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Job competencies are the capabilities required to successfully apply knowledge, skills, and abilities on the job, commonly thought of as “success factors”. Three major types are commonly used. These include “core or universal” competencies that are common to all jobs in a company. They are usually the soft skills or cultural success drivers that help people work together and support the organization, such as communication and teamwork. “Leadership” competencies are the capabilities that successful executives and managers apply, such as “timely decision making”, “managing ambiguity", “directing others”, and “conflict management”. “Functional or technical” competencies are more specific to certain job roles and activities, such as engineering, supply chain, sales, etc.
Competencies are used in career development as behavioral standards for applying the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for a role. Development planning focuses less on acquiring the knowledge and skills, but rather on how those are used on the job. Each learning and development program is ideally linked to the advancement of one or more competencies.