While Ambition and Drive was in the womb thrashing and plotting its escape, Competents were analysing, putting forward some calculations, and running trials, testing how best to make their big exit.

Competents do this all very carefully and logically, and put much thought into figuring how this exit will actually unfold. Upon arrival into their new world, Competents gasp with relief that their exit was as anticipated.

In the workplace, these people are the best friends of their colleagues who embody Ambition and Drive. This is because they get things done. It’s true that other workplace archetypes are competent in their own areas – but Competents are a different breed entirely. 

So, what makes these employees tick?

Competents are those people in any given business who consistently deliver the service they’re paid to deliver to the standard that is needed. This applies whether these employees are producing something in a production or maintenance role, in professional services, designing a technology solution, good branding and marketing and all those situations that demand a successful rollout.

These workers tend to rely on their unique process(es) to get things done, and this is what gives them comfort and confidence. They know if they follow the process, analyse possible roadblocs in advance then success is very likely. 

These people are critical to any business. Any enterprise that does anything well will have a good representation of team members like this.

Clients migrate towards Competents. When pitching for work, the more savvy clients will want to know the person they’re talking to is the person doing the work they want done, or is overseeing the work being done to ensure what’s been proposed is what’s delivered.


One of the key challenges when working with Competents is to manage their expectations in relation to standards. This is because, with businesses being what they are, not everything can be done to the standard Competents demand every time, in the timeframe available to do it. It’s just a reality.


Competents may need support to be flexible and open minded to the way others in the business do things. Competents have a process they use, and it generally works, but it might not necessarily be the ideal process. They may need help to see that an alternative process could deliver the same level of standard they’re after – and being able to come to terms with this, or adjust their approach, can cause Competents some stress.

Time & Space

Another stress that can impact Competents is time. 

Being good at something means you have the time and space to be good at it, to think things through, do the task properly and check it. It may take Competents a bit longer, but the quality will be there if you give them this time and space. Rush them and it can cause stress.

By virtue of the fact they like to have time and space to do their work, Competents also tend to be more private people and this directly influences how you manage and work with them.

Workplace Tension 

The traits of Competents can themselves occasionally cause stress in the workplace. 

For example, those with Ambition and Drive will be especially challenged by the time and space Competents want. Team members with Ambition and Drive can tend to overestimate what they can do in a certain timeframe, and this can create tension with Competents, who will be worried about not being able to achieve their necessary high standards in such situations.

Embracing Competents

Competents are vital to any business; if an organisation wants something done well and done to a standard, it needs this type of mindset in it.

It’s, therefore, essential that business leaders learn about Competents, appreciate all they bring to their operations, and work to embrace their strengths while managing their specific challenges. 

For example, good marketers, especially the creative side of marketing, are often Competents, and understanding how to get the best out of them, given their traits, is crucial. Competents such as this will need a good, clear brief about the project and, ideally, be given sufficient notice that the work is coming up. They then to be managed appropriately so they can deliver their quality workmanship on time and in budget. 

In business (and in life), we can’t make someone what they are not. Instead, we need to work with them, as they are.

This is the essence of what we’re talking about in this Workplace Archetypes blog series and why it’s so important to know and learn about the different types of people working in any business. 

If we truly see and understand our team members, we can make better decisions that help us get the best out of each of these individuals and support them to perform at their peak more of the time, as well as enjoy more career fulfillment.

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