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January 26, 2024

Rethinking Competence

“How does Performance Psychology view Competence?”


Many of us will have learned the legal definition of competence as we progress through the qualifications framework of our chosen profession. Performance psychology digs a bit deeper and breaks competence down into specific traits that can be observed and developed.

·     Skill Mastery. The deliberate practice of specific skills to achieve a high level of proficiency. This involves the forensic breaking down of complex tasks into specific components that are totally within our control.

·     Adaptability. Competence is not static; it requires adaptability and a constant willingness to learn. The presence of learning agility, the ability to quickly acquire and apply new skills in response to changing circumstances.

·     Effective Decision Making. Competence also extends to the ability to make effective decisions, particularly when in the kind of high-pressure situations we can face in the world of risk management. An awareness of our personal and collective cognitive biases and self talk (that little voice in our head) that impact on our decision making.

·    Emotional Regulation. Thinking clearly under pressure is also a critical aspect of competence. High performers are adept at managing their emotions, staying focused under pressure, and maintaining composure during challenging situations. This can be intentionally developed through deliberate practice and enhanced by practicing mindfulness to keep things “in the now”.

·     The Rocky Road.  Resilience is a key component of mastery. The ability to recover from failure or adversity. Competent individuals in this context are those who can persevere through challenges, learn from setbacks, and emerge from them even better than before.

Listen to our latest Podcast with IIRSM on this subject