[November 12, 2013] Senior executive leaders must be sufficiently competent in their professions to survive. High-quality leaders have the capability to perform the duties of their job with an acceptable level of quality – a combination of knowledge, judgment, and skills.
Technical competence by itself will not assure a leader’s success since there are other traits that are a part of leadership. Ineptitude, ineffectiveness, and inaction, for example, will surely cause a leader’s downfall. Knowing what to do and how to get it done is vital.
Professional competence1, therefore, is the minimum acceptable standard for all leaders in positions of authority. Successful leaders must not only have technical professional competence, they must also possess the informal dimensions of competence as demonstrated by the degree of leadership they show.
“There is nothing which rots morale more quickly and more completely than… the feeling that those in authority do not know their own minds.” – Lionel Urwick
Innovative leaders have obtained their competence through a range of learning experiences that includes informal knowledge and maturity. Poor leaders, on the other hand, have not obtained this informal knowledge.
The actions and inaction of poor leaders erodes credibility. This means a loss of trust and confidence in the leader, team, and organization. The result is failure.
Professional competence is developed from formal education, meticulous self-development, moral maturity, and a variety of relevant professional experiences.
“Morally, a philosopher who uses his professional competence for anything except a disinterested search for truth is guilty of a kind of treachery.” – Bertrand Russell
 Professional competence is the ability to perform the duties of one’s profession to an acceptable quality. This is a skill one acquires by going through training in the relevant filled and participates in activities that promote one’s ability to be a competent professional. Such activities include mentorship, career development forums, and coaching which provides different experiences to learn from.