- Supervisors & managers
- Leadership development for principal investigators
- Managing people
- Research team
- Personality and preferred team roles
- Competence, commitment and consciousness
Competence, commitment and consciousness
There are two little tools that can be quite helpful here. The first considers the competence and commitment of the members of your team.
Recognising that the boundaries are fuzzy, you can position your team members in one of the four cells. The key idea is that you will manage people in the different cells differently. Someone who is both competent and committed can to a large extent be left to carry on by themselves with very limited monitoring. Someone who is neither competent nor committed will need help with both their skills and their motivation.
It is more complicated in reality because people's competence and commitment will vary from one area to another, but the principle is nevertheless helpful.
It is important, however, not to lock people into particular cells. Your ways of managing the uncommitted incompetent should change as they move away from that position.
A useful variant of this diagram substitutes consciousness for commitment.
There is often a progression through the different cells. We start off in the bottom-right-hand corner as unconsciously incompetent. Then we learn that there are skills and we don't have them - so we're consciously incompetent. Then we develop skills and become consciously competent. The next stage involves increasing competence and decreasing consciousness; we become experts - unconsciously competent.
The problem here is that it can be very hard for the unconsciously competent to communicate successfully with the consciously incompetent. You, the expert, will say things like, "it's very easy." And for you, it is. You do it without thinking, without being aware of all the skills and knowledge and understanding and experience that you are bringing to bear. And because you are in a position of power it can be very hard for the consciously incompetent to tell you that they don't have the faintest idea what you're talking about.
You need to step back into the consciously competent cell to aid the communication process.
Of course, to make the necessary decisions about how to manage people, you need to know quite a lot about them. Competence you can probably judge fairly readily - though bear in mind that people behave differently when their boss is present. Many of the other variables are more challenging.
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