For years, Human Resource leaders have encouraged organizations to develop the Competencies needed for success at an organization. This is a great practice. It can provide a common language to describe what is necessary for success—for individual contributors, people leaders at all levels and executive or senior leaders. Expectations do change as individuals progress up the leadership pipeline, but it is not always evident to those individuals HOW they need to behave differently. Developing and aligning around these can help provide information about norms, culture and values—how to “be successful” here.
Make no mistake, this is good practice. However, it also carries confusion and frustrations. Here are some:
- No one agrees as to what a Competency is. Is it a value to demonstrate, a skill or behavior to perform, and/or a personality characteristic to display? I know experts in this field can define exactly what a competency is but to the average individual, it is any or all the above. One person’s value is another person’s personality characteristic and vice versa.
- How specific or broad should you be when defining competencies and related behaviors? If you are too broad, it leaves lots of room for interpretation of what exactly that competency translates into at work. If it is too specific, it can be too confining or narrow.
- Whether someone “fulfills” a competency is always somewhat subjective. All performance ratings are. But when folks within an organization perceive the same individual differently, how much is in the eye of the beholder or in the person being evaluated. The answer is it is often both!
- It is a time-consuming practice to develop them. And once developed, they show up on the performance evaluations (sometimes!) once a year. Continuing dialog is needed to assure employees, leaders, and executives understand what they really mean and are given respectful feedback when others think they are NOT following them. Truly, most executives and leaders BELIEVE they are meeting the competencies, but others do not. But they rarely get that information.
Typically, 360 evaluations (whether on line or via interviews) are used as the tool to evaluate how others rate individuals (usually people leaders and executives) on several different competencies. We use them at The Bailey Group, too.
But we also measure something else. We use the Hogan Suite of assessments that provide feedback to individuals about how others tend to see them. And, the Hogan’s measure day to day personality strengths, so called personality “dark-sides” and values. What is measured by Hogan is how others tend to describe leaders, whether they see it or not. Skilled coaches and psychologists who interpret these assessments in the context of coaching, can enable leaders to see themselves as others do. And understand how to be more effective with more people in their organization.
And, because it is not just competencies that are measured but the personality characteristics that UNDERLIE them, they can make predictions that go way beyond how one person sees another and rates them on competencies defined by their organizations. These personality characteristics and styles do underlie most competencies that are created in organizations, so they are an additional tool for leaders to gain the self and other awareness required for their success in the executive suite.
If you haven’t taken or used the Hogan Suite of assessments, I’d be glad to help you understand what they are and how they may assist your organization in its talent management. Give me a call or send me an email.