The knack: knowledge, skills and abilities
People do. We are doers. The boundaries of what we are able to do are defined by the three things in the title. It’s fairly easy to get confused and in almost all cases there is some overlap but awareness of those tricky nuances can go a long way in properly getting to grips with the challenges in your own life.
Knowledge: It’s relatively easy to explain as knowledge has no bearing on practical application. Having knowledge of something is the theoretical understanding of how something works; or should work. Knowledge is obtained through research and learning instead of doing. This should not discount its importance in the big picture, ergo why there are theory tests in driving instead of every driver being immediately let loose on/after their practical tests.
Skills: Speaking of practical tests this is the other side of the coin. Skills are similar to knowledge in the fact that they are learnt but instead of being theoretical they are practical and are usually learnt through the transfer of knowledge. Ordinarily, skills are the result of thorough knowledge and in the example of a driving test would be one’s learned aptitude for stopping, starting, signalling and anything that involves applying knowledge in order to give the person control over their environment.
Abilities: Same as skills, aren’t they? Not so, as abilities are skills those do not require learning or knowledge. They are innate and talents that we are individually born with or cannot necessarily be taught. Most abilities are considered more basic than technical. For example, someone might be organised or a good listener and because it’s part of their character it is an ability rather than a skill. Abilities can help with the development of skills and knowledge and are the foundation for aptitude in and of itself.
Identifying areas of weakness in the workplace
In each workforce, there is bound to be a dearth of one of the three points. Ratifying these problems is easy when you know what will help take your employees to the next level.
Knowledge: This works best when there is source material available to workers so they can brush up on their knowledge with an easy-to-use guide to company policy or a document that details necessary product/service knowledge.
Skills: Training courses are always available in whichever profession you chose to be a part of and these hands-on style methods of learning are urgently needed if there is a deficiency in terms of skills in the workplace.
Abilities: This one is a little bit trickier, as it’s more about the individual, training courses and manuals will not cut it. Abilities are unique to us. By focusing on your personal development and creating an action plan you can see your natural abilities organically refined. Whatever you’re good at, you can always be better.