Interpersonal Skill: The Cornerstone of Good Leadership at any Level.
In every organization there are managers at different levels. Front line managers interact every day with employees; leading teams at the deck plate level. Middle managers oversee the front line managers and report to the top managers who are responsible for the overall direction of a company and its future potential. According to Organizational Behavior by Griffin and Moorhead, each level of management requires technical, interpersonal, conceptual, and diagnostic skill. The interesting part is that each level of management is different thus each requiring more emphasis on one skill over another (Griffin-Moorhead p12). While I agree that excellent technical skill is more important at the front line manager level then that of higher management, I have to disagree with the authors that interpersonal skill is less important as you move up the chain. Furthermore, I believe that this skill is unique in itself and should not be in the same category as the others as outlined in out text. Interpersonal skill is the ability to “communicate with, understand, and motivate individuals” and in my opinion is tremendously important if one wants to embrace organizational behavior at any level (Griffin-Moorhead P10). While Conceptual, Diagnostic and technical skill requirements fluctuate at different levels, I believe that interpersonal skill remains consistently important at each level of management. Using Frank Blake, CEO of Home Depot as an example, he demonstrates how interpersonal skill is equally important at the top executive management level and proves that it is a leadership cornerstone of any great manager.
The definition of management is “the ability to get things done through people” (Hill-McShane p4). This may be what management is however, how well one achieves this and the effectiveness of the process he or she uses to get there, dictates how good of a manager they are. If interpersonal skill is the “ability to communicate with, understand, and motivate [people]” then how can it be less important for senior executives (Griffin-Moorhead p10)? Interpersonal skill should not be compartmentalized with the other managerial skills. Its importance should not fluctuate, it is equally important at all levels. Great senior leaders inspire, they are trusted, and most of all employees at all levels can relate to and understand them.
There are few who embrace this concept and embody the idea that “People represent the essence of an organization regardless of the size of the organization or the technology it uses” more then Frank Blake, the CEO of Home Depot. Chosen as one of 2008’s best managers by Business Week Magazine, Mr. Blake is an experienced manager who through outstanding interpersonal skill, uses his best and most effect resource; his people. The former Deputy Secretary for the United States Department of Energy, Mr. Blake has been around. As a top executive of General...