Christiaan Lam – over de dagelijkse avonturen van een mobiele manager
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Phases of Competence: Phase I, Phase II, Phase III

Three stagesAs the proverb goes, all things come in threes. And such is it with the stages of competence. It is an easy tool for determining what kind of approach you should take towards an employee, how much of an active and deterministic role you should play in his life.

Phase I
This is the ‘me’ phase. This phase can happen when there’s a lot going on in your life, when under stress, in fear, in pain, or otherwise preoccupied with yourself. Learning wallclimbing (or anything that is new or fearful) is a fine example, where you are just doing what your instructor (coach, manager, etc) tells you, not knowing why or minding your surroundings, but just obeing. And such can it be with one of your employees who is just starting and does not yet know his new world (most Young Professionals for example), has made a career switch, or is otherwise consciously or unconsciously depending on you to take decisions for him.
Phase II
Phase II is the ‘we’ phase. As you conquer your fears, start learning new skills or are climbing from the wall, you are more aware of your surroundings and your influence towards it. Though still dependant on coach for cadres, you have the ability to execute your (newfound) skill.
Phase III
Phase III is the ‘you’ phase, where you have truly mastered your art and are capable of controlling it, where others depend on you for guidance and direction. You are the coach, able to help those who need it.

I can, for example, recognise the aboves phases in my own career. When I started as a sales manager and again later as a unitmanager, I began with heavy focus towards the core business (and the new skillsets it required) and only later started seeing connections, the bigger picture. Only then did I start thinking of ways to influence my environment as a whole and not just my own customers or just my own unit.

In essence, using the theory of the three stages of competence, it is important to recognise when somebody is in Phase I. People then rely wholly on you and sometimes give over control of (parts of) their career and life to you. And especially at such time it is more important then ever to have the integrity to make the right decision for him or her.

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