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Running Head: REFLECTION PAPER: THE SKILLS AND STYLE APPROACHES

LEA- 201
Reflection Paper: The Skills and Style Approaches
Professor Jarvis
September 15, 2014
Pearis L. Bellamy

REFLECTION PAPER: THE SKILLS AND STYLE APPROACHES


Introduction
In chapters three and four of Leadership: Theory and Practice by Peter G. Northouse, he
discusses two other approaches to leadership. In chapter three, he describes the skills approach
to leadership. The skills approach is a leader-centered perspective that emphasizes skills and
abilities that people are able to acquire and develop. Peter G. Northouse references two specific
studies on leadership using the skills approach. The first study was performed by Robert Katz.
Robert Katz identified three skills that ranged in importance based on the individuals level in an
organization. The three skills were human, technical and conceptual skills. Mumford and his
colleagues furthered Robert Katzs research and identified five components of their skill based
model: competencies, individual attributes, leadership outcomes career experiences and
environmental influences. The text further explores the strengths and criticisms of the skills
approach. In chapter four, the style approach is discussed. Peter G. Northouse describes the
style approach as an approach that focuses on the behavior of the leader. Researchers have
concluded that leadership is made up of two kinds of behavior: task behaviors and relationship
behaviors. The text references the Ohio State Studies, the University of Michigan Studies and the
Blake and Moutons Managerial Leadership Grid and their impact on the style approach of
studying leadership. Peter G. Northouse also notes the strengths and criticisms of the style
approach. In class, Professor Jarvis provided the class with another Jarvisism and shared a
personal story. This week I was able to reflect on Professor Jarviss advice and analyze my
leadership in terms of the skills and style approaches.
The Skills Approach
The text noted that the skills approach is a unique approach because this approach
emphasizes skills that can be learned and developed. Robert Katz proposed the three skill

REFLECTION PAPER: THE SKILLS AND STYLE APPROACHES


approach. He selected three basic skills that are crucial to leadership. The first skill is technical
skill. Peter G. Northouse describes technical skill as knowledge about and proficiency in a
specific type of work or activity (Northouse, 2012). Technical skills are most important for
supervisory or middle management and are not as crucial for top management. Human skills are
described as knowledge about and ability to work with people (Northouse, 2012). This skill is
crucial to all parts of management. Conceptual skill is the ability to work with ideas and
concepts (Northouse, 2012). Robert Katz noted this as most important to middle and top
management. I feel that the three skills approach makes sense. At different levels of
management there are skills that are more important than others. For example, at my job, the
managers did not know the technical skill required to perform my job or other lower level jobs.
This was because they were rarely, if ever, called on to perform such tasks. However, they
needed human and conceptual skills to be able to work with employees and come up with ideas
to make the water resort better. Another model for the skills approach was created by Mumford
and his colleagues. They worked with 1,800 officers in the army. Peter G. Northouse, describes
their goal when he says, The researchers main goal was to explain the underlying elements of
effective performance (Northouse, 2012). Mumford identified five components of leader
performance. These components were competencies, individual attributes, leadership outcomes,
career experience and environmental influences. Peter G. Northouse describes four individual
attributes that are apart of Mumfords model. These attributes include general cognitive ability,
crystallized cognitive ability, motivation and personality. The competencies portion of the model
is comprised of problem- solving skills, social judgment skills and knowledge. The leadership
outcomes are effective problem solving and performance and are directly influenced by the
competencies of the leader. The text says career experiences have an impact on the

REFLECTION PAPER: THE SKILLS AND STYLE APPROACHES


characteristics and competencies of leaders (Northouse, 2012). The experience that a leader has
through his or her career can impact their skills. Lastly, environmental influences are described
as factors that lie outside the leaders competencies, characteristics and experiences
(Northouse, 2012). I feel that this model is true in most instances (Northouse, 2012). For
example, after working in a customer service industry for over a year, I was able to take that
career experience and apply it to when I worked at a school. The ability to calmly talk to upset
people allowed me to be able to console the children at my job and any disagreeable parents. My
leadership at my second job was influenced by the skills I had developed from my experience at
my first job. The skills approach is praised for stressing the importance of leadership skills,
being naturally appealing and incorporating many components that can be divided into various
subcomponents. However, some criticize the skills approach because this approach goes beyond
the ideas of leadership and ventures into cognitive psychology. Also, Peter G. Northouse says,
The skills model is weak in predictive value (Northouse, 2012). Another criticism identified in
the book is the similarity of the individual attributes to the trait model which the skills approach
is claimed to be different from. The final criticism noted in the book is that this approach is not
always best in different contexts. I feel that the skills approach is an intriguing way to look at
leadership. As a psychology major, I feel that it is a positive that this approach involves
psychology. Psychology is crucial in understanding all people so therefore psychology would be
vital to understanding leadership. There are many branches of research that will overlap and that
is not necessarily an issue. The world is comprised of many ideas and sciences that work
together to make the world we have today. Therefore, there is constant overlap with various
sciences and research when trying to understand ideas like leadership.

REFLECTION PAPER: THE SKILLS AND STYLE APPROACHES

The Style Approach


The style approach focuses on a leaders behavior. Researches have divided leadership
into task behaviors and relationship behaviors. The text says, Task behaviors facilitate goal
accomplishment. While, Relationship behaviors help subordinates feel comfortable with
themselves, with each other, and with situations in which they may find themselves (Northouse,
2012). The Ohio State Studies identified initiating structure and consideration as leadership
behaviors. Initiating structure and task behaviors are almost synonymous as are consideration
and relationship behaviors. In the University of Michigan Studies, researchers also identified
two leadership behaviors. Those behaviors are employee orientation and production orientation.
Employee orientation is when employers deal with employees with a focus on human relations.
In contrast, production orientation is when the technical and production parts of a job are
emphasized. The last study mentioned in the text is the Blake and Moutons Managerial
(Leadership) Grid. This grid ranges from one to nine. One is the minimum and nine is the
maximum. The horizontal axis identifies the leaders concern for results. The vertical axis
identifies the leaders concern for people. The text notes five types of leadership styles:
authority-compliance (9, 1), country club management (1, 9), impoverished management (1, 1),
middle of the road management (5, 5) and team management (9, 9). Essentially, authority
-compliance is a style in reach people are merely seen as a means of production. The country
club management style is focused almost entirely on the feelings and attitudes of the people with
negligible concern for production. Impoverished management is a style in which neither the
concerns for production or people are taken into consideration. Middle of the road management
is a style in which the concerns of the people and the concerns of the job are balanced and both

REFLECTION PAPER: THE SKILLS AND STYLE APPROACHES


intermediate. Team management is a style that emphasizes both the tasks of the job and the
emotions of the people. The text also describes paternalism/ maternalism and opportunism.
Paternalism and maternalism are leaders who separated 1, 9 and 9, 1 styles but use both in the
leadership practices. They are often referred to as fatherly or motherly by their followers.
Opportunism is a leadership style where the leader works in his or her best interest (Northouse,
2012). I feel as though this approach also makes sense. There are different styles of leaders.
For example, Professor Jarvis told us about how he takes care of his people. Whether in the
army or in the classroom, he takes care of his people. He pushes those under his command to be
the best of their abilities. Every time, I visit Professor Jarvis he has students returning that call
him Dad and have nothing but positive attributes to describe him. Therefore, after reading the
text, I identified his style of leadership as an example of paternalism. Also, Google uses the
Team Management style of leadership. The company cares about their employees and has gyms
and restaurants to make their jobs more comfortable. However, they require the best of the best
and that is why they are a leading company in the global market.
Jarvisisms, Advice and Personal Stories
This week, Professor Jarvis provided us with the third Jarvisism. This Jarvisism states
that Sleep is the cousin of death (Jarvis, 2014). I feel this means that when you have
something great to do that may require you to not sleep. You must be willing to make that
sacrifice because if not your dream or idea could die because of your lack of sacrifice. I know
that this is true for me. When I was working two jobs during the school year, I had to sacrifice
sleep in order to do everything I had to do to be successful. Looking back, I am happy I made
that sacrifice because now I am here at Hampton University. Professor Jarvis also encouraged us
to be brave and be willing to sacrifice for the benefit of the group. I want to be a leader that is

REFLECTION PAPER: THE SKILLS AND STYLE APPROACHES


willing to make sacrifices so that their dream, ideas and organizations can survive. I want to be a
leader who takes responsibility for my life and is willing to work hard for what I want. In class,
Professor Jarvis shared a personal story about how he and his family survived an accident. I was
truly inspired by his story and how despite being connected to many machines he wanted to see
his family. That is being a leader to me. Someone that is more concerned about the people that
depend on him or her than his or herself. That is admirable to me. I want to be a leader who
cares about my people and is not just concerned with myself.
Conclusion
This weeks lesson made me aware of the skills I hope to have as an effective leader and
the main style of leadership I would like to use. Professor Jarviss lesson this week also made
me realize the importance of sacrifice in achieving a goal. Also, I realized that a leader must be
concerned with the people who depend on him or her. A true leader cares about not only his or
herself but others.

REFLECTION PAPER: THE SKILLS AND STYLE APPROACHES


Reference List
Jarvis, R. (2014, September) Defining Leadership. Class. Lecture conducted from Hampton
University, Hampton, VA.
Northouse, P.G. (2012). Leadership: Theory and Practice (6th ed.). Sage Publications.