Has Leadership Killed Your Tangible Skills?

Ancient skills cartoonHave you ever known someone who was so far up the career ladder, but absolutely useless when it came to doing daily tasks?

I sure have.

If you’re one of those people, I suggest you do something about it because it does nothing for team morale. No one likes a supervisor who can only think of ideas and bark orders without some type of skill to back it up.

But it’s not like these types of bosses weren’t competent at some time.

They had skills to obtain their past positions and move up the ranks. However, somewhere along the way, these go-getters reached the point where they were doing more “telling” than “doing.”

That’s not necessarily a problem. Besides, it’s a manager’s job to delegate tasks and make sure things are done properly and efficiently.

The problem lies in the lack of keeping those skills sharp, or worse—not learning newer skills as the time evolves.

I’m not even talking about complex skills; leave those to the experts you trusted and hired, but there’s no excuse to throw basic computer and internet skills to the wayside—all in the name of leadership.

You’d be surprised how many people in leadership don’t know how to make a PowerPoint, or a spreadsheet, or upload something to an online drive.

Yes, you have people on your team to do that for you, but you don’t want to be completely stuck if any of those people become unavailable. Plus, if you ever have to look for another job (yes… leaders are susceptible to that too), you don’t want your lack of basic skills to keep you from getting hired.

Keep the tangible skills that you learned fresh by not always asking others to do it for you. Look over the software proficiencies you listed in your past resumes and make sure you still know how to do them.

You can’t be so high up in the organization that you don’t know how to do any work on your own, but you don’t want to be so deep in the trenches that you’re not stepping back and looking at the whole picture. It’s quite the balancing act, but no one ever said leadership was easy.

Hope Boyd
Written by:
Hope Boyd
Director of Communications, Strategic Government Resources
governmentresource.com

3 responses

  1. Reblogged this on Brass Bugles and commented:
    This topic is one of the most overlooked in our profession…

  2. This is such an accurate view! It almost seems like when we move into leadership, we leave behind the skills that placed us into leadership. Even if it is no more than being able to carry on an intelligent conversation, your employees would appreciate you making the effort. They don’t expect you to know some of the details like them, but they do expect you to understand what they are trying to convey.

    As an offshoot, I once met with a leadership team about their succession plan. They told all of the great things they had in place if something happened to certain members of their leadership team. I then confronted them about their key employees. You know the ones with “stuff” in their head and no where on paper. There were no contingencies for those employees because they were not looked upon as leadership.

    Once suggestion was that leaders be trained as backups for them for emergencies! It this day and age of lean staffs, it becomes even more important for leadership to retain some tangible skills.

    1. Very true, Charles. Leaders can’t be above doing actual work!

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