Discussion Questions and Exercises

  1. What is the skills approach? What are the three basic personal skills that Katz outlines? Define and describe each of these skills.
  2. How might group size affect the relative importance of each of the three skills in Katz’ model?
  3. When the skills model was developed, what were Mumford and the other researchers trying to explain? This model delineated components of effective leader performance. List the three competencies, define and describe each.
  4. Within the Mumford Skills model are Individual Attributes and Leadership Outcomes. Describe and define them and their components.
  5. Complete Case 3.1 (or 3.2 or 3.3) and answer all questions.
  6. Rate yourself on the Skills Inventory. What are your leadership competencies? Do your scores suggest that one or two of the skills are stronger? Do you agree with this assessment? Give a personal example to support this. How might you expect your results to change 5 years from now?
  7. How do the problem-solving skills of leaders and managers differ?
  8. Are social judgment skills the same as emotional intelligence?
  9. How does the skills approach fit with the processual nature of leadership? Influence? Group context of leadership? Goal attainment?
  10. The Mumford Skills Model was based on studies of more than 1,800 Army officers. How might leadership in the army be similar to/different from leadership in business, the arts, collegiate sports, or scientific research?
  11. Why is social performance an important competency for leaders?
  12. How would leadership skills (technical, human, and conceptual) be used and expressed in an online environment?
  13. What are some examples of situations in which a leader must demonstrate behavioral flexibility?
  14. In pairs, think of an unusual or ill-defined organizational problem. Which of the nine key problem-solving skills are most important to solve this problem?
  15. Which of the nine key problem-solving skills are most important for the career you are in or planning to enter?
  16. Distinguish between idea evaluation and wisdom in the list of nine problem-solving skills of leaders.