This instrument assesses an inventory of skills that Northouse (2016) has identified as important in a skills-based approach to leadership, and contains technical skills, human skills, and conceptual skills (p. 46) reflective of the levels of skills inherent in different levels of organizational management as explicated by Katz (in Northouse, 2016, p. 46).
The data is as follows:
- Technical Skill: 15
- Human Skill: 28
- Conceptual Skill: 23
Northouse (2016) offers an interpretation scale for this skills inventory:
- 23-30 High Range
- 14-22 Moderate Range
- 6-13 Low Range (p. 68).
Therefore, I scored in the moderate range (on the low end) for technical skills, in the high range for human skills, and in the high range (on the low end) for conceptual skills.
If I consider each skills as Northouse (2016) describes as the management skills necessary at various levels of management (p. 46), then anyone who has ever read my work (especially the first chapter of my dissertation – sorry Dr. Tamim!) can attest to my desire to operate on the conceptual level of organizational management. I can do the technical parts, but I don’t believe that I naturally think in those ways: for example, I can describe the philosophical underpinnings of classroom management in a progressivist setting far better than I can give step-by-step instructions for classroom management itself. This fits with Northouse’s assertion that the “skills approach is primarily descriptive...provid[ing] a structure for understanding the nature of effective leadership” (p. 56). When the need arises, I can access the technical skills, but I operate more consistently moving through each skill for whatever problem I am dealing with. This is not to say that I haven’t had some big difficulties with the technical side of things. I have certainly grown in the last year, but with respect to the day-to-day operations of running a classroom (or writing a Dissertation in Practice) it takes a great deal of effort to access those skills.
Cover of FM 22-100, August 1999
One final (and very interesting, in my opinion) element to add to this reflection. I was in the Army for 10 years, from June of 1994-December of 2004. During that time, I participated in both formal and informal leadership development, including the Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC – essentially the school to become a sergeant), and the Basic Non-Commissioned Officers Course (BNCOC – the school to become a staff sergeant/squad leader), but I knew that the Army went through a major shift in how they trained Non-Commissions Officers (NCOs). I looked up the old leadership field manual (FM 22-100, Headquarters, Department of the Army, 1999) and compared it with the new manual (FM 6-22, Headquarter, Department of the Army, 2006). Northouse (2015) describes the research that the Army and the Department of Defense has done in developing leaders, and this resulted in the “Be, Know, Do” model in FM 22-100 (Headquarters, Department of the Army, 1999, p. 1-6). This was replaced in the mid 2000s with FM 6-22, and the same model still exists, but is much less emphasized in FM 6-22, calling the model an “enduring expression for Army leadership” (Headquarters, Department of the Army, 2006, p. 1-1). Thinking about this, the timeline fits with the skills-based models researched in the 1990s (Northouse, 2016, p. 47), especially with respect to the following: Northouse states, “rather than emphasizing what leaders do, the skills approach frames leadership as the capabilities (knowledge and skills) that make effective leadership possible” (p. 47). This model for leadership is not only much more realistic, it is also much more palatable for someone like me, who loathes the idea of using force to accomplish an end, something that, quite obviously, a military must do. I see this as a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it makes the “professional soldier” more appealing, and on the other hand, the leadership model as outlined in Northouse’s text and exemplified in FM 6-22 is incredibly robust. Also, Northouse is cited in FM 6-22 as a “conceptual foundation” (p. References-15) for the manual, and I appreciate the poetry in that. (See what I mean about conceptual things being in the forefront? Yikes!)
Cover of FM 22-100, October 2006
Week Two: Leadership Behavior Questionnaire