How to Recognize Competence

 

Floating Dreamer
image credit niko si

Remember the last time you were astonished to see how capable a new colleague or friend was and that you asked yourself how you could have missed that?

I remember having had this feeling quite a few times, but I learned to observe, anticipate and see the potential I missed before. In the following you'll find out how.

We all know how different we all are independently from sex, age, culture or religion. Think of your friends. You'll probably have some who never pass by unnoticed and some which are happy if they receive time to be for themselves.

Amongst my friends I have both. I love the diversity this creates.

Today I'll put the spotlight on one friend who is very calm, full of imagination and very reflective. I have never seen him push forward for himself only with the intention to be noticed. This isn't his style. Be aware, this has nothing to do with his goals, achievements and implication; he simply uses other tools to achieve. Remember his assets: being calm he won't overreact, his imagination lets him see far beyond and through reflection he'll be able to determine the best solution.

He doesn't need a lot of things; this shows for example in the environment he likes. You will not find a lot of decoration in his apartment or office apart maybe from piles of books he will have read.

Have you met someone like him?

Ok, here are some other details:

He will participate in big events and will mingle with people, where you'll mainly find him discussing with a single person and not much later, you'll see that he is alone and a bit outside of the group studying the landscape or some objects. His mind will do the exact same thing, with his vast knowledge he will be able to add interesting information to any type of discussion and in the next moment his mind will go on to the next subject to reflect upon. If I need some original and bright imagination it's him I'm going to ask.

If he owns something it is because there is a practical reason for it. Where I like to have a car and want it to be nice and comfortable, for him it is a vehicle. Keep it a secret between us: this is a capacity which always impresses me.

Now you'll probably have someone in mind you know who is similar to my friend. Knowing this person, can you see how the following suggestions help to get along best with this person and how they allow boosting his or her performance?

  • When giving him a chore, make sure that it is one where he doesn't need to interact constantly with other people.
  • If his office has a door accept that he'll close it. For him it is natural to be a loner once in a while, he needs this solitude to re-energize.
  • When asking questions, give him the time to reflect. Don't expect an immediate answer.
  • It usually is ok to ask them to do routine tasks as well as those needing a lot of patience. For example they'll love to work hours and hours to make a clock or to put a puzzle together.
  • When providing him with instructions be clear, precise and direct. No need to provide a thousand excuses why it's him you are asking.
  • If during a meeting he hasn't expressed himself, ask him if he has something to add. Sometimes it is important to interrupt his reflection and offer him an opportunity to express it, especially if he doesn't do it by himself.
  • After he has accomplished a project make sure that he takes some time off. He will also use it to reflect on his next project and to find ideas how to handle it.

For someone like my friend the above suggestions will help him to develop great ideas and achieve exceptional results.

Did you recognize the needs of your friends?

Comments

  1. Francoise, This is interesting and helpful. Basically, you are saying that if you recognize a person’s strengths. you can play to them on the job (or in another work-like situation).

    Not to perpetuate stereotypes, but I’ve found that engineers tend to have certain strengths which affect their working styles. For example, they tend to very focused, very precise, and need a fair amount of time working alone. That’s not to say that engineers aren’t good at collaborating with others. Most of them are very good at it, if they are given the space they need to work independently.

    Really thought-provoking post!

  2. Françoise Hontoy says:

    Exactly Madeleine, in fact you can even go beyond work or work-like situations. It isn’t always easy, but when you are able to listen, feel and hear how people are saying something you’ll have a good view at the individual personality and an idea of their strengths. We all are providing thousands of hints about our personality all day long, it just happens that our environment only sees part of it and thus doesn’t have all the clues.
    You are certainly not perpetuating stereotypes, you have been looking at the people you meet and found some details helping you to understand much more of their personality, this is excellent.
    Naturally not all engineers have the same personality, it just may happen that their job requires to have certain strengths, competences and ways of working, which is why some people will never want to become engineers.

  3. Lovely post to help us recognize our differences and maximize our interactions. Being an introvert myself, it’s fun to see some of these qualities embraced in writing 🙂

  4. Françoise Hontoy says:

    The pleasure to write about these qualities was similar, I find it helps to see strenghts as strenghts. Writing is a great way to communicate as an introvert …

  5. Hi Francoise,

    You gave me a flashback with your first sentence. I remember so clearly how I felt when my best friend did something that I had no idea that he knew how to do. I remember looking at him and thinking ‘how the heck did he know how to do that?’. Of course, I can’t remember the “that”, but I clearly remember being astonished at his capability. It just goes to show you that you never know about people. I assumed that since we had a lot of common experiences and education, that he would know what I knew 🙂 Totally naive thinking, of course. But this was when I was quite younger.

    I think a lot of the time we can take for granted our friends, especially the quiet and unassuming ones. They will often surprise you!

  6. Françoise Hontoy says:

    you point at something very important Karen, never forget the quiet and unassuming friends! I guess that when we start to take them for granted they’ll lose their capacity to surprise us.

    thanks for passing by 🙂

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