Essay about Robert Katz: Skills of an Effective Administrator

1571 Words May 12th, 2012 7 Pages
Katz, Robert L. “Skills of an Effective Administrator,” Harvard Business Review: 1955. Retrieved from: McMahon, Timothy, J. Leaderships Classics. pp. 22-35.

Robert Katz identifies the selection and training of good administration as one of American industry’s most pressing problems. Katz tells us that at the root of the problem is the industry’s search for the traits and qualities that will identify the “ideal executive.” In spending so much time looking at personality and one’s value set, companies are in danger of losing sight of what should be their main concern - what a man can accomplish. We believe that this is definitely still a relevant concern today as well. We see business executives with loads of personality and great people
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Of the three skills described in this article, technical skill is probably the most familiar to the average reader. It is the skill required by the largest number of people and most on-the-job training programs are concerned with developing their employees’ technical skills. Katz tells us that the need for technical skill is the greatest at the lower levels of administration. As a person moves closer to the top and further from the actual physical operation, the need for this skill decreases provided that there are subordinates who are qualified to carry out the technical aspect of the job. In our modern world, we see executives who flit around from company to company and have no idea what the technical aspect of their new job is, but their human and conceptual skills seem to make up for their lack of technical knowledge.
While we do agree that technical skills aren’t nearly as important to a CEO as they would be to a line manager, we feel that not having any technical skill at all in an executive position is akin to flying blind. If I were someone overseeing a large company or corporation I would want to be able to understand the technical aspects of the product(s) we were producing and be able to have input if the need arose concerning production or design. We find it very limiting to an executive when they are at the mercy of their lower level management to make every
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