Leadership in the workplace: Conceptual models and fundamental traits

Published Nov. 12, 2020

Effective Leadership in the workplace is inevitable for the success of every organization. But what does effective leadership entail?

Leadership in the workplace: Conceptual models and fundamental traits

At MentorCruise, a mentorship platform, we host a thriving community of startup founders, growth experts, and professionals who know how developing leadership skills are instrumental to your career growth and job performance.

Every corporation will experience different sorts of leadership, including yours. While large companies need leadership that synchronizes hundreds of individual applications into a common goal, startups demand leadership that motivates employees to esteem what their leader values and to generate ideas that will enable growth.

Leadership is a broad skill that you will need to continue learning and or developing throughout your life. However, to assist you to navigate, we put together the following guidelines for practical leadership in the workplace.

In this article you will learn:

  • The skills approach, a conceptual model to leadership
  • Leadership in the workplace
  • How to demonstrate leadership in the workplace

Skills approach to leadership

Developed by Katz (1955) and Mumford et al. (2000), the skills model to leadership is particularly useful because it focuses on learnable skills, rather than on inherent traits. This model is also effective for mentorship and coaching education programs to turn people into effective leaders.

The skills model to leadership centers on the idea that certain abilities, skills, and knowledge are essential to leadership. However, these can be acquired and developed, and therefore are possible for everyone.

The concept evaluates that your success as a leader is based on what you can accomplish. It does not pinpoint what a leader’s personality should be like. With this approach, the leadership position is open to anyone who can accomplish a task.

Exposure, training, and experiences can equip you for any leadership positions.

Many people possess leadership potentials, which can be improved upon by training and experience to get them to grow into more effective leaders. To discover your inert leadership potentials, you may need to chat with a mentor, coach, or professional.

Katz’s (1955) 3-Skill approach to leadership

According to this approach, the three principal skills required for effective leadership in the workplace are:

  • Technical skills
  • Conceptual skills
  • Human skills

Different kinds of leaders utilize these three skill sets in various ways to achieve their goals.

Based on this leadership approach, your traits, personality, and cognitive aptitudes can affect the earned skills and knowledge you apply to solve problems and achieve goals as a leader.

Technical skills

These are the experience and expertise needed in a particular type of project or activity.

This could involve the demand for specific knowledge to employ special techniques, methods, processes, and procedures.

You can learn these kinds of skills during education (e.g. a computer science degree), vocational training as well as on-the-job training programs.

Human skills

Human skills describe the people skills needed to operate effectively with members, peers, as well as superiors.

This incorporates written and verbal communication skills, the capability to inspire others and build a concrete team spirit.

As a leader, if you have great human skills, you will be conscious of your behavior and how this can influence your followers.

Conceptual skills

These are skills that permit you as a leader to conceive and work with opinions, theories, and notions.

If you possess great conceptual skills as a leader, you will likely be skilled at working with complex ideas and hypothetical situations.

Some significant conceptual skills comprise, creativity, deep strategic thinking, decision-making as well as problem-solving.

Managerial Skills

After describing these three skills for effective leadership in the workplace, Katz further argued that the level of relevance of each set of these skills (human, conceptual, and technical) will depend on the level of authorization that the individual has within the said organization. For instance:

leadership in the workplace

  • Top management will probably need more conceptual skills and less technical skills to have a holistic picture of the organization.
  • Middle management must have a great level of human, conceptual, and technical skills to be equipped to serve the top and supervisory management crew.
  • Supervisory management would require more technical skills to be capable of supporting their followers, rather than conceptual ones.

Conclusively, leaders need to have all three skills but based on their position and authority within the management structure, some skills are more suitable than others.

How to demonstrate effective Leadership skills in the workplace

Leadership skills are simply the skills that you apply to oversee co-workers toward positive results, of course with workplace objectives.

Whether you are managing a company or a project, one thing remains. Your leadership skills can motivate others to attain their shared goals. Some of the most common effective leadership skills in the workplace include:

Appraise your traits and abilities

  • To be an effective leader, you must take out time to assess your flaws, strengths, and personality.
  • Learn to assess the right qualities for organizational success in the present and future contexts of your company.
  • It is quite easy to spot a leader who is not conscious of his/her presence at the workplace.
  • To earn the full respect and cooperation of your subordinates, you must be sure to completely engage with them by learning the most efficient ways to relate.
  • You might have different leadership styles, but these are personal skills that you should develop to become an effective leader overall.

Communicate clearly

Once you assume a leadership role, clarity and confidence become crucial. Whether you are assigning responsibilities, exchanging opinions, or proclaiming results, ensure that you convey your message as accurately as possible.

Nonverbal communication can further assist. Utilize body language, eye contact as well as hand gestures to highlight important statements and give your message a higher impact.

Also, endeavor to listen and learn (you are more liable to earn the respect of others when you can listen and learn from them.)

An essential part of this will involve hearkening closely to those around you.

Ensure to remain open to others’ ideas while learning from their approaches.

Make sure to consider every idea before making crucial decisions.

Provide your best service

An effective leader will continually explore ways to better his/her skills and expand his/her experience.

You may want to show-off your ever-increasing potential to expand with this approach.

Struggling to offer your best in every circumstance further enables you to designate your strong work ethic and your center on excellence.

This will also help you expand your influence to people who have not experienced your helping hand. Try to take time for employees to get familiar with your helpfulness, regardless of their job title.

Accept accountability

Accepting responsibility for both mistakes and successful results is a strong indication of effective leadership in the workplace.

To showcase your leadership skills, be responsible for your participation, even with poor results.

Distinguish the systems or strategies that could need improvement and allocate time to revise them.

By showing that you can accept praise and blame, you are equally demonstrating maturity/confidence as a leader.

Be a great example to maintain a great culture

When you positively approach work and accept projects proactively, you directly motivate others to follow the trend.

By being a great example in the workplace, you can more readily lead colleagues toward a prosperous outcome. This is a leadership quality that is also important to maintain a great culture.

As a leader, always aspire to be a role model whether or not you have an audience. This way, you unconsciously increase your performance continuously and will be a better fit to lead when necessary.

In challenging situations, it’s up to you to create a positive impact

The future of every great organization lies in great leadership. In this article, you’ve learned different conceptual models to leadership that can help your corporate leaders figure out how to be effective leaders.

With the proper approach to effective leadership in the workplace, you can strengthen your ability to lead in just any role or organization. You may also want to get expert guidance or on how to efficiently learn and or implement these leadership skills to better improve suite your organization or business.