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The Value Of Technical Expertise and Leadership

Dr. Markman, a professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin and founding director of the program in the Human Dimensions of Organizations used data to come to the conclusion that many have suspected; domain expertise is essential in a job, especially if you are a boss. Markman’s assertion is that domain expertise is needed to make effective decisions and problem solve.

Although there are some common prerequisite for leadership which Markman cites as “the ability to motivate self and others, effective oral and written communication, critical thinking skills, problem solving ability, and skills at working with teams and delegating tasks”; he also acknowledges that good decision making comes from experience…thus, “even business is not really a single domain. Leadership in construction, semiconductor fabrication, consulting, and retail sales all require a lot of specific knowledge” because as Markman states “if managers cannot evaluate the information they are getting for themselves, then they cannot lead effectively.”

The significant lesson in Markman’s article is that domain expertise is necessary to be an effective leader…thus taking time to develop knowledge in a specific area is a prerequisite for good leadership.

The HBR article can be found here:

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