Human Resource
October 2, 2008

Managers look at the skills or competencies they need to successfully achieve their goals. Robert Katz has identified three essential management skills: technical, human, and conceptual.

Technical Skills:

Technical skills encompass the ability to apply specialized knowledge or expertise. When you think of the skills held by professionals such as civil or oral surgeons, you typically focus on their technical skills .Through extensive formal education; they have learned the special knowledge and practices of their field. Of course, professionals don’t have a monopoly on technical skills, and not all technical skills, have to be learned in schools or formal training programs .All jobs require some specialized expertise, and many people develop their technical skills on the job.

Human Skills:

The ability to work with, understand, and motivate other people, both individually and in groups, describes, human skills many people are technically proficient but interpersonally incompetent. They might be poor listeners, unable to understand the needs of others, or have difficulty managing conflicts .Since managers get things done through other people, they must have good human skills to communicate, motivate, and delegate.

Conceptual Skills:

Managers must have the mental ability to analyze and diagnose complex situations. These tasks require conceptual skills. Decision making, for instance, requires managers to spot problems, identify alternatives that can correct them, evaluate those alternatives, and select the best one .Managers can be technically and interpersonally competent yet still fail because of an inability to rationally process and interpret information

Effective vs. Successful Managerial activities:

Fred Luthans and his associates looked at the issue of what managers do from a somewhat different perspective. They asked the question: Do managers who move up most quickly in an organization do the same activities and with the same emphasis as managers who do the best job? You would tend to think that the managers who were the most effective in their jobs would also be the ones who were promoted fastest .But that’s not what appears to happen.

Luthans and his associates studied more than 450 managers .What they found was that these managers all engaged in four managerial activities:

1.      Traditional Management. Decision making, planning, and controlling.

2.      Communication. Exchanging routine information and processing paper work.

3.      Human resources management. Motivating, disciplining, managing conflict, staffing, and training.

4.      Networking. Socializing, politicking, and interacting with outsiders.

The average manager in the a study spent 32% of his or her time in traditional management activities,29% communicating,20% in human resource management activities, and 19% networking. However, the amount of time and effort than different managers spent on those four activities varied a great deal. Specifically managers who were successful (defined in terms of the speed of promotion within their organization) had a very different emphasis than managers who were effective (defined in terms of the quantity and quality of their performance and the satisfaction and commitment of their employees). Among successful managers, networking made the largest relative contribution to success, and human resource management activities made the least relative contribution. Among effective managers, communication made the largest relative contribution and networking the least.`

About author

Dr Shailesh Thaker

Dr. Shailesh Thaker is a world-renowned management thinker and trainer on organizational behavior and development. He is the CLO of Knowledge Plus Inc., a highly reputed training firm based in Ahmedabad, India, helping organizations to achieve international benchmarks in management practices.

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