University of Phoenix Strained Research Team Discussion

FOR THE USE OF GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND FACULTY ONLY. NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION SALE, OR REPRINTING ANY AND ALL UNAUTHORIZED USE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED Copyright © 2019 by SAGE Publications, Inc. LEADERSHIP THEORY AND PRACTICE EIGHTH EDITION PETER G. NORTHOUSE Western Michigan University SSAGE Los Angeles London New Delhi Singapore Washington DC Malboume FOR THE USE OF GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND FACULTY ONLY NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION. SALE, OR REPRINTING ANY AND ALL UNAUTHORIZED USE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED Copyright © 2019 by SAGE Publications, Inc. 3 Skills Approach DESCRIPTION Like the trait approach discussed in Chapter 2, the skills approach takes a leader-centered perspective on leadership. However, in the skills approach we shift our thinking from a focus on personality characteristics, which usually are viewed as innate and largely fixed, to an emphasis on skills and abilities that can be learned and developed. Although personality certainly plays an integral role in leadership, the skills approach suggests that knowl- edge and abilities are needed for effective leadership Researchers have studied leadership skills directly or indirectly for a number of years (see Bass, 2008, pp. 97–109). However, the impetus for research on skills was a classic article published by Robert Katz in the Harvard Business Review in 1955, titled “Skills of an Effective Administrator.” Katz’s article appeared at a time when researchers were trying to identify a definitive set of leadership traits. Katz’s approach was an attempt to transcend the trait prob- lem by addressing leadership as a set of developable skills. More recently, a revitalized interest in the skills approach has emerged. Beginning in the early 1990s, a multitude of studies have been published that contend that a leader’s effectiveness depends on the leader’s ability to solve complex organizational problems. This research has resulted in a comprehensive skill-based model of leadership that was advanced by Mumford and his colleagues (Mumford, Zaccaro, Harding, Jacobs, & Fleishman, 2000; Yammarino, 2000). In this chapter, our discussion of the skills approach is divided into two parts. First, we discuss the general ideas set forth by Katz regarding three basic administrative skills: technical, human, and conceptual. Second, we discuss the recent work of Mumford and colleagues that has resulted in a skills- based model of organizational leadership. Copyright © 2019 by SAGE Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Northouse, Peter Guy, author. Title: Leadership : theory and practice / Peter G. Northouse, Western Michigan University. Description: Eighth Edition. Thousand Oaks : SAGE Publications, [2018] Revised edition of the author’s Leadership, 2015. Includes index. Identifiers: LCCN 2017049134 ISBN 9781506362311 (pbk. : alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Leadership. Leadership-Case studies. Classification: LCC HM1261 .N67 2018 | DDC 303.3/4-dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2017049134 FOR THE USE OF GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND FACULTY ONLY NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION, SALE, OR REPRINTING ANY AND ALL UNAUTHORIZED USE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED Copyright © 2019 by SAGE Publications, Inc. 44 LEADERSHIP THEORY AND PRACTICE Three-Skill Approach Based on field research in administration and his own firsthand observations of executives in the workplace, Katz (1955, p. 34) suggested that effective administration (i.c., leadership) depends on three basic personal skills: techni- cal, human, and conceptual. Katz argued that these skills are quite different from traits or qualities of leaders. Skills are what leaders can accomplish, whereas traits are who leaders are (i.e., their innate characteristics). 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. This chapter shows that these leader- ship skills can be acquired and leaders can be trained to develop them. Technical Skills Technical skills are knowledge about and proficiency in a specific type of work or activity. They include competencies in a specialized area, analytical ability, and the ability to use appropriate tools and techniques (Katz, 1955). For example, in a computer software company, technical skills might include knowing software language and programming, the company’s software prod- ucts, and how to make these products function for clients. Similarly, in an accounting firm, technical skills might include understanding and having the ability to apply generally accepted accounting principles to a client’s audit. In both these examples, technical skills involve a hands-on activity with a basic product or process within an organization. Technical skills play an essential role in producing the actual products a company is designed to produce. As illustrated in Figure 3.1, technical skills are most important at lower and middle levels of management and less important in upper management. For leaders at the highest level, such as CEOs, presidents, and senior officers, technical competencies are not as essential. Individuals at the top level depend on skilled followers to handle technical issues of the physical operation Human Skills Human skills are knowledge about and ability to work with people. They are quite different from technical skills, which have to do with working with things (Katz, 1955). Human skills are people skills.” They are the abilities that help a leader to work effectively with followers, peers, and superiors to accomplish the organization’s goals. Human skills allow a leader to assist group members in working cooperatively as a group to achieve common goals. For Katz, it means being aware of one’s own perspective on issues and, at the same time, being aware of the perspective of others. Leaders with human skills adapt their own ideas to those of others. Furthermore, they create an atmosphere of trust where employees can feel comfortable and FOR THE USE OF GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND FACULTY ONLY NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION SALE, OR REPRINTING ANY AND ALL UNAUTHORIZED USE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Copyright © 2019 by SAGE Publications, Inc. 46 LEADERSHIP | THEORY AND PRACTICE principles that affect the company. A leader with conceptual skills works casily with abstractions and hypothetical notions. Conceptual skills are central to creating a vision and strategic plan for an organization. For example, it would take conceptual skills for a CEO in a struggling manufacturing company to articulate a vision for a line of new products that would steer the company into profitability. Similarly, it would take conceptual skills for the director of a nonprofit health organization to create a strategic plan that could compete successfully with for-profit health organizations in a market with scarce resources. The point of these examples is that conceptual skills have to do with the mental work of shaping the meaning of organizational or policy issues-understanding what a company stands for and where it is or should be going. As shown in Figure 3.1, conceptual skills are most important at the top management levels. In fact, when upper-level managers do not have strong conceptual skills, they can jeopardize the whole organization. Conceptual skills are also important in middle management; as we move down to lower management levels, conceptual skills become less important. Summary of the Three-Skill Approach To summarize, the three-skill approach includes technical, human, and conceptual skills. It is important for leaders to have all three skills; depend- ing on where they are in the management structure, however, some skills are more important than others are. Katz’s work in the mid-1950s set the stage for conceptualizing leadership in terms of skills, but it was not until the mid-1990s that an empirically based skills approach received recognition in leadership research. In the next sec- tion, the comprehensive skill-based model of leadership is presented. Skills Model Beginning in the early 1990s, a group of researchers, with funding from the US. Army and Department of Defense, set out to test and develop a comprehensive theory of leadership based on problem-solving skills in organizations. The studies were conducted over a number of years using a sample of more than 1,800 Army officers, representing six grade levels, from second lieutenant to colonel. The project used a variety of new measures and tools to assess the skills of these officers, their experiences, and the situations in which they worked. The researchers’ main goal was to explain the underlying elements of effective performance. They addressed questions such as these: What accounts for why some leaders are good problem solvers and others are Copyright © 2019 by SAGE Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Northouse, Peter Guy, author. Title: Leadership : theory and practice / Peter G. Northouse, Western Michigan University. Description: Eighth Edition. Thousand Oaks : SAGE Publications, [2018] Revised edition of the author’s Leadership, 2015. Includes index. Identifiers: LCCN 2017049134 ISBN 9781506362311 (pbk. : alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Leadership. Leadership-Case studies. Classification: LCC HM1261 .N67 2018 | DDC 303.3/4-dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2017049134 FOR THE USE OF GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND FACULTY ONLY. NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION SALE, OR REPRINTING ANY AND ALL UNAUTHORIZED USE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED Copyright © 2019 by SAGE Publications, Inc. LEADERSHIP THEORY AND PRACTICE EIGHTH EDITION PETER G. NORTHOUSE Western Michigan University SSAGE Los Angeles London New Delhi Singapore Washington DC Malboume FOR THE USE OF GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND FACULTY ONLY NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION, SALE, OR REPRINTING ANY AND ALL UNAUTHORIZED USE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED Copyright 2019 by SAGE Publications, Inc. Chapter 3 | Skills Approach 61 advice on research design and methodology questions. They also come to him for questions about theoretical formulations. He has a reputation as someone who can see the big picture on research projects. Despite his research competence, there are problems on Dr. Wood’s research team. Dr. Wood worries there is a great deal of work to be done but that the members of the team are not devoting sufficient time to the Elder Care Project. He is frustrated because many of the day-to- day research tasks of the project are falling into his lap. He enters a research meeting, throws his notebook down on the table, and says. “I wish I’d never taken this project on. It’s taking way too much of my time. The rest of you aren’t pulling your fair share.” Team members feel exas- perated at Dr. Wood’s comments. Although they respect his compe- tence, they find his leadership style frustrating. His negative comments at staff meetings are having a demoralizing effect on the research team. Despite their hard work and devotion to the project, Dr. Wood seldom compliments or praises their efforts. Team members believe that they have spent more time than anticipated on the project and have received less pay or credit than expected. The project is sucking away a lot of staff energy, yet Dr. Wood does not seem to understand the pressures con- fronting his staff. The research staff is starting to feel burned out, but members realize they need to keep trying because they are under time constraints from the federal government to do the work promised. The team needs to develop a pamphlet for the participants in the Elder Care Project, but the pamphlet costs are significantly more than budgeted in the grant. Dr. Wood has been very adept at finding out where they might find small pockets of money to help cover those costs. Although team members are pleased that he is able to obtain the money, they are sure he will use this as just another example of how he was the one doing most of the work on the project. Questions 1. Based on the skills approach, how would you assess Dr. Wood’s lead- ership and his relationship to the members of the Elder Care Project team? Will the project be successful? 2. Does Dr. Wood have the skills necessary to be an effective leader of this research team? 3. The skills model describes three important competencies for leaders: problem-solving skills, social judgment skills, and knowledge. If you were to coach Dr. Wood using this model, what competencies would you address with him? What changes would you suggest that he make in his leadership? FOR THE USE OF GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND FACULTY ONLY NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION SALE, OR REPRINTING ANY AND ALL UNAUTHORIZED USE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED Copyright © 2019 by SAGE Publications, Inc. 60 LEADERSHIP THEORY AND PRACTICE inventory such as the one provided at the end of this chapter, people can gain further insight into their own leadership competencies. Their scores allow them to learn about areas in which they may want to seek further training to enhance their overall contributions to their organization. From a wider perspective, the skills approach may be used in the future as a template for the design of extensive leadership development programs. This approach provides the evidence for teaching leaders the important aspects of listening, creative problem solving, conflict resolution skills, and much more. CASE STUDIES The following three case studies (Cases 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3) describe leadership situations that can be analyzed and evaluated from the skills perspective. The first case involves the principal investigator of a federally funded research grant. The second case takes place in a military setting and describes how a lieutenant colo- nel handles the downsizing of a military base. In the third case, we learn about how the owner of an Italian restaurant has created his own recipe for success. As you read each case, try to apply the principles of the skills approach to the leaders and their situations. At the end of each case are questions that will assist you in analyzing the case. CASE 3.1 A Strained Research Team Dr. Adam Wood is the principal investigator on a three-year, $1 million federally funded research grant to study health education programs for older populations, called the Elder Care Project. Unlike previous projects, in which Dr. Wood worked alone or with one or two other investigators, on this project Dr. Wood has 11 colleagues. His project team is made up of two co-investigators (with PhDs), four intervention staff (with MAs). and five general staff members (with BAs). One year into the project, it has become apparent to Dr. Wood and the team that the project is underbudgeted and has too few resources. Team members are spending 20%-30% more time on the project than has been budgeted to pay them. Regardless of the resource strain, all team members are committed to the project; they believe in its goals and the importance of its out- comes. Dr. Wood is known throughout the country as the foremost scholar in this area of health education research. He is often asked to serve on national review and advisory boards. His publication record is second to none. In addition, his colleagues in the university know Dr. Wood as a very competent researcher. People come to Dr. Wood for FOR THE USE OF GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND FACULTY ONLY NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION SALE, OR REPRINTING ANY AND ALL UNAUTHORIZED USE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED Copyright 2019 by SAGE Publications, Inc. Chapter 3 Skills Approach 59 cognitive ability). Although both areas are studied widely in the field of cogni- tive psychology, they are seldom addressed in leadership research. By including so many components, the skills model of Mumford and others becomes more general and less precise in explaining leadership performance. Second, related to the first criticism, the skills model is weak in predictive value. It does not explain specifically how variations in social judgment skills and problem-solving skills affect performance. The model suggests that these components are related, but it does not describe with any precision just how that works. In short, the model can be faulted because it does not explain how skills lead to effective leadership performance. In addition, the skills approach can be criticized for claiming not to be a trait model when, in fact, a major component in the model includes individual attributes, which are trait-like. Although Mumford and colleagues describe cognitive abilities, motivation, and personality variables as factors contribut- ing to competencies, these are also factors that are typically considered to be trait variables. The point is that the individual attributes component of the skills model is trait driven, and that shifts the model away from being strictly a skills approach to leadership. The final criticism of the skills approach is that it may not be suitably or appropriately applied to other contexts of leadership. The skills model was constructed by using a large sample of military personnel and observing their performance in the armed services. This raises an obvious question: Can the results be generalized to other populations or organizational settings? Although some research suggests that these Army findings can be general- ized to other groups (Mumford, Zaccaro, Connelly, et al., 2000), more research is needed to address this criticism. APPLICATION Despite its appeal to theorists and academics, the skills approach has not been widely used in applied leadership settings. For example, there are no training packages designed specifically to teach people leadership skills from this approach. Although many programs have been designed to teach leadership skills from a general self-help orientation, few of these programs are based on the conceptual frameworks set forth in this chapter. Despite the lack of formal training programs, the skills approach offers valu- able information about leadership. The approach provides a way to delincate the skills of the leader, and leaders at all levels in an organization can use it. In addition, this approach helps us to identify our strengths and weaknesses in regard to these technical, human, and conceptual skills. By taking a skills FOR THE USE OF GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND FACULTY ONLY NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION, SALE, OR REPRINTING ANY AND ALL UNAUTHORIZED USE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED Copyright © 2019 by SAGE Publications, Inc. 58 LEADERSHIP THEORY AND PRACTICE STRENGTHS In several ways, the skills approach contributes positively to our understand- ing about leadership. First, it is a leader-centered model that stresses the importance of developing particular leadership skills. It is the first approach to conceptualize and create a structure of the process of leadership around skills. Whereas the early research on skills highlighted the importance of skills and the value of skills across different management levels, the later work placed learned skills at the center of effective leadership performance at all management levels. Second, the skills approach is intuitively appealing. To describe leadership in terms of skills makes leadership available to everyone. Unlike persona…

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