Internship

During the first couple weeks at my internship with the National Sheriffs’ Association I have started to get a feel for the office dynamics. I believe that the office dynamics are reflective of Northouse’s Skills Approach. More specifically, I have witnessed the three-skill approach represented in the different hierarchal positions of those in the office. The three-skill approach says that three basic personal skills contribute to effective administration. These skills are technical, human, and conceptual. The balance between these skills varies based on position. Ideally, top management should use equally high amounts of human and conceptual skills and a lower amount of technical skill. Middle management should use equal amounts of technical, human, and conceptual skills. Supervisory management should use equal amounts of technical and human skills, and a lower amount of conceptual skills.

I can see this being applied in the upper management and middle management in the office. The Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director both place an emphasis on human and conceptual skills and less emphasis on technical skills. They both engage with highly important ideas regarding the development of criminal justice and law enforcement, and they are very skilled at restructuring and articulating these ideas. They both have a very clear vision for the organization and its goals. Similarly, they both have very strong human skills. The Deputy Executive Director makes a strong effort daily to engage with his employees and learn from everyone around him. As for technical skills, they do not use them as much on a daily basis. Specifically, when it comes to the government affairs intricacies and legislative concerns they take a back seat while the government affairs department head takes the lead. They focus on big picture ideas.

For people in middle management positions in the office such as the Government Affairs Manager and the Communications Director, I see them using an equal balance of all three skills. As leaders of specialized departments, they are skilled and knowledgeable about their topic areas while also actively taking into consideration the ideas of the organization at large. Both the Government Affairs Director and the Communications Director and collaborate on projects often, and I see them using strong people skills to do so. Overall, they have to rely on all three skills equally due to the nature of their position.

I think that the office functions very similar to the skills approach. Everyone seems to be very aware of their unique roles and how they need to fulfill them. They might not even be aware, but they are utilizing conceptual, human, and technical skills in different proportions.