What does it take to be competent? Recently, I was in a department store and needed some simple information. Could I find it? It would have been easier to extract lemon juice from a rock. I understand. Really, I do. The current employment market is all over the place.
“You can’t get the staff”, said the manager as she shrugged off my (mild and quintessentially British) complaint. The labour market is booming in 2022. The current UK unemployment rate is 3.5%, the lowest in 48 years. Yes, yes, I know. Wages are not keeping pace with inflation. I get it. Staff everywhere are demoralized. But, is that an excuse for basic incompetence? I think not.
Actually, it’s complicated. So many issues. So many factors. We’ve got to consider organizational culture. Poor management. The sporadic availability of employees. The unsettled, widespread discontent that characterizes the current employment market. The lack of basic education. The contemporary love of dopamine-producing gain without pain. The malaise that seems to pervade the atmosphere. The morbid mindset of potential but demotivated workers. How about adding Covid-19, the energy crisis, the Russian war in Ukraine. And what about Brexit? Sure, throw that into the mix.
Cold comfort came in the form of, “Have you tried going online?” Hmm. Now my competence was in question. My first internet purchase was a disaster. A multicoloured shirt that looked so good on the grinning person modeling it. But not so good in the non-virtual reality that was me in my home.
So what does it take to be competent? What do those charged with the task of training others have to take into account? I have been involved in training, both myself and others, from at least 16 years old. From my time in Ballet School, to my time in Bible School, and right up to this very moment, the biggest motivational drive of my life has been the sheer joy of passing onto others what I have learned and mastered myself. Training is both a Science (there are proven, well-researched approaches) and an Art (to me everything is an art). The good news is it can be mastered. Becoming a good trainer is an achievable goal, if you are prepared to put your mind to it.
Training begins by picking up on the essential elements. Years ago, when I launched the International Bible Institute of London, my research turned up 3 basic requirements for effective training programmes. Attitude, knowledge and skills. They have held me in good stead. My training programmes have deployed literally thousands of people into my particular area of expertise. That is, training and releasing people to be effective in their Christian life and ministry. Read more…
Attitude – know your ‘Why?’
In Start With Why, inspirational speaker and management consultant, Simon Sinek, writes: “People do not buy what you do, but why you do it.”
He uses the example of Apple Inc, the American technology company. The vision of Apple is to “put a computer into the hands of every person to resource every person with access to this technology.”
This is Apple’s ‘Why’, and that’s what draws loyal customers. Their “cool designs” are actually, secondary to their primary appeal.
You must be sure about your ‘Why’. At the most basic level, it will probably be about helping people, or meeting a specific need. Your vision will shine through everything you do. It attracts people first to you, and then, to what you do and the service you are offering.
Your ‘Why’ should be an integral part of who you are. If your doing comes from your being, you will act with congruence. The external matches the internal, and that’s good for you, as well as being attractive to others.
Knowledge – know ‘What’ you need to know
There is a vast difference between knowing and doing. But, in every discipline, there is an irreducible body of knowledge to master.
It is said you do not succeed by what you know, or by what you do not know, but what you know you do not know. So begin with your existing areas of competence. What do you already know about your subject? Find that out and then refresh your knowledge and continue to build on your strengths.
My training courses on biblical and other topics are packed with information relevant to each subject. They can both refresh what you already know and also add to your knowledge.
Think about learning not just for yourself, but also how to pass your knowledge onto others. That way you will expand your influence by eventually serving and helping others.
Skills – develop ‘know how’
It is said that people who can’t, teach. And people who can, do. Ok. But, how about people who both teach and do? They are the best trainers. All study should have a practical application and all training must include skill development. A good trainer will not just tell you, but also show you.
In my work, I encourage Christian leaders and other people helpers to slowly build their skills over time. I suggest they find teachers and trainers who can help them develop:
- People skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Communication skills – empathic listening, compassionate communication, soul-talk
- Teaching and training skills
- Presentation skills
- Protect management skills
- Team building skills.