A recent article in the Harvard Business Review puts a clear light on the risks of this strategy and the idea of hiring for leadership charisma without serious consideration for technical expertise. Researchers decided to ask the question, "how important to employee engagement is a deep technical understanding of the work?" So - how important is technical competence? Researchers decided to ask these 3 questions:
- Whether the supervisor could, if necessary, do the employee’s job.
- Whether the supervisor worked his or her way up inside the company.
- The supervisor’s level of technical competence as assessed by a worker.
When the dust settled - the data clearly demonstrated that the 'adult supervision' myth was folly. The traditional view that a good leader doesn’t need technical expertise, but rather, a mix of qualities like charisma, organizational skills, and emotional intelligence is simply wrong. Those qualities do matter, but what the research suggests is that the oft-overlooked quality of having technical expertise also matters enormously.