What Is Competence in Management? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 Competent Management
  • 1:09 Leadership
  • 3:41 Personal Characteristics
  • 4:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rodney Michael

Rodney has taught university accounting classes and has a doctorate in accounting.

In this lesson, you will learn about the specific characteristics and practices of competent management. We will also see how these can be encouraged and developed within an organization.

Competent Management

Imagine yourself on a road trip, the kind of vacation where you pick a direction, fill the gas tank, and go as far and as fast as possible. The first day, you stop for gas and lunch at a fast food place at a highway exit. What a nightmare! The girl at the counter is crying, the people in the cooking area are yelling at each other, and the manager is doing nothing to address the situation. As a result, your food arrives late, frustrated customers leave, and the whole place reeks of anger and hostility.

Later in your trip, you stop again at a similar place for a quick meal. But this time, the manager and staff seem to work as an efficient team, and there is no tension at all! The service is excellent, and the customers leave happy. Even though the two restaurants were almost identical and their menus were the same, there was a huge difference between them. Simply put, the second place had competent management, and the first did not. What made the difference?

Competent management can be defined as the ability to meet organizational objectives, use available resources efficiently, maintain high levels of employee performance and professionalism, and provide excellent service to customers.


Competent managers are good leaders. In a 2005 speech, former Secretary of State and retired four-star general, Colin Powell, stated his belief that good leaders are made, not born. If that is true, are there specific competencies that can be learned and perpetuated within an organization? Let's look at a few of the specific characteristics that appear most often in discussions about good management.

First, good leaders get results. In our fast food example, the desired results were straightforward: get the food to the customers quickly, make the customers happy, and maintain an efficient operation.

However, even simple objectives require a diverse skill set. For example, managers should hold themselves accountable and accept responsibility for the success or failure of their operation. This requires an ongoing involvement in the day-to-day functions of your subordinates. Managers should also be knowledgeable and experienced. Your subordinates should have confidence in your abilities and judgment. Continuing education and training are helpful in maintaining a current perspective. Similarly, managers should be organized and use their time efficiently. Good communication skills and the willingness to address difficult situations are critical. Your subordinates should clearly understand what you expect of them, and they should receive clear and unambiguous feedback on their performance. In addition, they should feel comfortable talking to you and know that you will listen to what they have to say.

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