Three Pillars of Professional Competence

During my managerial training in Berlin (a long time ago) I was impressed by one of the formulations, “Fit for Partnership with Germany.” The keyword was “fit.” In other words, in order to do business with this European country, I had to “fit” certain criteria, meet their requirements, and comply with specific norms and principles. I had to understand their business culture in order to “fit.”

Highly Competent People

As I worked with other countries (Norway, Canada, USA, Netherlands, India, etc.) I found pleasure in dealing with a special type of people. I define them as “highly competent.” Skin color, location, gender, and age had nothing to do with the definition.

What did all of them have in common? Why did I feel so good working with them?

I noticed the three components of their professional competence: 1) Master; 2) Manager; 3) Communicator.

Of course, this three-dimensional model is simplified, as you may add such criteria as inner motivation, passion, capacity, talent, skill, ethics, discipline, good emotional health, responsibility, or kindness — an endless list of characteristics.

However, I highlight the three here, insisting on their synergy. Let me explain why.

Three examples

Michael is a great master. He knows “what” should be done and “how” to produce a masterpiece. He is also a great manager, able to organize his work well. Unfortunately, there is one problem: his communication is poor. Because of that single part missing he constantly faces problems with his clients, colleagues, and stakeholders. It is difficult for him to succeed simply because nobody knows he’s got the talent.

Jake is a good master and communicates well. His customers respond positively. However, organizing the work is his weakness. He doesn’t keep track of time and does not prioritize. Such words as “process automation”, “task optimization”, or “workflow” are foreign to Jake. As a result, he collects piles of unfinished tasks and doesn’t meet deadlines. Sooner or later that “little thing” kills his reputation, and nobody wants to work with him again.

Samantha has a gift of administration; she puts things in order very well, and she is a great communicator, too. But she doesn’t stand out from the crowd. Samantha does not have the ambition to achieve more, improve quality, or move “from good to great.” Her professional competence isn’t as bright as it could have been.


What if Michael, Jake, and Samantha had the synergy of all three components? Would they succeed, achieve more, and be more competitive in the market? I think so. Would they be better co-workers or leaders? Yes.

To apply this insight, I ask myself regularly: which of the three components requires my extra attention currently?

© Oles Dmytrenko, 2020, 2022

What are the three components of professional competence? Oles Dmytrenko shares his opinion based on personal observations of business practices

Recommended Reading

Based on empiric data gathered in his research and analysis of a particular kind of F500 companies (those that demonstrated rapid growth at a certain point), Jim Collins paid attention to some features of their leaders:

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins.