      6. Self development. (Refer:
      7. Self confidence. (Refer:
      8. Assertiveness. (Refer:
      9. Integrity. (Refer:
      10. Trustworthiness.
      11. Composure/Coolness and self presentation (appearance, manners and etiquette). (Refer:
      12. Intellectual horsepower and learning.
      13. Creativity and innovation. (Refer:
      14. Conviction. (Refer:
      15. Moral courage.
      16. Dependability and reliability.
      17. Dealing with ambiguity.
      18. Time management.
      19. Goal setting and result orientation. (Refer:
      20. Decision making. (Refer:
      21. Problem solving and process orientation. (Refer:
      22. Organizing.
      23. Coordinating.
      24. Delegation.
      25. Communication (speaking, listening, empathy, body language, writing). (Refer:
      26. Listening. (Refer:
      27. Interpersonal skills. (Refer:
      28. Negotiation.
      29. Conflict management. (Refer:
      30. Presentation.
      31. Convincing.
      32. Coaching and developing people. (Refer:
      33. Counseling.
      34. Mentoring.
      35. Team work. (Refer:
      36. Team building. (Refer:
      37. Consensus building.
      38. Conducting meetings.
      39. Leading/Leadership. (Refer:
      40. Big picture thinking and strategic thinking.
      41. Motivating: motivating others (Refer:
      42. Self motivation or internal motivation (Refer:
      43. Controlling.
      44. Safety.
      45. Stress management.
      Go through the above list very carefully and tick out the soft skills where you need to pull up yourself. Then, you have to go through the cycle of gaining authentic knowledge of that skill, understanding the process (the standard operating procedure- the SOP) of building that skill, practicing that skill following the process (SOP), practicing it, practicing it and practicing it till you get the mastery over that skill, till that skills gets internalized in you; it becomes your habit.

      Soft Skills Are Important though Difficult to Learn and Master 

      One can master writing a code in a particular computer language, one can master playing tennis or basket ball or golf, one can master a specific classical dance, one can master singing, one can master acting, one can master cooking a recipe, one can master judo, kung fu or karate, one can master painting, one can master opening and assembling a machine or equipment but mastering soft skills is very very difficult.

      People work for hours and months and years to acquire, learn, practice and master these hard  skills or technical skills or external skills. However, most people don't even appreciate that there is something to learn and practice and master in soft skills.

      For most people, the soft skills just happen, you don't have to learn them. They think that some people are good at them because they are gifted with them as if it's out of some genetic or psychic determination. And then they say, "He is naturally good in maintaining great relationships with people, I just can't be doing that; I am just not cut out for it. I generally mess up my relations with many people". "He is a born speaker, I am not that talented". "He has a way to negotiate to resolve conflicts, I create more problems".

      These expressions are not mere cliches, people say them with all their seriousness and sound a bit pathetic and diffident towards themselves that they can't be so good at these things.The truth is that there is hardly any genetic or psychic determination here. The people good at soft skills have mastered soft skills by working at them for hours and years together.

      A child learns to communicate (soft skill) when he is around one year of age and it does not happen to him automatically. The child has tremendous desire to learn speaking and then he puts tremendous efforts in developing his vocabulary of words, phrases and sentences with body language, gestures and grunts. And as the child grows over the years he picks up the right ways of speaking as well as the wrong ways of speaking. When he does with the right kind of things, he speaks well and impresses but if he does with wrong things, he derates. The one who keeps correcting and practices more and more the right ways of speaking becomes a good and efffective speaker. The one who does not correct himself and does not learn the right ways of speaking falls behind in the soft skill called "speaking". So soft skill is necessarily an outcome of the desire-knowledge-practice-habit model (refer:

      Right combination of hard skills and soft skills is the winning strategy.

      How Much Value My Competency Can Add?

      The More the Value Addition Due to Your Competencies, the More You Can Earn

      The money you can earn as a professional by using your competency depends squarely on the value it can add. Extent of value derived by the usage of your competency is decided by the user or the customer. If the perception of the customer allows your competency to be seen as a high value adding competency, you can claim more money for providing that competency to your customer and more often than not, the customer will pay you that much. On the other hand even if you reach the highest level of expertise in a particular competency, it is not necessary that you will end up earning more particularly when the customers does not see it delivering high value to him.

      It is also a matter of supply and demand. The much needed rare competencies may get paid more since at that point of time they are seen to be delivering high value to its customers in their perception.

      An example will illustrate the point brought out in this paragraph. You will generally see that a specialist doctor say, a surgeon will end up earning lots more that the best or most proficient waiter in a restaurant. Yet a chief chef in the same restaurant, if he is worth his salt (as far as proficiency or expertise in cooking is concerned) may also end up earning as much as the doctor or an engineer.

      So, it seems that high value adding competencies alone can earn more money for you.

      Overdoing a Competency
      • While having highest level of proficiency in a competency is always desirable, overdoing it can prove to be counterproductive. Excess of anything is bad. Mastery over skills is OK but obsession with it and therefore, overdoing it can mean difficulties.
      • Whether it is a hard skill or a soft skill, too much indulgence in it or overdoing that competency can prove to be harmful to self and others, particularly your associates.
      • An example: An over organized person or a person who is really great in planning things can be a very competent person till he starts overdoing it. The moment he starts overdoing it, he may lose sight of other things. He may become too rigid and structured and less tolerant to continuous and quick changes or unavoidable chaotic situations many times prevalent in real life situations. He may also be pretty divorced with the human element; he may not be comfortable associating with people who are otherwise good and efficient but little less organized in his opinion. With this lopsided weight on planning and organizing he loses his overall balance and becomes overall less competent.
      For more examples on "overdoing competency", refer: (Competencies- Life Management)

      Books by Shyam Bhatawdekar and Dr Kalpana Bhatawdekar (eBooks available from Nuubuu and printed books from Amazon)

      1.     HSoftware (Human Software) (The Only Key to Higher Effectiveness)
      2.     Sensitive Stories of Corporate World (Management Case Studies)
      3.     Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers (Volume 1)
      4.     Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers (Volume 2)
      5.     Stress? No Way!! (Handbook on Stress Management)
      6.     HSoftware (Shyam Bhatawdekar’s Effectiveness Model)
      7.     Competencies and Competency Matrix
      8.     Soft Skills You Can’t Do Without (Goal Setting, Time Management, Assertiveness and Anger Management)
      9.     Essentials of Work Study (Method Study and Work Measurement)
      10.   Essentials of Time Management (Taking Control of Your Life)
      11.   Essentials of 5S Housekeeping
      12.   Essentials of Quality Circles
      13.   Essentials of Goal Setting
      14.   Essentials of Anger Management
      15.   Essentials of Assertive Behavior
      16.   Essentials of Performance Management & Performance Appraisal
      17.   Health Essentials (Health Is Wealth)
      18.   The Romance of Intimacy (How to Enhance Intimacy in a Relationship?)
      19.   Love Knows No Bounds: Novel, a refreshingly different love story
      20.   Funny (and Not So Funny) Short Stories
      21.   Stories Children Will Love (Volume 1: Bhanu-Shanu-Kaju-Biju and Dholu Ram Gadbad Singh)
      22. Travelogue: Scandinavia, Russia

      For More Guidance, Assistance, Training and Consultation


      Training on "Competency Matrix/Competency Mapping" is imparted by Prodcons Group's Mr Shyam Bhatawdekar and/or Dr (Mrs) Kalpana Bhatawdekar, the renowned management educationists and consultants and trainers- par excellence with distinction of having trained over 150,000 people from around 250 organizations. Implementation of "Competency Matrix/Competency Mapping" is also facilitated by the team of Prodcons Group.

      Also refer:,,

      Other Topics of Interest

      All Management Topics (General Management, Marketing and Sales, Service, Operations/Manufacturing, Quality, Maintenance, Human Resources, Finance and Accounts, Information Technology, Life Management)

      The topics are listed in alphabetic order:

      (Home Pages for All the Management Topics) and
      (Building Leadership and Management)
      (Alphabetic List of All Management Topics)
      (Home Page for Writings of Shyam Bhatawdekar)
      (5S Housekeeping)
      (Activity Based Costing- ABC)
      (Anger Management)
      (Assessment Centers)
      (A to Z of Management Systems)
      (A to Z of Quality Techniques)
      (Balanced Scorecard)
      (Basic Statistics)
      (Behavioral Safety)
      (Body Language or Non-verbal Communication)
      (Books- Best Management Books)
      (Business Ethics and Ethics in Management)
      (Business Plan)
      (Business Process Reengineering- BPR)
      (Career Planning within Organizations)
      (Case Method)
      (Case Studies in Management)
      (CEO Roles, Qualities and Competencies)
      (Change Management)
      (Competencies- Life Management)
      (Competency Matrix)
      (Conflict Management)
      (Corporate Governance)
      (Cost Management)
      (Cost of Quality- COQ)
      (Counseling at Workplace)
      (Creativity and Innovation)
      (Critical Thinking skills)
      (Cross Cultural Etiquette and Manners)
      (Customer Orientation)
      (Customer Relationship management- CRM)
      (Daily Management)
      (Decision Making)
      (Design for Manufacture)
      (Dining Etiquette and Table Manners)
      (Discipline at Work)
      (Dream Exotic)
      (Effectiveness and Efficiency)
      (Effectiveness Management: HSoftware)
      (Efficiency Techniques: Work study: Motion and Time Study)
      (Efficient Work Methods or Practices)
      (Email Etiquette)
      (Emotional Intelligence)
      (Enterprise Resource Planning- ERP)
      (Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneur)
      (Executive Etiquette and Manners)
      (Exit Interview)
      (Financial Ratios and Financial Ratio Analysis)
      (Financial Services)
      (Functions of Management)
      (Gemba Kaizen)
      (Genuine Professional)
      (Global Mindset)
      (Goal/Target Setting)
      (Group Discussion)
      (Group Dynamics)
      (How to Be a Good Boss)
      (How to Get Promoted)
      (How to save Money)
      (HR Dynamics)
      (HR Strategies and Functions)
      (Human Capital Architecture)
      (Human Relations)
      (Human Resource Planning)
      (Human Software- HSoftware)
      (Internal Motivation or Self Motivation)
      (Interpersonal Relations)
      (Interview Skills)
      (Interview Preparation for Job Seekers)
      (Interview Questions)
      (Just in Time Management- JIT)
      (Knowledge Management)
      (Lead Time Management)
      (Lean Enterprise)
      (Learning Organization)
      (Life Management: Competencies)
      (Life Management: Effectiveness Management: HSoftware)
      (Life Management: I Am Liberated)
      (Life Positions and OKness)
      (Life Skills)
      (Management Anecdotes)
      (Management Book- Best Books)
      (Management Information System- MIS)
      (Managing/conducting Meetings)
      (Management Notes- Free and Authentic)
      (Marginal Utility)
      (Marketing Management Overview)
      (Marketing Management Tasks)
      (Marketing Orientation)
      (Market Research)
      (Market Segmentation)
      (Musings of Shyam Bhatawdekar on every topic on the earth)
      (Negotiation Skills)
      (Negotiation Tactics)
      (Objection Handling)
      (Organization Development- OD)
      (Organizational Culture)
      (Out of Box Ideas)
      (Ownership on Job)
      (Paradigm and Paradigm Shift)
      (Performance Management and Appraisal)
      (Positive Strokes)
      (Presentation Skills)
      (Problem Solving)
      (Profit Improvement)
      (Project Management)
      (Public Speaking)
      (Quality Circles History)
      (Quality Circles)
      (Quality Function Deployment- QFD and House of Quality)
      (Quality Gurus)
      (Recession Management)
      (Recession and Opportunities)
      (Recruitment and Selection)
      (Research Methodology)
      (Safety and Health Management)
      (Sales/Selling Process)
      (Sales Promotion)
      (Self Motivation or Internal Motivation)
      (Self Development)
      (Shyam Bhatawdekar’s Articles on Management)
      (Six Sigma)
      (Six Thinking Hats)
      (Soft Skills)
      (Spiritual Quotient/Intelligence)
      (Statistics- Basic)
      (Strategic Management)
      (Stress Management)
      (Stress Management)
      (Success in Life or Success)
      (Success in Life or Success)
      (Supply Chain Management)
      (Supply and Demand)
      (Talent Management)
      (Team Building)
      (Telephone Etiquette)
      (Three Sixty Degrees Appraisal System)
      (Time Management)
      (Total Productive Maintenance- TPM)
      (Total Quality Management- TQM)
      (Training and Development)
      (Training Games)
      (Trainers’ Qualities)
      (Transaction Analysis- TA)
      (TRIZ- Inventive Problem Solving)
      (Value Engineering/Analysis)
      (Winners and Losers)
      (Work Study: Method Study and Work Measurement)
      (Work Methods or Practices: Efficient)
      (World Class Manufacturing)
      (Writings of Shyam Bhatawdekar on Management)
      (Written Communication)
      (Zero Based Budgeting)

      Counseling: General and Psychological
      (Anger Management)
      (Children’s Behavior Problems)
      (Cholesterol Control)
      (Counseling: Psychological)
      (Counseling: Psychological)
      (Cross Cultural Etiquette)
      (Executive Etiquette and Manners)
      (Family Counseling)
      (Health: Homeopathy)
      (LifeManagement: Competencies)
      (Life Management: Effectiveness Management: HSoftware)
      (Life management: I Am Liberated)
      (Marriage Counseling)
      (Ownership on Job)
      (Parental Responsibilities)
      (Qualities of Spouse)
      (Quit Smoking)
      (Self Development)
      (Stress Management)
      (Stress Management)
      (Swine Flu and Its Prevention)
      (Telephone Etiquette)
      (Winners and Losers)

      About All the Products(Home Page for All Products)
      (Greeting Cards)
      (Mobile Phones)

      Home Tips(Home Page for All Home Tips)
      (Entertainment: Movies)
      (Oscar Award Movies)
      (Entertainment: Recommended Hindi Movies)
      (Entertainment- Hindi Movies of Your Choice)
      (Plagiarized, Copied or Inspired Hindi Movies)
      (Health: Homeopathy)
      (Housekeeping at Home)
      (How to Save Money) or
      (Jewelry Design)
      (Recipes: Easy to Cook)
      (Recipes: Exotic)
      (Stories for Children)
      (Travel and Sightseeing- India)
      (Travel and Sightseeing- World)
      (World Heritage Sites)

      General Knowledge and Out of Box Ideas(General Knowledge- GK)
      (General Knowledge- Top 5 of Everything)
      (General Knowledge- Top 10 of Everything)
      (Out of Box Ideas)
      (Shyam Bhatawdekar’s Knols)
      (Running Commentary on the Run)