Managerial skills are the most important thing to make a management effective so, Robert L.
Katz, a teacher, and business executive have popularized a concept developed early in this century by Henri Fayol, a famous management theorist 16 and father of modern management.
Fayol identified three basic skills-
- Technical skill,
- Human skill, and
- Conceptual skill.
Diagnostic skills and analytical skills are prerequisites to managerial success.
Technical skill means a kind of special knowledge in a particular field. People of every profession need to have their technical skills to improve their performance effectively in their profession. Technical skill is essential for managerial skills development.
The technical skill enables a person to accomplish the mechanics of performing a particular job. This may be knowing how to maintain accounts, how to conduct a financial audit, how to construct a building, or how to perform in the operation theatre.
Technical skills are important especially for first-line managers, who spend much of their time training subordinates and supervising their work-related problems. In order to be effective as managers and also to command the respect of their subordinates, they must first know how to perform the task assigned to their subordinates.
Human skill is the ability to work with, understand, and motivate other people as individuals or in groups. Managers spend much of their time interacting with people both inside and outside their organizations.
We may recall here Mintzberg’s explanation of how to (and middle) managers spend their time: 59 percent in meetings, 6 percent on the phone, and 3 percent on tours.
17 All of these managerial activities involve other people. Human Skill includes the ability to work with others and get co-operation from people in the workgroup.
This means, for example, knowing what to do and being able to communicate ideas and beliefs to others and understanding what thoughts others are trying to convey to the manager.
Moreover, the manager with human knowledge and skill understands and recognizes what views are brought to situations and in turn what adjustments in these views might be made as a result of working with associates.
The ability to understand others and communicate with people both inside and outside the organization is of special significance to one who is called on to handle disturbances, allocate resources, and negotiate.
As a matter of fact, the roles of leader, disseminator, negotiator, and resource allocator require skill in motivating. This skill, for example, will help a manager to persuade a sales force to accept a raised sales presentation or win the co-operation of the group of angry subordinates.
It is, however, interesting to note that not all managers exhibit good human (interpersonal) skills. Managers, who are harsh with their sub-ordinates, would simply tend to increase personal turnover, moreover, it becomes increasingly difficult to replace those who leave.
The other things being equal, the manager who has good human skills is likely to be more successful than the one with poor human skills.
Conceptual skill for managerial skills development
Conceptual skills, in fact, depending on the manager’s ability to think in the abstract and to view the organization in a holistic manner. Conceptualization requires imagination, broad knowledge, and mental capacity to conceive abstract ideas.
Applying this requirement may involve suggesting a new product line for a company, introducing computer technology to the organization’s operations, or entering the international market.
One example of conceptual skill may be that the managing director of a bank visualizes the importance of better service for its clients which ultimately helps attract a vast number of clients and an unexpected increase in its deposits and profits.
Conceptual skill helps the manager conceive abstract ideas and foresee the organization’s future shape.
Relative Skills Needed for Effective Performance at different Levels of Management: Fayol and Katz suggest that although all the skills i.e. technical, human, and conceptual are essential to a manager their relative importance depends especially on the manager rank in the organizational hierarchy.
Skills and Management Levels
Source: Heinz Weihrich and Harold Koontz, “Management: A Global Perspective”. Tenth Edition
Technical Skill is especially important for first-line managers who spend much of their time training workers and answering questions about work-related problems.
Human skill, although important for managers at all levels, is especially needed by mid-level managers. Their ability to tap this resource of their subordinates is more important than their own technical proficiency.
Conceptual skill is most needed at the top level. In fact, the importance of conceptual skill increases as one rises through the ranks of management. This is where a manager must have a clear grasp of the total picture of what his/her enterprise would look like in the remote future.
Other Skills of Managers: Besides the skills discussed so far, there are two other skills that a manager should possess, namely diagnostic skills and analytical skills.
Successful managers are found to possess diagnostic skills. A manager can diagnose a problem in the organization by studying its symptoms. For example, and particular division may be suffering from low productivity.
With the help of diagnostic skills, the manager may find out that the division’s supervisor has poor human skills. this problem might then be solved by transferring or training the supervisor. Diagnostic skill helps locate trouble spots in an enterprise.
By analytical skill, we mean the manager’s ability to identify the key variables in a situation, see how they are interrelated, and decide which ones should receive the most attention. 18 This skill enables the manager to determine possible strategies and to select the most appropriate one for the situation.
l Analytical skill is similar to decision-making skill, but analysis may not involve making an actual decision. For example, when selecting a site for a new plant, a manager may analyze the advantages and disadvantages of several sites and make a recommendation to the board of directors, which in fact takes the ultimate decision.
In short, diagnostic skill enables managers to understand a situation, whereas analytical skill helps determine what to do in the given situation.
Analytical skill helps ascertain appropriate measures to solve problems.
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