Leadership Levels vs. Skill Levels

As Mishigami Group continues to grow, we find ourselves in the same demographic as some of our clients, one where our leadership starts to focus more on the strategic leadership level and less on the direct leadership level. This shift draws us all to have some remorse as we give less attention to technical skills and more on conceptual and interpersonal skills required to do our jobs at a higher level of leadership.

What we have seen, however; is fewer students of leadership can make this shift while managing more tasks and leading more individuals. In the business world, and within the public safety sectors, we have seen those with the technical skills rise to levels where new skills must be developed, especially in the conceptual and interpersonal space. The lack of ability to transform from the technology-based skills, like a firefighter, to conceptual skills, like leading a team of firefighters to put out a fire effectively is not always an easy task.

The following picture shows the level of skill level required compared to the leadership level.

At the beginning of our careers, we must be very good at our technical craft, because at that level we are hands-on operators. As we progress through our leadership levels, we become more of visionaries and influencers by sharpening these conceptual and interpersonal skills.  Sure we still need some technical expertise, but now it becomes less of need, as we rely on others to hold the skills necessary to succeed as an organization.
So what do we need to do?

1.    Consistently work on interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. Many “leaders” actually lack these two things and fall flat when trying to motivate others to achieve a vision. This is the major reason many managers fail and why many feel micromanaged.

2.    Develop the ability to see into the future, conceptualize possibilities, then how to pull together a team to reach the future. If you cannot take the ship into the direction of the future based on a vision, you cannot be an effective organizational leader.

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