Skills and traits are different from one another. Skills define what a leader can accomplish, while traits reflect on who a person is. To be a good leader, you need basic personal skills that can help you thrive. It is called the Three- Skill Approach. “Leadership skills are defined in this chapter as the ability to use one’s knowledge and competencies to accomplish a set of goals or objectives” (Northouse, 2016, p. 44). As someone who sees these skills everyday, and has followed my husband’s career, I have decided to compare the three skill approach and him as a worker.
To begin, “technical skill is knowledge about and proficiency in a specific type of work or activity. It includes competencies in a specialized area, analytical ability, and the ability to use appropriate tools and techniques” (Northouse, 2016, p. 44). As my husband gets into his career as an electrician, he goes and works hands on at certain organizations. He works with a journeymen that has completed all his state licenses to be able to work, and he gets training on how to do everything. As time went by, eventually he did not need a journeymen by his side. He went through the hands-on training, reading books, and asking questions to be able to learn and understand the job better.
“Human skill is knowledge about and ability to work with people” (Northouse, 2016, p. 44) My husband went on to learn how to work with people. As time went on, he had to work side by side with other electricians, and how to communicate with them. He went on to become higher up, and start working jobs on his own on the side. Having a journeymen by his side at the beginning taught him how to work effectively with his peers, superiors, and eventually customers of his own. With working with his peers, they all had a certain goal: to get electricity into the organization as safely and efficiently as possible. From working side by side, he was able to eventually form his own ideas, and create an atmosphere where his future followers would feel safe, and prioritized.
Lastly, “conceptual skills are the ability to work with ideas and concepts” (Northouse, 2016, p. 44). Eventually, my husband has been put in charge of a few electricians. During his management time, he was able to express his ideas. For example, when he had to explain how a layout lights in a room. He was able to create a vision, and get his team to follow him. He had a goal, was able to put into words, and on paper that his team understood. Conceptual skills have to do more with the mental side of shaping an organization.
Below is a picture of how technical, conceptual, and human skills categorize by management levels. As you can see, human skills fall in with every management level. Every leader needs people’s skills. Technical skills fall into middle/lower managers, while conceptual skills fall into middle/senior managers. It is important for all leaders to have all these skills. In my husband’s case, all three of these skills have gotten him to where he is today in his career.
Northouse, P.G. (2016). Skills approach In Leadership: theory and practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
Skills of an Effective Administrator, 2012, EMBA. Picture retrieved at https://embacsustanerodrigues.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/skills-of-an-effective-administrator/