If you are working as a change agent you need to have certain skills to be able to determine the best path toward change. Katz (1974) categorizes all of these skills into the three-skills approach. From this perspective, leadership is a skill that is developed.

Leadership Needed for Change

During my coaching years I’ve learned that many organizations are lacking in leadership. By leadership, I don’t mean the formal leader position that usually is considered the boss. Instead I mean that everybody within an organization can be a leader. But the possibility for organizational change is also affected by whether the organization allows for informal leadership. Do they allow individuals that don’t have the mandate to be leaders to step into their personal leadership in order to contribute to the organization? Many organizations are lacking in common vision and goals.


Organizations can benefit from coaching their employees.  Coaching becomes a tool to bring out the hidden informal leaders so they can start to contribute and impact the organization in a whole new way. However, as we will see, there might also be organizations that do not want informal leadership to happen.

Depending on what kind of change we want to create, further planning may be needed in order to bring about that change. In order to learn more about this, let’s explore the three skill sets that Katz describes.

They are:

Conceptual Skills –  Thee ability to see the organization as a whole and view how different functions of the organization are interdependent.

Technical Skills – Specialized knowledge, an analytical ability of see that there are tools, techniques and models that are available.

Human Skills – The ability to work as a group and create co-operation and team building, development of leadership.

While the first two are related to theories and models, the human skill set is related to people. Senge (1990) argues that in order to create change, you need to create organizational learning.  Organizational learning happens when people start to change and the process of personal development is available to the individual. Organizations consist of people, so in order to change, the change needs to start with the people.  Change is impacted by their capacity to step into leadership and the relationships within the organization.

In my three next blog posts, I’m going to explore these three different skills further.


Katz, R. L. (1974) ‘‘Skills of an effective administrator.’’ in Harvard Business
Review, September/October, 90–102.

Senge, P (1990) The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, Doubleday/Currency

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