12 Skills Theory of Leadership

Mhykeah Baez

Skills Based Theory of Leadership

The Skills Based Theory of Leadership is a theory that identifies what assets make up a good leader as well as how can we identify a leader that is best fit for the role in an organization. Many ask the question, are leaders born leaders or do they have to go through a set of skills and tests to be given that title? All good leaders have taken the position of being a follower beforehand. Each leader in an organization is never given the role to be a leader, for example, you cannot go into an organization with the mindset that you’re a leader and you want start leading peers, subordinates, or supervisors, he or she must have the qualities and experience to be able to take on the role of leading others.

One of the major benefits in the skills theory is that anyone can become a leader through the set of skills and developmental stages in an organization. A leader is selected by his or her peers that feel comfortable in taking opinions and direction from that person. A leader is a role model, a person that can be accountable, reliable, honest and loyal to the organization and those employed there. These are considered “Traits”. Leaders must have a set of skills they follow within an organization, which includes: technical, human, and conceptual skills (Guerrer & Rowe, 2013). With these set of skills, a higher- level leader needs to have stronger conceptual skills as opposed to a hands-on leader who needs to have stronger technical skills.

 Leader must develop these set of skills:

  • Human Skills –  Communication and attention to relationships with others in an organization.
  • Technical Skills – Accomplish tasks for those working on the front lines; they are techniques, practices, tools, and processes.
  • Conceptual Skills – Take in the big picture of the entire organization and use abstract ideas to set strategic initiatives.




What are human skills? The abilities one has when it comes to working with individuals are known as Human skills. Understanding behavior, group dynamics, motives, attitudes, and feelings of that individual are the main characteristics of good human skills. To achieve goals in an organization, one must know how to adapt to their peers, supervisors, as well as subordinates (Guerrer & Rowe, 2013). These skills give a leader the understanding of how to influence a team and/or group members to work effectively to accomplish goals and objectives within the organization. Human skills proficiency enables a leader to know how to monitor their thoughts and feelings within an organization to correlate with others in productivity. “Interpersonal” is another term used for human skills, however, a leader that has a higher level of this skill is said to be better at adapting to their own ideas as well as to others ideas in an organization through the achievement of goals and objectives.

Interpersonal leaders are subject to be a little more sensitive and empathetic to what truly motivates others. It is the leader’s obligation to have followers who trust you to achieve what needs to be met in an organization. Interpersonal skills require all three levels of management in an organization such as supervisory, middle management, and senior management. As a leader, you want to be able to provide the best accommodations to your peers, supervisors, and subordinates, and by doing so a leader must take on the task of learning how to obtain each set of skills to work effectively in an organization.



The second type of skills a leader must develop are Technical skills; these skills are based off one’s knowledge in a specific area of work. In order to have technical skills an individual must be competent and knowledgeable in an activity specified for the organization. With reasoning a potential leader must know the organizations rules and standard operating procedures, as well as the products and services. There are different levels of proficiency used in an organization such as supervisory levels of management, middle managers, and top managers. Each level has its own special qualifications such as CEOs and senior managers are accustomed to being in the “top managers” level which is considered to be the least set of skills, supervisory managers being the highest set of skills, and middle managers being the in-between set of skills. But, all in all technical skills proficiency goes hand in hand with “things” (Guerrer & Rowe, 2013).

  • Supervisory Management – The action of overseeing and managing employees in the workplace. Ex: holding meetings, reviewing performance, scheduling, hiring or firing employees.
  • Middle Management – The center of a hierarchical organization, middle managers provide guidance to the lower-level managers and inspire them to perform better as well as intermediate management level accountable to top managements.
  • Senior Management – A team of individuals that are the highest level of management of an organization who has the day-to-day tasks of managing that specific organization. (can manage a company or corporation)

Higher level leaders with conceptual skills are good at processing their thoughts as well as ideas that format an organizations vision for the future.  Conceptual skills are based upon an individual thinking through and working with ideas in an organization. For conceptual skills to be effective, a leader must know how to express his or her ideas in a verbal or written form; as well as expressing the economic principles in an organization. Leaders that develop these skills are comfortable with asking hypothetical questions such as “what if”, and working with abstract ideas (Guerrer & Rowe, 2013).

To make sense of an Abstract idea, a leader must develop conceptual skills for their peers, subordinates, and managers understand their ideas. Although conceptual skills are not most important in every organization, it is most important to senior managers, less to middle managers, and least to supervisory managers (Northouse, 2010). Conceptual skills are considered to be less important to lower level managers. In order to be important to a higher level manager, conceptual skills must be demonstrated to all levels of management to be effective in each organization. How we would obtain this goal is to encourage each organization to use conceptual skills within their program.

In conclusion leadership is not about individuals born with leadership traits that make them effective leaders in the future. It is truly about the skills approach that gives an individual the potential to become a leader from their experience through skills, test, and developmental stages acquired. How a leader can obtain these skills, a leader must evolve themselves with activities and exposure to different people and events in and out of the community their business is in. being stated I have factored out that this argument between different levels of organization is truly about the laws and rules of each organization within the levels of the firm. All in all, I have concluded the topic of discussion that leaders are not born leaders. In fact, they have a chain of skills too complete before they can be a leader to lead in a business or big organization.



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