Over the past 8 years, I have been asked a number of times “whose responsibility is it to ensure that I am competent to do my job”. The short answer is easy – you are. Certainly your employer has a stake in you being the most competent professional possible, and hopefully they do what they can to support your ongoing professional development. But there is simply no escaping the fact that there is only one person who truly knows if you are competent to do something or not– and it’s you.

Determining what else you need to know in order to become more competent requires careful self-assessment. However, the trouble with self-assessment is that it seems like such time-consuming and formal process. This may be in part why study after study has demonstrated that people are simply not that good at self-assessment. I like the concept of “reflective thinking” much better, because it seems like a type of self-assessment that can be done on the fly – just like most of us learn.

Reflective thinking is really more of a perspective than a process. It provides an opportunity to immediately step back and analyze every situation from the standpoint of what just happened, how you contributed and what you could have done better. That’s the key to a reflective thinking mindset – continually asking yourself what else you could learn to ensure the best possible outcome.

Your place of employment could always benefit from more money and more staff, but you likely don’t have much control over that. However, you do have complete control of making sure that you are competent to do your job – all of your job. Only you can do that.

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