He not only needs to know the right questions to ask his subordinates; he also needs enough industry background to know how to evaluate the answers. So Organizations need strong leaders for profitable growth in business. In this instance, when the new production controls and formalized organizations were introduced, management did not foresee the consequences of this action in the event of a future contraction of business. Find out for yourself how these vital skills can be put to work today. My extensive work with company presidents and my own personal experience as a chief executive have given me much more respect for the difficulties and complexities of that role. At the root of this difference is industry’s search for the traits or attributes which will objectively identify the “ideal executive” who is equipped to cope effectively with any problem in any organization. This approach suggests that executives should not be chosen on the basis of their apparent possession of a number of behavior characteristics or traits, but on the basis of their possession of the requisite skills for the specific level of responsibility involved. This three-skill approach emphasizes that good administrators are not necessarily born; they may be developed. Yet somewhere in the organization, he needs to have a well-informed, objective, understanding, and supportive sounding board with whom he can freely discuss his doubts, fears, and aspirations. Sometimes this function can be supplied by an outside director, the outside corporate counsel, or the company auditor. The administrator needs: (a) sufficient technical skill to accomplish the mechanics of the particular job for which he is responsible; (b) sufficient human skill in working with others to be an effective group member and to be able to build cooperative effort within the team he leads; (c) sufficient conceptual skill to recognize the interrelationships of the various factors involved in his situation, which will lead him to take that action which is likely to achieve the maximum good for the total organization. “In Conference,” HBR March–April 1954, p. 44. But in every case that method should be chosen which will enable the executive to develop his own personal skill in visualizing the enterprise as a whole and in coordinating and integrating its various parts. 10. For a further discussion of this point, see F. J. Roethlisberger, “Training Supervisors in Human Relations,” HBR September 1951, p. 47. He is sufficiently sensitive to the needs and motivations of others in his organization so that he can judge the possible reactions to, and outcomes of, various courses of action he may undertake. Many different approaches to the development of human skill are being pursued by various universities and professional men today. Improving your administrative skills can help you to have a stronger work ethic by completing tasks in a punctual and quality manner while working well with others. He must define performance criteria and determine what special competences the company will emphasize. One way a superior can help “coach” his subordinate is by assigning a particular responsibility, and then responding with searching questions or opinions, rather than giving answers, whenever the subordinate seeks help. In the sections which follow, an attempt will be made to define and demonstrate what these three skills are; to suggest that the relative importance of the three skills varies with the level of administrative responsibility; to present some of the implications of this variation for selection, training, and promotion of executives; and to propose ways of developing these skills. Post a Job on Indeed.com. All rights reserved. The interpersonal skills administrative workers need that are transferable to other roles include: Speaking and listening skills Ability to work as part of a team Often an office administrator is responsible for keeping track of not only his/her tasks and calendar but also that of the other office workers and … Find out for yourself how these vital skills can be put to work today. 5. [Workers had previously been paid on a daily straight piecework basis. But one has only to look at the successful managers in any company to see how enormously their particular qualities vary from any ideal list of executive virtues.”1. Having both is rarely possible. For larger groups, the kind of case-problems course described above, only using cases involving broad management policy and interdepartmental coordination, may be useful. The results were lower costs, greater productivity, and higher morale than the production division had ever before experienced. If you’re misunderstood or disbelieved, it will cause problems. In my view, it is impossible for anyone to perform well in these continually changing roles without help. Yet this quest for the executive stereotype has become so intense that many companies, in concentrating on certain specific traits or qualities, stand in danger of losing sight of their real concern: what a man can accomplish. At the top, technical skill may be almost nonexistent, and the executive may still be able to perform effectively if his human and conceptual skills are highly developed. In each case, the manager will probably receive strong support from his subordinates, who share the same values. I want you to make that base rate of 250 dozen pair a week work!” [Base rate was established at slightly under 75% of the maximum capacity. However, my experience over the past 20 years, in working with senior executives in a wide variety of industries, suggests that several specific points require either sharp modification or substantial further refinement. Here’s how to identify which style works best for you, and why it’s important for your career development. Within this definition, successful administration appears to rest on three basic skills, which we will call technical, human, and conceptual. We want you to take the big ideas in your head and put them into action by helping you develop as a project manager, communicator, policy … Administrative assistants’ communication skills are key — helping them convey information inside and outside the company, and keeping business running well. This might involve responsibilities such as filing paperwork, meeting with internal and external stakeholders, presenting important information, developing processes, answering employee questions and more. He must establish the standards and controls necessary to monitor progress and to place limits on individual actions. When Benjamin F. Fairless, now chairman of the board of the United States Steel Corporation, was president of the corporation, he described his coaching activities: “When one of my vice presidents or the head of one of our operating companies comes to me for instructions, I generally counter by asking him questions. This role has been largely overlooked in discussions of organizational requirements, but in my view, its proper fulfillment is essential to the success of the chief executive and the enterprise. Every decision or choice affecting the whole enterprise has negative consequences for some of the parts. Technical skill is responsible for many of the great advances of modern industry. In playing golf the action of the hands, wrists, hips, shoulders, arms, and head are all interrelated; yet in improving one’s swing it is often valuable to work on one of these elements separately. For larger groups, the use of case problems coupled with impromptu role playing can be very effective. I cited as evidence the many professional managers who move easily from one industry to another without apparent loss of effectiveness. I now believe that this kind of skill could be usefully subdivided into (a) leadership ability within the manager’s own unit and (b) skill in intergroup relationships. One recent research study has shown that human skill is of paramount importance at the foreman level, pointing out that the chief function of the foreman as an administrator is to attain collaboration of people in the work group.4 Another study reinforces this finding and extends it to the middle-management group, adding that the administrator should be primarily concerned with facilitating communication in the organization.5 And still another study, concerned primarily with top management, underscores the need for self-awareness and sensitivity to human relationships by executives at that level.6 These findings would tend to indicate that human skill is of great importance at every level, but notice the difference in emphasis. We are all familiar with those “professional managers” who are becoming the prototypes of our modern executive world. Perhaps consideration of an actual situation would serve to clarify what is involved: When a new conveyor unit was installed in a shoe factory where workers had previously been free to determine their own work rate, the production manager asked the industrial engineer who had designed the conveyor to serve as foreman, even though a qualified foreman was available. It would be unrealistic to assert that these skills are not interrelated, yet there may be real merit in examining each one separately, and in developing them independently. We may notice that, in a very real sense, conceptual skill embodies consideration of both the technical and human aspects of the organization. The chief executive must try to perceive the conflicts and trace accurately their likely impact throughout the organization. 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