Let me bring in concept of traditional “Learned” Personality. This is called Learned Personality because this is what we learn in our day-to-day life at university, job and personal life. The parents, the teachers and the bosses “train” us to be good in it. Let’s see what it is composed of:


Knowledge could be information, analysis, and evaluation and collectively it means what you know from lower plane of understanding to higher plane of evaluation or synthesis. In simple words “knowledge means what you know”.


Generally refers to something you can do which is verifiable or demonstrable. In simpler words “skill is what you know you can do”.


You might be using this interchangeably to mean several other things. However, ability (no shown in figure) is an intermediate term which refers to total sum of Knowledge and Skill. In simpler worlds abilities means : You “can” do it. You have been equipped to do it, but we are yet to see the disposition how effectively you do it.”

Don’t you hear that very often from your colleagues and managers when you come out a training course? You are not yet there.


This is what comes next why your manager may have made that comment. Attitude is an important component which defines how you do it and how you do it differently. Attitude in professional world means disposition which is represented by attributes like attitude, behavior, approach, methods, techniques and sometimes mind-set.

You may have a great employee with great abilities but you are always unhappy with the way he does the things. Looks familiar? You may have two employees exactly equal in knowledge and skills (remember these both can be measure and quantified), but in the crucial time at crucial customer when things are at stake who is the one you can send right away without hesitation? Think. Yeah, you got it right – The ONE WITH OUTSANDING ATTITUDE.  Remember attitude may mean several things including his approach and behavior.


This is something you will encounter more often in your work place.

Knowledge + Skill + Attitude = Competence

In simpler terms, Competence means: you “can” do it!! You have “right disposition” to do it!! Given right opportunity you should be able to do it, but you have not proved it yet in real-life situation.


Until so far what I wrote is what has been taught by our teachers, parents, colleagues, professors and mentors over the year. Most of the knowledge, skill and attitudes are perfectly trainable and can be “learned” by an individual. That’s why it is called “Learned Personality”.

Now let’s take this one to professional world of performance how you use all that you learned. There are likely chances you hear your manager saying you got the potential and I know you got the competence, but I am not sure what is holding you back giving a great performance. Does it leave you puzzled sometimes?

Here is the reason why.


Your competence is not yet proven and visible in the real-world. There is crucial component which makes your competence visible to world. This is called ENVIRONMENT. What is the environment? It could mean several things including real Job environment, closer-to-life issue or problem, real-life scenarios, changing conditions and situations you encounter around you within which you are required to work.

There are many internal and external environment factor and variables which may affect your competence. External factors could be- pressure, competition, job stress, relationships, etc. Example a great boss who trust your abilities may do wonder for you. Internal factors could be negative or positive. Sometimes jealously with your peers, a negative internal factor, also plays an important role developing competence.

Not everyone gets idea environment. And then several other professionals do work in same environment as you. Then why do you feel he is being noticed more than you?

Here is the reason why.


The competence when interacts with environment and comes in visible form is called PERFORMANCE (this is what you are actually able to do). In simpler words, performance means: You are “actually” able to do it!! You have “proved” it in some real-life or closer to real-life situations!!  But you may not have gained the mastery yet.

The fundamental law of personal performance is that your entire competence may or may not transform into performance. Environment acts an important transfer function and it depends on it how much of your competence actually get converted as performance.

If you see most of the time there is big struggle with environment. This is what you continuously keep practicing and learning at your work place. Don’t you see last you scored ‘outstanding rating’ and this year it was just ‘good’. Why?

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The Learned Personality leadership comes at a point when you get to know rules to control YOUR ENVIRONMENT. This is the philosophy of professional performance that continuous drive you to be good at environment around you, be able to anticipate the factors, react fast and then plan for any unforeseen changes. Sounds familiar from several training classes?

So far, this is the traditional view of the leadership. Our research shows that this model does not always works. There is limited to the level you can teach someone some knowledge, limit the level of practice you can have on particular skill and limit the level you can have correct attitudes without interference. And most important flaw in traditional training is that there is a limit to level of mastery you can get over your environment.


In the subsequent posts, I will bring few insights into this model more and then I will show you what actually works to develop leadership naturally without having to depend heavily in “trainable” concept.

Stay Tuned!!!


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Raman K. Attri is a Training Transformational Consultant, Learning Strategist and Researcher with rare experience in shortening time-to-proficiency of employees performing complex jobs at complex organizations. Strong believer in personal performance as the starting point of any world-class leadership, he developed a scientific model Personal Resonance© to achieve peal personal performance and self-leadership. Additionally he helps trainers, learning specialists, instructional designers and training professionals with articles on proven techniques to transition successfully into training and learning management role.

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