The difference between aptitude and attitude: 4 key points

There is a big difference between aptitude and attitude, two similar-sounding words with different meanings. Attitude talks about how we do things, while aptitude (or aptitudes) indicates what we can do. Therefore, aptitude and attitude, when properly developed, are very powerful weapons for our work performance and our successful integration and well-being within a team.7

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Aptitude and attitude: Characteristics

What is attitude?

Attitude is a widely studied concept in social psychology. It has three components: a cognitive one (thoughts, opinions, beliefs), an emotional one (pleasure/pain, approval/pleasure), and a behavioral one (the behaviors we perform). Sometimes all three are very compatible with each other, generating an intense, visible, and highly charged attitude of positive or negative energy. In other cases, one of them is a little weaker than the rest, and attitude then loses some of its strength. For example, an employee will have an excellent attitude towards their work if, for example, they are convinced of the value of what they do, enjoy doing it, and, in addition, apply these opinions and feelings to their tasks.

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On the other hand, we could analyse the attitude of an employee based on these characteristics

DispositionThis is my readiness to do things, the tone, and the quality of the energy with which I act.
CharismaThis refers to all the traits that make me shine, attract, lead, and stand out.
Coping StyleThis relates to the way I manage tasks and relationships: defeatism, optimism, drive, calmness, avoidance, blockage, aggression, composure, cooperation, confidence.
MoodI can be subdued, energetic, cheerful, hopeless, confident, or alert.
difference between aptitude and attitude

Meanwhile aptitude…

As mentioned above, someone’s aptitude is the extent to which they are capable of performing a specific task, i.e., of taking responsibility to achieve results from an initial set of instructions. There are skills that a worker will never be able to obtain, no matter how much upskilling and reskilling they undergo. However, all team members are always on the way to becoming better workers: more gifted, more skilled in performing their tasks, more capable of getting the most out of the experience they gather

So, in summary, we can consider that the skills of a given candidate for a position, or of an employee who already occupies it, are related to these four points: 

TalentIncludes my specific virtues, which differentiate me from others and make me stand out above them.
SkillsIn the business world, we distinguish between hard skills and soft skills. Both allow me to perform competently in a specific role and present that image to others.
CapabilitiesThis basically refers to what tasks and, more importantly, how many tasks I can handle within my functions, tasks, and responsibilities at any given point in my professional career.
Requirements for Applying or Retaining a PositionWhen I read a job offer or consider a restructuring of my team, I can see what characteristics of all kinds the person in the role should have and assess how closely I meet those requirements.

The difference between aptitude and attitude and how we combine them 

Don’t be fooled by the advocates of one or the other. Although there is a difference between aptitude and attitude they are both necessary to perform a given job. That’s why most job postings – especially those that are very extensive – devote a lot of time to specify both the attitude and the aptitude that a suitable candidate must have

Therefore, assuming that we are not always the perfect employee, both should complement each other so that one makes up for the lack of the other and, as a result, performance is reinforced. 

There may be candidates for a role, or employees, who are incredibly gifted for a particular job and who also have the right level of motivation, charisma, and energy to perform the task. However, it is much more likely that people will falter at some point, either in terms of the attitude with which we approach the job or in terms of our abilities to perform it. So the realistic thing to do is to look for the right combination of aptitude and attitude rather than burning ourselves out trying to be the ideal employee or looking for a perfect candidate at every level who may not turn up.

When we are looking for a job -or are already employed- we tend to make a lot of assumptions about what our managers will value most, but the truth is that it is not always so clear. In this sense, neither attitude nor aptitude is a determining factor in getting a certain position or passing the probationary period and staying in it.

Many times, especially when we are beginners in a task, we feel insecure about our ability to perform adequately: we believe that we do not have the necessary skills and we are afraid of becoming expendable workers. However, as long as our skills are not completely lacking, our supervisors often value the attitude with which we approach the task (positivity, perfectionism, responsibility, flexibility) more than whether or not we are brilliantly talented people for that particular task. Again, most of the time the secret is to combine aptitude and attitude most efficiently.

difference between aptitude and attitude

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Managers and HR managers play a key role in identifying aptitude and attitude and fostering them as much as possible in the workplace so employees’ can succeed.

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We hope you found this article on aptitude and attitude interesting. If you want more information about our mental well-being solution for companies, simply request it, and we will contact your team soon.

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