What do we mean when we use these words? Are they the same or different? Are they interchangeable or are they completely different? People often speak of skills in the same breath as competencies but in reality they are not one and the same and yes, it does matter.
We will have a look at what the words actually mean, and then consider how they can add substance and value in the writing of CV’s, performance management and in general.
When we reference the word skill we are referencing ‘the ability to do something well; expertise.’ “difficult work, taking great skill” or we are training someone in a particular set of skills so that they can practice it competently! But we will return to that later.
More on skills first.
Skills are the expertise or talent needed in order to do a job or task. Skills are what makes you confident and independent in life and are essential for success. … It might take determination and practice, but almost any skill can be learned or improved.
There are also hard and soft skill’s and these are equally important and are measurable, we can learn both and we can demonstrate are competence in any given situation. Assessment centres often use role play, in-tray exercise’s, scenario’s and various other methodologies to establish levels of attainment with accuracy, validity, reliability and ability to transfer the skills and utilise them in other situations.
We all have a combination of hard and soft skills to a greater or lesser degree and the ability to know when and how to use them, some of us more than others, which is one reason why some people are able to engage with colleagues more effectively than others. Soft skills are also known as people skills and interpersonal skills which interface with both social and emotional intelligence.
There are numerous examples on the world stage of leaders who have people skills and those that are sadly lacking!
|Based on expertise||Based on behaviour|
|Universal meaning||Contextual meaning|
|Transferable across roles||Aspirational within a role|
|Tracking inputs that lead to specific business outcomes||Mixing together knowledge. Skills, actions. And attitudes|
To my way of thinking you may have skills but are you competent with them, can you use the skills and have you maintained your competencies? A competency can be defined as observable abilities, skills, knowledge, traits defined in terms of the behaviours needed for successful job performance. An oft used abbreviation here in GCC is KSA, which also of course means Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and thereby is a useful example of jargon and abbreviations! In the language of performance, it is most frequently – Knowledge, Skills and Abilities.
As with listening and hearing, there are different levels with competencies related to the conscious and unconscious mindset and the engagement of the person in any given situation. Believe it or not, people will choose to misrepresent their competencies in order to avoid responsibility and attention or to secure the same. Faking incompetence is less risky than failing competence as the penalties are far higher when you are found out and fail than your being promoted or given responsibility and can then not deliver. It is extremely important to maintain and raise levels of competency for any job as trends change, new technologies, alternative approaches leading to more efficiency and effective work behaviour. In many professions it is an absolute prerequisite to be able to demonstrate ongoing improvements and standards. with continuing education, particularly when life, health and safety are paramount in the course of the work that is being carried out. Health professionals have ME’s [continuing medical education] minimal levels that must be attained in order to continue to practice the profession. Similarly, international safety standards [ISO] have cycles of three years and they have to be renewed from the beginning.
So the long and the short of it is yes, there is a difference and they cannot be considered as one and the same, they are not and should not be confused.
If you have any questions related to this topic do feel free to contact us and we can expand or engage with you to work with your organisation related to competencies in your job descriptions or with your performance appraisal and how you match competencies and measure them.
Aug 25, 2020 SHARE
Full stops are intimidating. But commas, however, can be rather annoying … thank you!
We explore the subtextual underbelly of everyday punctuation
It’s an unfriendly sign of aggression. Full stop.
At least that’s what Generation Z thinks of the punctuation mark, according to an ongoing debate on Twitter. People born between the mid-to-late 1990s, a generation that grew up with smartphones, the internet and social media, find the full stop intimidating when used in written messages, linguists say.
The conversation appears to have been ignited by a since-deleted tweet from The Guardian columnist Rhiannon Cosslett on August 14, who wrote: “Older people – do you realise that ending a sentence with a full stop comes across as sort of abrupt and unfriendly to younger people in an email/chat? Genuinely curious.”
Coco Chanel once said ‘before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory’. The 2020 version is that before pressing send, a person should read their email and only leave one !
Linguistic experts took to social media to share their thoughts, including Dr Lauren Fonteyn from Holland’s Leiden University, who tweeted: “If you send a text message without a full stop, it’s already obvious that you’ve concluded the message. So if you add that additional marker for completion, they will read something into it and it tends to be a falling intonation or negative tone.”
Owen McArdle, a linguist at the University of Cambridge, also told The Telegraph: “Full stops are, in my experience, very much the exception and not the norm in [young people’s] instant messages, and have a new role in signifying an abrupt or angry tone of voice.”
The conversation has also given rise to headlines, such as this one courtesy of The Sun: “Snowflakes ‘think full stops are aggressive and unfriendly’.”
This is not the first time that linguists have explored the perception of the full stop in modern-day correspondence, with a 2015 study by New York’s Binghamton University finding that the punctuation was perceived as “insincere”. “When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses and so on,” research leader Celia Klin said at the time.
“People obviously can’t use these mechanisms when they are texting. Thus, it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them – emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation.”
There is something of an abrupt finality to a full stop when applied in a text message or social media comment, that can signify a lack of warmth, depending on one’s relationship with the sender. Signing off “Thanks.”, as opposed to “Thanks!”, might make many give pause, however fleeting, to the level of gratitude actually conveyed.
But the full stop is not the only punctuation mark that can be perceived in a multitude of different ways, regardless of intentions.
Here are other punctuational subtexts
Used liberally by people who like to inject humour – successfully or otherwise – in written correspondence but want to make it clear their remarks are made in jest. This can be particularly useful when it comes to employing sarcasm, to ensure the recipient reads the comment with droll intention rather than at face value, though it does tend to make the writer sound more like an excitable Labrador than the next Larry David.
The exclamation mark is also often used by people in senior or management positions who want to be liked. Case in point: “Hi team, let’s all get together at 1pm today – just to discuss targets!”
Coco Chanel once said “before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory”. The 2020 version is that before pressing send, a person should read their email and only leave one !, if it’s being sent in a professional capacity.
While a single exclamation mark is used to indicate lightheartedness, the double or triple use of one is quite the opposite.
This can be often be used by managers who have no intention of being liked, and will replace their in-person screaming with multiple exclamation points if forced to make a reprimand over email or text.
A string of exclamation marks that tips the four or more scale is typically reserved for the kind of person who either sends memes to the entire office, or the kind that isn’t good at sharing.
Can often be seen on passive-aggressive Post-Its left on shared fridges.
The ellipsis is typically used in one of two ways. It can either be employed as an alternative indication of sarcasm, almost like a grammatical eye roll, or it can used in an act of passive aggression.
To wit: “Hi Charlie, did you notice the typo in that report you filed, or … “
There is also a third use, more commonly seen on social media, which best illustrates a person with limited grasp of punctuation, whereby … is used to mark where anything from a full stop to a comma should actually be, resulting in a breathy stream of consciousness.
An underused piece of punctuation when it comes to texts, tweets and emails. While the semi-colon doesn’t denote much emotion, there is the subtext that the author is drawing attention to their educated use of one, intentionally or otherwise, perhaps invoking a sense of inferiority in the reader. When used incorrectly, the opposite is true.
Most of us use commas in all written communication (not necessarily correctly, but hey ho). When used sparingly, they impart little to no feeling, merely indicating where a breath might occur. When used liberally, however grammatically correct, they can feel loaded.
“It was noticed, Hannah, that you left the office at 4pm, however, your contract stipulates you should be at work until 4.15pm, unless otherwise agreed.”
There’s a formality to the use of a comma that can, when used by a certain type of person, feel like a telling off or a flagrant display of a sense of superiority, regardless of the topic.
The curly brackets, also known as braces, traditionally signify a portion of text that should be taken as a group, especially when another type of bracket – () or  – is used. The curly brackets are most prevalent in poetry.
However, when seen in a text or tweet, these usually signify the writer has butterfingers, and has hit the wrong button on their keyboard.
Updated: August 25, 2020 03:28 PM
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