Seminal studies on skillsThe two most influential models are by Katz (1955) and Mumford et al. (2000). Both complement each other by providing different views on leadership from the skills perspective. For example:Katz (1955) identified three different abilities that a leader should have, namely:
- Technical skills
- Human skills
- Conceptual skills
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Leadership Theory: The Basics
Katz managerial skillsThe table above illustrates the three skills needed by a leader in an organisation. Katz argued further that the level of importance of each set of skills (technical, human and conceptual) will be based on the level of authority that the person has in the organisation. For example, top management will most likely need fewer technical skills and more conceptual skills so that they have a holistic view of the organisation. Supervisory management would need more technical skills to be able to assist their followers. Middle management should have a good level of technical, human and conceptual skills to be able to assist the top and supervisory management team.Northouse concluded that:
It is important for leaders to have all three skills, but depending on where they are in the management structure, some skills are more important than others.Northouse (2013: 46)
StrengthsNorthouse (2013) identified the following:
- Makes leadership available to everyone by laying emphasis on learned (and learnable) skills rather than on traits
- Provides an expansive view of leadership that incorporates a wide variety of components (ie, problem-solving skills and social judgment skills)
- Provides a structure that is consistent with leadership education programs
WeaknessesNorthouse (2013) identified the following:
- Descriptive in nature; does not explain how skills could lead to effective leadership performance
- Includes certain innate abilities which are trait-like (eg, motivation and cognitive ability)
- Fundamentals appear to be exhaustive, making the approach more generic and less precise
ReferencesKatz, R. L. (1955). Skills of an effective administrator. Harvard Business Review, 33 (1), 33-42Northouse, P. (2013) Leadership: Approach and Practice. 6th edn. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage PublishingMumford, M.D., Zaccaro, S.J., Connelly, M.S., Marks, M.A. (2000). ‘Leadership Skills: Conclusions and Future Directions’. Leadership Quarterly 11 (1), 155-70
Leadership Theory: The Basics
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