I received an email today from a masters’ degree student in Cambodia asking about a specific managerial issue. His email inspired me to write this post. He was asking about the kind of managerial skill that is need in crisis situations in particular and whether it is technical, conceptual or human. Below I am writing my exact answer to his question
I always believe that the combination of all three creates the best manager. A successful manager has to know all about processes and working techniques (technical) and combine it with the best ways to deal with people and get the best out of them (human) and to be good at brainstorming and formulating ideas (conceptual).
It also depends on the level of management, the higher the level of management the less significant the technical skills become and the more significant the conceptual and human skills become.
If we are focusing on crisis situations in particular then the combination of both Conceptual and Human is important. In crisis a manager has to be quick in coming up with ideas and alternatives. He has to be able to weigh different alternatives conceptually and come up with the best solution. He has to be able to predict what is coming and be ready for it before it happens. All this dictates having conceptual skills. Also from the other side, in time of crisis, a manager has to be able to get the best out of his people. He has to be able to make them relax and not panic to be able to work. He has to remove the stress and tension from the office environment. He has to be able to come with the best team to resolve the issues at hand. He has to be able to know the strength and weakness of each member of his team and utilize each one to his maximum ability. He has to motivate the team and create a productive spirit. He has to make his team feel that he is part of the team and together they will get out of the situation in hand, not make them feel that they only have the burden of dealing with the crisis. All this makes it necessary that the manager has great Human skills.
So, I believe that in time of crisis, a manager should have a balanced mix of both Conceptual and Human skills.
I could safely also say also that it is acceptable that the manager be more talented in Human skills than conceptual skills. If he is good in dealing with people, he will be able to make them help him on the conceptual side. He could make them brainstorm with him and come up with ideas to resolve the issues at hand (But to an extent of course). This is why I said a balanced mix of both.