Chapter 3: Leadership Theory and Practice

Three-Skill Approach
1. Technical, 2. Human, 3. Conceptual
– skills are what leaders can accomplish, whereas traits are who leaders are.
– ability to use one’s knowledge and competencies to accomplish a set of goals or objectives.
– important for leaders to have all three skills, depending on where they are in the management structure, however, some skills are more important than others.
Technical Skill
– Knowledge in the proficiency in a specific type of work or activity.
– Competencies in a specialized area, analytical ability, and the ability to use appropriate tools and techniques.
– most important at lower and middle level management and less important in upper management (the higher up you are the less technical you need to be).
Human Skill
– Knowledge about and ability to work with people.
– “people skills”
– abilities that help a leader to work effectively with subordinates, peers, and superiors to accomplish the organization’s goals.
– leader to assist group members in working cooperatively as a group to achieve common goals.
– leaders with human skills adapt their own ideas to those of others.
create an atmosphere of trust where employees can feel comfortable and secure and where they can feel encouraged to become involved in the planning of things that will affect them.
– being sensitive to the needs and motivations of others and taking into account others’ needs in one’s decision making.
“Capacity to get along with others as you go about your work.”
Conceptual Skills
– ability to work with ideas and concepts.
– involve the ability to work with ideas that shape an organization and the intricacies involved.
– good at putting the company’s goals into words and can understand and express the economic principles that affect the company.
– works easily with abstractions and hypothetical notions
– central to creating a vision and strategic plan for an organization
Skill based model of Leadership
– If people are capable of learning from their experiences, they can acquire leadership.
– The skills approach can also be distinguished from the leadership approaches which focus on behavioral patterns of leaders.
– frames leadership as the capabilities (knowledge and skills) that make effective leadership possible rather than emphasizing what leaders do.
Skill based model of Mumford’s Group
– has five components: competencies, individual attributes, leadership outcomes, career experiences, and environmental influences.
part of the Skills Model and consists of three parts:
1. Problem-Solving Skills
2. Social Judgement Skills
3. Knowledge
Problem-Solving Skills
– a leaders creative ability to solve new and unusual, ill-defined organizational problems including:
– being able to define significant problems
– gather problem information
– formulate new understandings about the problem
– generate prototype plans for problem solutions

Problem solving skills demand that leaders understand their own leadership capacities as they apply possible solutions to the unique problems in their organization.

Being able to construct solutions plays a special role in problem solving.
Leaders need to: construct and implement a solution, short-term and long-term goals, career goals and organization goals, and external issues, all of which could influence the solution.

Social Judgement Skills
– are the capacity to understand people and social systems.
– enable leaders to work with others to solve problems and to marshal support to implement change within an organization
– people skills that are necessary to solve unique organizational problems.
4 parts to the Social Judgement Skills
1. Perspective taking = understanding the attitudes that others have towards a particular problem or solution. Being sensitive to other people’s perspectives and goals – being able to understand their point of view on different issues.
2. Social Perceptiveness = insight and awareness into how others in the organization function. What is important to others? What motivates them? What problems do they face, and how do they react to change?
3. Behavioral Flexibility = capacity to change and adapt one’s behavior in light of an understanding of others’ perspectives in the organization.
4. Social Performance = Includes side range of leadership competencies. Understanding of employees’ perspectives, leaders need to be able to communicate their own vision to others. Skills in persuasion and communicating change is essential to do this. Resistance to change or interpersonal conflict about change, leaders need to function as mediators. Sometimes requires that leaders train subordinates, giving them direction and support as they move towrad selected organizational goals. Social performance includes many related skills that may come under the umbrella of communication.
– inextricably related to te application and implementation of problem-solving skills in organizations.
– Directly influences a leader’s capacity to define complex organizational problems and to attempt to solve them.
– Accumulation of information and the mental structures used to organize that information.
summary, a diagrammatic representation, or an outline.
Individual Attributes
General Cognitive Ability: thought of as a person’s intelligence. Includes perceptual processing, information processing, general reasoning skills, creative and divergent thinking capacities, and memory skills. Linked to Biology and not Experience.

Crystallized Cognitive Ability: Acquired intelligence: the ideas and mental abilities people learn through experience. Stays fairly stable over time, this type of intelligence does not diminish as people get older.

Motivation: Crutial that leaders must be willing to tackle complex organizational problems. Must be willing to express dominance – exert their influence. Must be committed to the social good of the organization. Social good is a broad term that can refer to leader’s willingness to take on the responsibility of trying to advance the overall human good and value of the organization.

Personality: Our personality has an impact on our leadership skills.

Leadership Outcomes
– strongly influenced by the leader’s competencies (problem solving skills, social judgement skills, knowledge).
– when leaders exhibit these competencies, they increase their chances of problem solving and overall performance.

Effective Problem Solving: as competencies, lead to effective problem solving as a leadership outcome. Criteria for good problem solving are determined by the originality and the quality of expressed solutions to problems.
Performance: how well the leader has done their job. Measures performance, standard external criteria are used. Leaders who are effective receive good annual performance reviews, get merit raises, and are recognized by superiors, and subordinates as competent leaders. Performance is the degree to which a leader has successfully performed the assigned duties.

Career Experience
Experience acquired in the course of leader’s careers influence their knowledge and skills to solve complex problems.
Environmental Influences
Represent factors that lie outside the leader’s competencies, characteristics, and experiences.
Internal: technology, facilities, expertise of subordinates, and communications.
External: include economic, political, and social issues, as well as natural disasters, can provide unique challenges to leaders.

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