Abilities and Skills: Having What It Takes to Succeed
As you know from experience, people differ greatly with respect to their abilities-the capacityto perform various tasks-and skills-dcxtcrity at pcrforming specific tasks, which has bccnacquired through training or cxpericncc.57 For example, no matter how hard the author of thisbook might have tricd, hc never could have made it as a professional basketball player. He's nei-ther suffcicntly tall nor athletic to succeed. In othcr words, hc lacks the basic physical abiliticsrequircd by this sport. However, hc has othcr abilities-at least, hc likcs to think that hc does-that have allowed him to enjoy a fulfilling life outside of professional sports.
Both abilities and skills arc important, of course, but since abilities arc morc general in natureand have implications for a broader range of organizational behavior, we'll pay a bit morc attentionto them in this section of the chapter. Our discussion of abilities will focus on two major types:intellectual abilities (or simply, intelligence), which involve the capacity to perform various cogni-tive tasks, and physical abiI#ies, which refer to the capacity to perform various physical actions.Intelligence: Three Major Types When most people speak about intelligence or intellectual abilities, they generally are referringto one's capacity to understand complex ideas. Of course, this is certainly very important.58 Tosucceed on a job, one must have the mental capacity to undertake the intellectual challengesassociated with it. However, this kind of mental prowess is not the only kind of intelligencethere is.59 In fact, on the job, several distinct types of intelligence have proven to be very impor-tant. We now consider these.