The Importance of Human Skills Essay

Introduction, the examples illustrating the significance of human skills, theoretical aspects of human skills, reference list.

Human or interpersonal skills are believed to be essential for every effective manager or leader. This component has been discussed by many scholars and researchers. This paper will illustrate the importance of human skills by discussing the examples of successful leaders and managers such as Charlie Bell. In part, this discussion will be based on the ideas of Robert Katz (1955) who identified and examined the attributes of good administrator and executives.

It is also necessary to compare his views with more modern theories of leadership and management. This analysis will enable us to better see the role of human skills in everyday management. Moreover, this discussion will also identify some of important and unresolved questions related to the development of interpersonal competencies of those people who want to make a managerial career.

There are several cases which can demonstrate the significance of interpersonal skills. One of such examples is Charlie Bell, the former CEO of McDonald’s Corporation. He began to work in this company at the age of 15 as a regular employee.

In later years, he made a brilliant career in this organization ultimately becoming the chief executive officer of this international corporation. In part, his successes can be explained by the fact that he always worked on his managerial skills. For example, his attentiveness toward employees and excellent memory for faces earned him support of many people in McDonald’s (Robbins et al 2009, p. 16).

It should be borne in mind that in the course of his career Charlie Bell worked in a variety of different teams and he always managed to cooperate effectively with every member of the staff (Boje 2008, p. 136). These qualities enabled him to revitalize this corporation and increase its market share. On the whole, Charlie Bell’s successes can attributed to perseverance, willingness to work in a team, and ability to pass his enthusiasm on other people. His example substantiates many theories of leadership and management.

For instance, one remember Katz’s model [1] of managerial qualities, and particularly his idea that human skills are vital for business administrators.

The case of Charlie Bell is worth attention because it shows that human skills are important for people who work at different levels of managerial hierarchy. He began to work in McDonalds as a crew member and he occupied virtually every position that exists in this corporation (Boje 2008, p. 136). During every stage of his career he was known as a reliable team player, excellent communicator, and motivator.

It is possible to cite other cases which prove that excellent human skills are among the attributes of a highly effective manager. Once can certainly mention Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric. Despite the fact that he has often been criticized for his brutality and extremely high performance standards standards, Jack Welch is more famous for his openness to the employees, ability to motivate every member of the staff, and attentiveness to the opinions of his colleagues (Rowe & Guerrero 2010, p. 217).

In fact, these skills are one of the reasons why General Electric improved organizational structure, production, and subsequently financial performance. Finally, we should definitely speak about Anne Malcuhy, the president of Xerox who saved this company from bankruptcy (Hamilton 2010, p. 296). Among her human or interpersonal competencies, one can surely distinguish great listening skills and motivational ability (Hamilton 2010, p. 296).

First, they helped her understand why this company was facing significantly problems. But more importantly, she was able to convince the investors and employees that this corporation could survive the time of crisis. Her achievement might not be possible without great human skills.

Thus, we have discussed three very successful administrators and leaders. They may have various educational backgrounds, spheres of interests, personality traits, and so forth. Nonetheless, they share some common attribute, namely the ability to communicate with and influence other people.

This is the significant component of human skills. Overall, this element of managerial efficiency has been of considerable interest to many scholars and researchers. One of the most important works written in this area is the article Skills of an Effective Administrator by Robert Katz.

This scholar defines human skill as the manager’s ability “to work effectively as a group member and build cooperative effort within the team” (1955, p. 34). According to the author, a good administrator must be able to understand the needs of the employees in order to better motivate them. Moreover, this person must be very attentive to what his/her colleagues are saying and why (Katz 1955, p. 35).

These qualities are essential for every person who is willing to gain the support of co-workers, business partners, clients, contractors, and so forth. It is important to people, who work at various levels of management (Katz 1955). These people can be the main executive officers in a company or frontline managers.

Thus, Katz’s interpretation of human skills is mostly related to such areas as motivation, emotional intelligence, and willingness to involve the subordinates into decision-making. Although modern scholars may disagree with Katz’s classification of managerial competencies [2] , many scholars admit that human skills are really indispensible for every business administrator.

At the given moment, there are numerous frameworks which strive to describe, classify, and analyze the main strengths of a successful manager. For instance, one can mention Trait Theory, the Hersey-Blanchard Model of Leadership, or Transactional Theory. Some of them pay attention primarily on the personal characteristics and traits of a business administrator, while others emphasize the functions that this professional has to perform.

Yet, each of these theoretical approaches attaches great importance to various interpersonal skills such as delegation of tasks, motivation, listening skills, emotional intelligence, or ability to establish rapport with colleagues (Manjunath & Nagendra 2009). Thus, one can say that existing theoretical approaches to management support the ideas of Robert Katz. Nonetheless, this discussion of leadership theories also shows that it may be difficult to identify every interpersonal skill that a manager should possess.

The researchers, who currently investigate the changing role of management, argue that human skills have become much more important nowadays than they were several decades ago (Mackenzie 2010, p. 529). The thing is that modern companies operate in globalized markets which are driven information technologies.

Modern managers have to work with the employers, clients, contractors, or investors who represent different cultures. Moreover, in many cases, they cannot communicate face-to-face (Mackenzie, 2010, p. 529). These changes in the workplace suggest that a modern business administrator has to have considerable human skills; otherwise they will not be able to compete in the labor market.

The main issue which is still to be solved is how to measure and evaluate human skills of a person. In his article, Robert Katz admits that the assessment of interpersonal skills is likely to be very subjective (1955, p. 41). This question is particularly relevant to those professionals who recruit managers or promote them.

Without an objective evaluation method they can hardly cope with this task. Apart from that, currently the educators and scholars attempt to create methods and techniques of improving and developing interpersonal skills of future business administrators. This task has yet to be fully accomplished.

This discussion indicates that a person can achieve success as a manager, leader, or administrator, only if he/she has well-developed interpersonal skills. The theory introduced by Robert Katz strives to explain the core competencies of a good executive. Despite the fact that the author’s classification of managerial skills can be disputed, however, his views on human skills are still valid. The existing theoretical frameworks emphasize the importance of these qualities.

Moreover, the process of globalization and increasing adoption of online technologies only increase the importance of human skills. Yet, there are several issues which still need to be addressed. First, the researchers must find ways of identifying various human skills and their applications in the workplace. Secondly, one has to develop techniques of evaluating this managerial competency.

Boje, D. (2008). Storytelling organizations . London: SAGE Publications.

Hamilton, C. (2010). Communicating for Results: A Guide for Business and the Professions. NY: Cengage Learning.

Katz, R. L. (1955). Skills of an Effective Administrator. Harvard Business Review , 33 (1), 33-42.

Mackenzie, M. L. (2010). Manager communication and workplace trust:

Understanding manager and employee perceptions in the e-world. International Journal Of Information Management, 30 (6), 529-541.

Manjunath, V. & Nagendra, S. (2009). Entrepreneurship & Management . Delhi: Pearson Education.

Robbins, S., Bergman, R., Stagg, I., & Coulter, M. (2009). Management (9 th ed.) . NY: Prentice Hall.

Rowe, W. & Guerrero, L. (2010). Cases in Leadership . NY: SAGE.

  • In the next section, the ideas of Robert Katz will be discussed in more detail.
  • Robert Katz divides managerial competences into three groups: 1) technical skills; 2) human skills, and 3) human skills.
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2019, November 26). The Importance of Human Skills.

"The Importance of Human Skills." IvyPanda , 26 Nov. 2019,

IvyPanda . (2019) 'The Importance of Human Skills'. 26 November.

IvyPanda . 2019. "The Importance of Human Skills." November 26, 2019.

1. IvyPanda . "The Importance of Human Skills." November 26, 2019.


IvyPanda . "The Importance of Human Skills." November 26, 2019.

  • "Towards a More Effective Enterprise" by Robert Katz
  • Katz Motel's SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis
  • "Toward a More Effective Enterprise" by R. Katz
  • Theory of Attitudes by Katz: Theoretical Framework
  • Katz v. United States and Terry v. Ohio
  • "Breaking the Yemen-Al Qaeda Connection" by Katz
  • Charlie Bucket as a Model Child in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”
  • PTSD in Charlie of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
  • Male Behaviour in the Article “How Boys Become Men" by Jon Katz
  • The "Drawbridge" Exercise by Judith H. Katz
  • Emerging Leadership Theories
  • The Whole-Person Approach of Leadership
  • Concepts and Styles of the Leadership
  • Leadership Models and Theories: Management Process in Organization
  • Situational Leadership Style


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