Trust is about integrity, confidence is about competence. Too often in the workplace, a supervisor will say “I can’t trust you to handle this yet” and the recipient of the message will be offended because they feel their character, their trustworthiness, has been called into question. However, the intended message is much different: “I’m concerned you lack the necessary skillsets, the required competence.” The first phrasing is confusing and non-productive, the second can lead into a conversation about what skills would be essential and how to go about developing them and verifying the completeness of the learning.

A cautionary word: all too many think they are ready for promotion long before they truly are. Just because you’ve read the book on how to play the guitar, just because you can name the chords, just because you’ve observed others play the guitar, does NOT mean you can actually play the guitar. That skillset, like most others, takes many, many hours of diligent, focused practice. Furthermore, just because you’ve watched someone captain a ship in calm waters and achieved that level of competence does not mean you have the ship handling skills to sail through the inevitable storms.

Closing Quotes:

“Everybody’s got a different circle of competence. The important thing is not how big the circle is. The important thing is staying inside the circle.” – Warren Buffett, b.1930

“Competence means keeping your head in a crisis, sticking with a task, improvising good solutions to tough problems. It encompasses ingenuity, determination, and being prepared for anything.” – Chris Hadfield, retired Canadian astronaut, engineer, fighter pilot, musician, writer

“Trust is a function of two things: character and competence. Character includes your integrity, your motive, and your intent with people. Competence includes your capabilities, your skills, and your track record. Both are vital.” – Stephen R. Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, 1932-2012

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier