In a continuously changing organizational setting, it is no shock that the roles of top management have evolved. Per se this paper will cover three major elements. Firstly, the essay will determine the role played by the top manager as described by Katz and their importance and finally, whether an additional skill is appropriate to the role of the top executives. A manager is described as a person who coordinates and oversees the work of employees in order to accomplish company goals (Robbins et al., 2008, p. 9).
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Basically, there are 3 lines of managers. First, there is the first-level manager who “supervises and coordinates the duties of working staff” (Peterson, 2004, p. 1299). The first-level manager’s duty comprises supervising daily activities, guaranteeing that production goal is performed proficiently and successfully since it directly impacts the organization’s profit margins.
Second, we have the mid-level manager who is mainly concerned with executing the regulations and goals generated by top management and with supervising and coordinating the operations of bottom line manager. For example, a mid-level manager would monitor machine breakdowns, quality control, and coordinates the role played by a supervisor guaranteeing the company functions properly (Carmeli & Tishler, 2006).
Thirdly, we have top managers who “set institutional strategies, objectives and business practices” (Mintzberg, 1994, p. 13). For instance, the manager of Crazy John’s, John Ilhan, would have generated goals for the company in achieving a desired profit margin per annum and have put in place guidelines and/or rules that must be followed so as to attain company aims through cost-effective tactics.
Robert Katz (1974) suggested that people in all management levels required 3 major skills in order to ensure successful management. Such skills include the aspects of conceptual, technical and human attributes (Katz, 1974).
Relevance to top management
Top managers and Conceptual skill
Top level management form the executive managerial employees in any company. Robbins et al. (2008) assert that top managers form the highest level in the hierarchy to which first line and mid-level management report to. Thus the completion of all decisions is based on the conceptual skills of the top managers.
When, for instance, critical changes in marketing policies are undertaken, it is important to consider their impacts on output, quality, monetary, research, and the persons implementing the changes. And it appears important to all top managers who should integrate the fresh policies. If all executives recognize the general interactions and importance attached to the changes, they are nearly assured to be efficient to administer them. As a result the opportunity to succeed is highly enhanced.
Conceptual skills, as described by Robert Katz, become gradually more crucial in highly demanding top levels where their impacts is optimized and most readily seen. Indeed, contemporary study findings result to the assumption that at the high position of coordination these conceptual skills become the most crucial skill for all (Katz, 1974, p. 96).
Top managers and Technical skill
Kraut et al. (2005) asserts that technical skills imply a comprehending of, and efficiency in, certain activities, especially one entailing techniques and protocols. Technical skills involve good understanding, analytical capability, and capacity to utilize devices and methods of a particular discipline.
Basically, technical skills are probably the most popular since they are the most tangible, and since, in this period of specialization, they are the skills needed by many people. Many of the on- the-job tertiary and coaching projects are greatly linked to establishing these professional technical skills. Therefore, at top position, technical skills are comparatively less significant.
Top managers and human skill
As described by Katz (1974), interpersonal skill refers to the manager’s capability of working efficiently in a team and of building collective effort within the group he/she heads. Interpersonal skills are mainly linked to working with individuals. Human skills are illustrated in the manner the individuals perceive (and recognize the views of) their seniors and juniors, and in the manner they behave afterward (Katz, 1974, p. 91).
The individuals bearing highly established interpersonal skills are aware of their personal attributes, presumptions, and perceptions regarding other persons and teams; they are capable of seeing the importance and restrictions of such attitudes.
By accommodating the presence of perspectives, feelings, and attitudes which greatly vary from their own, they are skilled to understand what an individual truly means by his actions and activities. They are equally knowledgeable to communicate to an employee, in his personal situations, what they mean by their attitudes (Katz, 1974, p. 92).
These persons work toward generating a setting of security and confirmation whereby a junior employee feels free in expressing himself with no dread of ridicule or condemnation, through promoting him in participating in the preparation and implementation of something that directly impacts him.
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They are efficiently concerned with the need and motivation of individuals in their company in order that they can identify the likely response to, and result of, different actions they may carry out. This sensitivity aids them to be capable and ready in acting in ways that would integrate external perceptions (Robbins et al., 2008).
It would seem that, conceptual skills embody attribute of technical and interpersonal elements of the company. However, the idea of skills, as abilities in putting knowledge into practice, should empower people in distinguishing between the 3 basic skills to carry out the technical aspects (technical skills), encouraging and appreciating people and teams (interpersonal skills), and preparing and implementing entire operations and desires of the company toward achieving universal goals (conceptual skills) (Robbins et al., 2008).
From the discussion, it appears that technical skills become comparatively insignificant while the relevance of conceptual skills increase gradually. At the top position of any company, conceptual skills become the most significant skills for effective coordination. Senior executives may have limited interpersonal or technical abilities and still remain efficient if they have junior staff who possess strong interpersonal and technical skills. But if their conceptual skills are less strong, the organization’s success may be compromised.
The comparative significance of technical, interpersonal and conceptual skills is based on the position of management duties. At top management positions, the manager’s efficacy relies greatly on conceptual and interpersonal skill. At the higher position, conceptual skills become the most critical for the 3 skills for flourishing management.
This 3-skill concept stresses that an excellent top manager is unnecessarily born; he can be established. It emphasizes the need of identifying certain attributes in a quest for providing a more effective method to look into the management policy. By aiding in identifying the skill most required in the top administration, it may attest necessary in the choice, coaching, and enhancement of top managers.
Carmeli, A., & Tishler, A. (2006). The relative importance of the top management team’s managerial skills. International Journal of Manpower, 27(1), 9-36.
Katz, R. (1974, September-October). Skills of an effective administrator: HBR Classic, pp. 90-102.
Kraut, A., Patricia R., Douglas M., & Marvin D. (2005). The role of the manager: What’s really important in different management jobs? Academy of Management Executive, 19(4), 122-129.
Mintzberg, H. (1994). Rounding out the manager’s job. Sloan Management Review, 36(11), 11-26.
Peterson, T. (2004). Ongoing legacy of R.L. Katz: an updated typology of management skills. Management Decision, 42(10), 1297-1308.
Robbins, S., Bergman, R., Stagg, I., & Coulter, M. (2008). Management (5th ed.). Frenchs Forest, Australia: Pearson Education Australia.