Mumford and his colleagues concluded that leadership is comprised of five components: competencies, individual attributes, outcomes, experiences, and environmental influences. Each component encompasses certain skills that are required for an individual to be an effective leader.
Mumford and his colleagues used their research findings to develop a skill-based model of leadership. In the field of leadership studies, researchers regard the model as a capability model since it scrutinizes the relationship between a leader’s capabilities, or knowledge and skills, and effectiveness as a leader (Mumford, Zaccaro, Harding, et al., 2000, p. 12). The model assumes that leadership capabilities can be learned and honed through training and experience. This differs from the trait approach to leadership, which assumes that only those with certain personality characteristics can be leaders. The skills approach argues that with the proper training and experience to develop the appropriate skills, many people are capable of becoming successful and effective leaders.
With funding from the U.S. Army and Department of Defense, Mumford and his colleagues endeavored to test and create a wide-ranging leadership theory focused on organizational problem-solving skills. Over several years, the researchers worked with more than 1,800 Army officers, ranging from the grade levels of second lieutenant to colonel. The researchers assessed the officers’ skills, experiences, and work situations to determine the fundamentals that appeared to underscore effective leadership. As part of their research, Mumford and his colleagues studied the officers’ problem solving and other skills, as well as their personal traits, experiences, and environmental factors that impacted their leadership abilities and effectiveness.
Northouse (2016) defines leadership skills as “the ability to use one’s knowledge and competencies to accomplish a set of goals or objectives” (Northouse 2016, 43). The skills-based approach to leadership was developed by Robert Katz in 1955. Katz observed executives at work and conducted field research in office administration. He decided that to be an effective administrator or leader, an individual must possess personal skills in three areas: technical, human, and conceptual. He noted that the executives and administrators he observed who were effective leaders shared skills in each of these areas, and they used these skills regularly in their work (Katz 1955).
To solve problems, leaders must have excellent people skills. They must understand the people in their organization, as well as the social systems functioning in the organization. They must use this information to work with others in the organization to identify problems and develop solutions to those problems, garnering the support of their followers in these efforts. A leader who has excellent problem-solving skills but lacks effective people skills will have difficulty successfully resolving problems.
Social judgment skills have similarities to the human skills identified by Katz (1955) as necessary for leaders to be effective. To expound on Katz’s work, Mumford and his colleagues explained social judgment skills as including the elements of perspective taking, social perceptiveness, behavioral flexibility, and social performance.
Perspective taking is a social judgment skill that involves understanding others’ attitudes regarding specific problems or solutions. Perspective can be regarded as empathy applied to problem solving. It is the process of being sensitive to others’ perspectives and goals, understanding their point of view. Perspective taking also includes knowing how an organization’s various constituencies view a problem and its solutions. According to Zaccaro, Gilbert, Thor, and Mumford (1991), perspective-taking skills can be likened to social intelligence.
Yukl (2006) defines social intelligence as “the ability to determine the requirements for leadership in a particular situation and select an appropriate response” (Yukl 2006, 202). According to Yukl, the key factors involved in social intelligence are social perceptiveness and behavioral flexibility, which Mumford and his colleagues identified as two other elements in social judgment skills.
Yukl (2006) defines social perceptiveness as “the ability to understand the functional needs, problems, and opportunities that are relevant for a group or organization, and the member characteristics, social relationships, and collective processes that will enhance or limit attempts to influence the group or organization” (Yukl 2006, 202). According to Yukl, social perceptiveness encompasses the conceptual skills as well as the specific knowledge that a leader needs to perform strategic leadership. This includes the ability to recognize threats to the organization as well as opportunities and the ability to develop an appropriate strategy to respond to such situations.
In addition to conceptual skills, social perceptiveness includes interpersonal skills such as empathy, social sensitivity, and understanding of group dynamics. A leader with social perceptiveness also will understand the organization, having an in-depth knowledge of its structure, culture, and power relationships. Leaders with high social perceptiveness thoroughly understand their organizations and the people working there, which allows them to know exactly what needs to be done to make the organization more effective (Yukl 2006, 202-203). When leaders have high social perceptiveness, they also realize how the organization will react to change, and they are capable of exercising flexibility as needed to help facilitate change.
Some Key Terms to work into the research paper:
It is obvious that leaders take on a great many roles as they work to achieve organizational goals. You’ve already learned about many of those roles, such as communicator, problem-solver, and visionary. In this lesson, you’re going to reflect on the leader’s role as a liaison. Due to the direct authority that leaders have in their roles as managers, Henry Mintzberg (1989) asserted that one of the important roles was that of liaison. The liaison role fell into Mintzberg’s category of interpersonal roles, which involved fostering relationships with others outside of the leader’s direct chain of command. For example, liaisons network and collaborate with individuals outside of their immediate manager and subordinates.
According to Mintzberg, managers spend about 45 percent of their time with people outside their units, 45 percent of their time with their subordinates, and 10 percent with their own superiors (Mintzberg, 1989, p. 17). Clearly, leaders need to spend a substantial amount of time creating and sustaining contacts with people outside their immediate work circle. Creating an extended network aids leaders in achievements because they have an extended network of support and expertise. Excellent leaders recognize that they, themselves, do not know everything. Therefore, it is crucial that they surround themselves with others who are smarter and who know more than they do. The best liaisons understand the importance of this crucial network of information because it can assist them in making critical decisions and achieving great things.
With today’s increasingly global span of organizations, many leaders find themselves engaging in strategic partnerships with other organizations to accomplish goals. A strategic partnership, or alliance, is a relationship created through two entities combining competencies or resources to achieve success. The entities working to achieve a common goal may be organizations, businesses, or individuals. Agreements made between the entities may or may not be legally binding contracts. For example, some leaders may form strategic partnerships with other individuals for their expertise or insight into industry challenges. It is important that the strategic partnerships are beneficial for both entities in the relationship.
Some leadership skills
Stages of team Development
Organizational Structure and Design
Power and Influence
The Boundaryless Organization and Servant Leadership
Some Key Terms to work into the research paper: