Patience - Competency or Skill

Posted by Judy Fort on November 16, 2015



How well do we really know the difference between skills and competencies? At the recent Deltek Insight conference, we posed this question to a group of our customers at got a variety of views on the subject. Most memorable to us was the discussion around patience, with about half of the group saying it is a competency and the other half saying it was a skill. The arguments for and against both points of view are very convincing.

  • Competency: it is something you are either born with or not, and is hard to gain over time.
  • Skill: you can teach someone patience, like how a parent would teach their child over their lifetime.

We focused a lot on how these items are learned, and whether it is something that can be taught or not. But I would add to this differentiation that skills are what you do, and competencies are how you do it. And in some cases, how you define each competency or skill you use can greatly change the perception of that skill or competency.

For me at least, the argument on patience was won while waiting in the buffet line at the Celebrate Insight event, when one of the session participants called out to me that "patience is definitely a competency."