If you want to be at the top of your game technical skills are merely a starting point says this man

Things have changed

The world keeps moving; things keep changing, and the corporate world is no exception.

The skill set that once might have taken you to the top of your organisation is not necessarily the same one nowadays, according to the latest research.

The article Talent; Why Chief Human Resources officers make great CEOs published by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) illustrates this trend by showcasing some very influential views and research on the topic.

The article reads: Peter Goerke, the London-based director for HR at Prudential, agrees that although deep skills in marketing or finance might once have given CEO aspirants a significant competitive advantage, today a broader set of people-focused skills can be more useful.

That being said, it is of outmost importance to be able to manage an organisation’s number one asset: Its people.

But what about technical skills? Do they matter anymore these days? Do you just forget about them? Of course not.

“Succession to a CEO role requires a balance of technical and people skills” says Goerke. (HBR 2015)

The point here is that once you get to the top of your organisation or department, you will not be ‘doing’ the technical work but managing the people who are doing the technical work. This means you still need to know how the technical part is done, but you also need to be able to ensure that whoever is doing it is getting results.

Where do you start?

When managing people, it all comes down to communication and how adaptable you can be when dealing with them. This includes not only communicating clearly yourself but also drawing out of others the relevant information and questions they have to contribute.

To paraphrase Ashby’s law of requisite variety, in any interaction, the element in the system with greater flexibility of behaviour tends to have more control over the outcome of the interaction. Or, to put it another way, if you are embarrassed by a two-year-old’s tantrum in public, the child wins.

The necessary flexibility can come to you as a result of your capacity to apply your technical skills and your ‘softer’ skills together when managing people.

As the article published by HBR emphasises:

For all C-suite roles, and often at least one level down, there has been a gradual shift in requirements towards business acumen and ‘softer’ leadership skills. Technical skills are merely a starting point.

Now it’s your turn! take your next step towards Exceptional Effectiveness. You now have a new way in which to learn new skills that will take your game to the next level.

Edited by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer at INSPIRITIVE.

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