One of the required text for my class “Leadership Theory and Practice” by examines the Skills Approach in Chapter 3. (Yeh, I know...you can tell that I am back at school...referencing all these books and classes )
What does the skill’s approach purport?
- Leadership involves skills and knowledge that can be learned and is not just based on inherent gifts and attribute.
- They define Leadership Skills as “The ability to use one’s knowledge and competencies to accomplish a set of goals or objectives.”
Robert Katz is one of the early adopters of the Skills approach to leadership and he proposed a 3 skill approach model, outlined below.
Robert Katz 3 Skill Approach
- 3 foundation skills are necessary for effective administration
- The three skills can be summed up as Technical skills: Competence in the skills and knowledge of the content area of the job, Human Skills: knowledge and ability to work with people and Conceptual Skill: Ability to work with ideas, conceptualize the vision of an organization.
- The type of skill and intensity that is needed varies according to Management level (Top, Middle and Supervisory management) (See Fig 2 below).
- More information on Katz model
(Fig. 1 Summary of 3 skill approach double click to see larger image)
(Fig 2: Katz 3 Skill Approach based on management level)
Is leadership as clear cut as this approach puts it? How does this approach stand when you think of the Gallup strengths-based findings, which emphasize that we all have strengths and we perform better in capacities that utilize our strengths? In addition, they assert that our time is better spent building on our strengths than our weaknesses. I say this to question if some of these traits that can be learned as proposed by Katz aren’t based on individual inherent strengths. Can everyone be a leader if trained? What are your views and experiences?
In my next blog post I will discuss five components that some other psychologists (Mumford et al) of the Skills Approach school of thought proposed.