In the piece written by Katz, it is argued that the skills of an effective administrator (leader) can be learned as opposed to the common belief that it is something someone is born with. Davies & Easterby-Smith in their article then argue that learning and developing occurs through work experiences. I recognised that these readings amalgamate into an expectation that some learning has been taken from the course. Feeling the pressure now, I wrack my brain searching for some kind of personal development that has taken place during this oh-so-stressful course and when nothing comes, I instead look to where I have failed and realise, via Katz, that without technical skill I cannot expect to be an effective administrator alone.
According to Katz (1955 pg 91), technical skill "implies an understanding of and proficiency in a specific kind of activity". Katz believes this is the most straightforward skill to develop. For instance a builder learns how to build or a surgeon learns how to operate before they mange others doing so. This is meant to be the first stage to becoming an efficient executive and this is where I went wrong. By not spending enough time at the start of the course developing this skill, I have not been an effective team member. However this ins't quite as bad as it sounds. I am the human resources manager for my Mikesbikes team as you would expect, my strengths lie in human skill which Katz (1955 pg 91) describes as "the ability to work effectively as a group member and to build a cooperative effort within the team he leads." I think im pretty good with people, helping team members out when they need it, solving issues or arguments and making sure the team - as a group of individual people - runs smoothly. Overall, I think I've done ok at my job. Not great, but ok and the reason for that I believe is that my technical skill wasn't developed appropriately early on in the course. Without technical skill for instance, my knowledge of operations or marketing is not good enough to understand problems or help out with any of their decisions. I am telling my team members to work together to match projected demand with production while I myself have no idea what that means.
This is a tough situation to be in however. In the real world a human resources manager has years to develop their appropriate technical skill before they are required to use their human skill. Yet Human resource mangers are meant to have been able to do the same for Mikesbikes in a few weeks? This has an easy fix according to Katz. By teaming up with other administrators with complementary skills (1955) (such as my CEO) we can facilitate improvements for our team such as increased communications between departments. This wont make myself as an individual better at my job, but could help my team do better in Mikesbikes which, lets face it, at this stage is all I care about. With my human and his technical skill who knows, it might be time for a comeback.
Davies, J., & Easterby-Smith, M. (1984). Learning and developing from managerial work experiences. Journal of Management Studies, 21(2), 169--182.
Katz, R. L. (1955). Skills of an effective administrator. Harvard Business Review, 33(1), 33--42.