¶ … KATZ model of management skills necessary at various levels of management? The underlying idea is that there is no singular optimal style of leadership, and that the most effective leaders are those who are able to adapt their style to meet the needs of the situation. In turn, needs of the situation may include the capabilities and type of followers, as well as the external environment. For example, individuals with little experience in an emergency situation may require a high directive leadership style from their manager, whereas a group of highly skilled engineers designing a long-term project, may benefit from a greater level of empowerment, lower levels of supervision. Numerous theorists have developed contingency theory is, one of the most common is Goleman, but all of the theories hypothesise leaders should be able to adapt their behaviour based on the needs of the situation. Importantly, good leader should be able to identify the relevant factors in any situation in order to successfully adapt.
The Katz model of management skills may be argued as dated. The theory, developed by Robert Katz and popular in the 1950's, is based on the idea of three core skills areas; technical skills, human skills, and conceptual skills. When examining this approach, it may be argued each of these skill areas is relevant to management at different levels. Technical skills refers to knowledge and proficiency in specific areas associated with the activities relevant to the organisation, human skills refers to inter-social skills, such as the ability to communicate and skills required to lead effectivity. Conceptual skills are the ability to conceive and develop abstract ideas and visions which may be used to support decision making and strategizing. Katz argued at lower management levels, the first core area of technical skills is most important, with human skills still being required, bliss important, and only a small, if any, requirement for conceptual skills. As an individual rises through the hierarchy, needs for technical skills reduces, while the need for human skills, and conceptual skills increases, with conceptual skills being most important for those in the most senior leadership positions.
While the model may be old, it has a number of attractions. It implies any individual has leadership potential if they develop relevant skills. However, there are also some inherent constraints, as the development of skills may also be limited by individual personality traits or characteristics. However, the approach is supported by later models, such as those of Kotter, where the differences between management and leadership are defined in a manner similar to the different skills held, and various leadership models, and many leadership theory from trait theory through to contingency theories, where human skills and conceptual skills are most important to leaders.
2) How can an individual develop an expanded skill level in the technical, human, and conceptual skills that best equip the individual for advancement in the organization?
The development of technical skills requires the accumulation of knowledge, and cognitive processes to integrate that knowledge into practice. Therefore, developing technical knowledge requires specific targeted learning, and then dedication to practice their skills in order to develop proficiency. This can include learning undertaken at colleges, as well as self-learning, and learning from experience. This process may also be supported by reflective learning. Human skills may be developed in a similar manner, with specific learning regarding aspect such as communication. However, learning may also be undertaken through observations of others, as well as a high level of self-awareness, and use of reflective learning. The development of conceptual skills may be more difficult, as this is the least tangible as it has a high level of reliance on personal characteristics and behaviours. However, the skill may be practised through numerous exercises, such as case studies that include future planning, as well as observations, hypothesising, and discussion with peers, and practicing in real life situations.
3) From your reading of the various studies of management presented, how can you best use this research and theories to expand your leadership potential?
Any individual working in the area of management has the potential to continue learning throughout their entire career, and support the personal development to leadership. Reading provides a useful source of input information, regarding different ideas and models, as well as different approaches, and observed outcomes. However, reading is only the beginning. It is important to develop a holistic view of management, integrating different ideas to create broad concepts. When reading, considering reading, comparing and contrasting ideas, and considering the way in which they can, or could, relate to real-life experiences will help to entrench the ideas, which will facilitate the cognitive processes which will integrate ideas with personal thinking. Continually applying the concepts, personally through internal thought processes, and through interactions, such as discussions with peers, and application to case studies, will be beneficial at entrenching knowledge and understanding application. However, the most beneficial approach may be practised in the real world, in order to implement theoretical skills learned in the classroom, or from books. The use of a reflective learning process, considering what has been done, what was successful in what could have been better, and ...
5) In your opinion, is this the best leadership approach? And why or why not?
There are many leadership approaches, and an anecdotal examination of different situations demonstrates that different leadership styles may be most appropriate to dive urgent circumstances. For example, in the military a dictatorial style with an autocratic leader may be most appropriate, but in a software organisation where there is a need to support innovation, autocratic approach would be unlikely to motivate, whereas nurturing, empowerment, and support may be more effective. Therefore, the contingency model of leadership appears to be most appropriate, as it makes allowances not only for different situations, but the different characteristics, skills, and attitudes, of those being managed. Contingency theory provides a flexible approach towards leadership, as unlike other leadership models, provides the greatest level of adaptability. However, it may also be argued that while this situation theory has strengths, it may not be an optimal theory when considered in isolation, and other approaches, such as the Katz model, where there is also a recognition of different skill needs, may enhance the model. For example, when applying contingency theory, management of potential leaders are likely to benefit from the various skills identified, which may be learned and practised, in order to enhance the way that an individual is able to recognise and then adapt to different situations.
6). Leadership Models
Over the years many different models of leadership have manifested. One of the earliest models.
One of the earliest models was trait theory. This approach was built on the previous idea of great man, where it was believed that leadership could be developed by examining good leaders and identifying common traits. This approach would facilitate improvement of leadership, by potential leaders adopting traits of existing great leaders. A significant advantage of this approach was simple application, and identification of the ability to learn from observation. Furthermore, it was easy to understand, and in some cases can provide good results when individuals are able to learn emulate existing good leaders. However, there are also some weaknesses, this includes the lack of uniformity, as the theory resulted in mixed findings without any consistency in terms of the ideal model of leadership. Furthermore, findings can often be ambiguous, and it was also argued that many of the issues were associated with personality traits, rather than behavioural traits.
Theory X and Theory Y
MacGregor Burns developed theory X and theory Y, which hypothesise the attitude and approach of leaders would impact directly on the performance of their supporters. Theory X drew on the concepts associated with terrorism, proposing that employees were inherently lazy without ambition, and required a high level of supervision and low level of trust. Therefore, theory X leadership tended to be more dictatorial. By comparison, theory Y had a higher level of optimism, and argued that individuals were not necessarily inherently lazy and lonely motivated, but learnt this behaviour from previous management, and approach associated with the human relations school of thought. Therefore, it was hypothesised that if management demonstrated trust in employees, and expected the best, employees were likely to perform at a better level. Strengths of this approach include the basis theory, with theory X based on the underlying concepts associated with scientific management, and theory Y based on research such as Mayo's Hawthorne studies, the human relations school of thought. The approach also provides a strong basis for the development of good employment relationships, and correctly identifies the potential for leadership style to impact on employee performance and attitudes. However, it may also be argued that weaknesses include an oversimplification, which include a lack of…
The underlying idea is that there is no singular optimal style of leadership, and that the most effective leaders are those who are able to adapt their style to meet the needs of the situation. In turn, needs of the situation may include the capabilities and type of followers, as well as the external environment. For example, individuals with little experience in an emergency situation may require a high directive leadership style from their manager, whereas a group of highly skilled engineers designing a long-term project, may benefit from a greater level of empowerment, lower levels of supervision. Numerous theorists have developed contingency theory is, one of the most common is Goleman, but all of the theories hypothesise leaders should be able to adapt their behaviour based on the needs of the situation. Importantly, good leader should be able to identify the relevant factors in any situation in order to successfully adapt.
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