Are technical skills or leadership qualities more important?

In today’s digital landscape both technical skills and leadership play an important role. We are seeing that technical skills are becoming and more important as almost everything has some kind of digital component that requires a new set of skills. However there is also the decline in communication and potential opportunities to demonstrate leadership that these leadership qualities may be becoming more important as a result.

There is definitely an argument to say that if you do not have the technical skills how are you to lead? But I would say that the reverse can also be asked because without the leadership skills what good is it having the technical skills?

There is also much debate as to the educational aspect of each of these factors. Many would say that it is easy to learn the required technical skills for any job but leadership cannot be learnt or, at least, are far more difficult to learn. It may be true that the technical skills can be learnt and arguably there are far more opportunities for them to be learnt with training courses and the willingness for business to train their employees in these areas also. However, leadership can also be learnt through reading and application much like these technical skills.

The situation is likely to play a large role in the weighting placed on each of these factors but it would be naïve to say that one mattered more than the other. Leadership skills are extremely important, even for those not in a leadership position. Leadership fosters a positive environment that is determined to learn and achieve greater things. Leaders empower those around them to achieve more and develop their own skills so that they are able to out their best foot forward.

Having the technical skills to accompany this will ensure a path of continued growth learning with others along the way. The technical skills are necessary to complete tasks and find empathy is the challenges faced by everyone within the team. The technical skills provide the foundation for the work to be completed but no work will be completed without the presence of a leader.

Yes, no one can quantitatively examine a person’s leadership ability and that is why technical skills are so important. However, leadership skills are required for growth and development both as an individual and for the business so that new ideas and progressions can be taken head on and implemented. Technical skills foster the ability to lead the team efficiently whilst leadership skills enable sophisticated development of technical ability.