Have you ever met someone who understands everything you say? Meaning they have never discussed that subject with you before and yet, they get you. What about people who can provide sound and innovative solutions to problems they have never considered before? Such people are not exactly rare, but it is clear that they have something that others do not have—conceptual skills.
If you are one of these people, you need to consolidate your skills and keep applying them to real-world problems. If you are not one of them, then you are one of those who don’t see the big picture easily. Sometimes, you may not understand an issue until it hits you in the face. If you belong to this second category, this article is for you.
In this article, we present the conceptual skills definition and fit it into the context of management. We expect that once you are done reading the article, you will be able to develop and cultivate conceptual skills in management. You will also be able to give a satisfying answer to the question of what are conceptual skills. Furthermore, you will be qualified to give conceptual skills examples to other people.
First, let us start with definitions of conceptual skills.
What are Conceptual Skills?
Conceptual skills are, first of all, skills of the mind. It is a mental position that allows the possessor to have a broad view of things. It is also how the most talented leaders in history were able to attract followers.
Another way to think of conceptual skills is that they are mental abilities for solving problems. When we define it this way, we are saying that whoever has conceptual skills can crack difficult issues. They may not be as lightning fast as Sherlock Holmes, but they are just as efficient once they try.
Conceptual skills afford an individual the capacity to see obstacles from different angles. This is where the idea of extensiveness comes into the picture. Someone with conceptual skills can see the drivers and dynamics of a problem. They can also make informed and accurate speculations about possible solutions to problems. So, having conceptual skills is not only about being able to solve problems. It is also about being able to appraise alternatives.
For a progressive leader, conceptual skills are a must-have. A leader without conceptual skills is just some fellow who got to the venue first. They will not be able to lead other people successfully because their vision is limited. In other words, conceptual skills beget imagination which begets vision. And vision is certainly one of the leading trademarks of effective leadership.
One of the quirks about having conceptual skills is the relative ease with which you can learn and do things. The complex becomes simple and simple becomes a web of even simpler options. You can develop useful strategies after spending some time thinking. You can think things over without making assumptions about everything.
In short, conceptual skills are the most basic characteristics of world changers. Whether they be in business, academics, or some other industry, these people win. Because their methods are derivatives of honed conceptual skills, they are different in a remarkable kind of way.
Conceptual Skills Examples
We have given quite a broad range of definitions about what conceptual skills are. We have also highlighted some of the characteristics of individuals who possess these skills. Let us zoom in a bit more with examples.
Your luxury fashion brand company is facing a minor crisis. Sales have dropped in Asia due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The management has tasked you, the sales rep in Hong Kong, with finding out why sales are dropping. They know that it is the COVID pandemic, but they want specifics about the significant drop in customer patronage.
There are several options available to you:
1. You can make a trip to the company headquarters in Beijing and start investigations.
2. You can get on a phone call with the regional executive in Beijing and delegate tasks.
While considering the first option, having conceptual skills will let you know that it is wasteful and not very strategic. You are likely ignorant of the company’s operations in Beijing, so what are you hoping to gain? Thus, with conceptual skills, you will be reminded of other people who are better qualified than you to handle some tasks. Then, you can simply share the burden and save time.
That example quite simple, so here is a more complex one. Say that you are the manager of Chanel and the lockdown protocol just started. You have been forbidden from advertising your luxury fashion products on social media channels. However, you have to make roughly the same revenue as luxury fashion brands that sell online.
If you have conceptual skills, you will approach this problem with a mind to implementing other digital marketing strategies. You could increase the price of your goods and sell to a few but very wealthy people. That is what Chanel did during COVID times. This is what it means to have conceptual skills, taking time to think about decisions and courses of action.
Different Types of Conceptual Skills
From the examples we have, you should realize now that conceptual skills are not just one-dimensional. Instead, there are different types of these skills. Let’s look at a few of these types.
Analytical skills are possibly the most definitive types of conceptual skills. People with these skills stand out because of how brilliant they are. They can organize information in their heads and present it confidently and outstandingly. Faced with difficulties, having analytical skills could mean the difference between action and hesitation.
In business and resource management, analytical skills are very useful to have. These skills are the primary determinants for identifying patterns in situations. They are key to getting insights from available data and making smart decisions for personal and corporate growth.
Creativity is another ‘common’ conceptual skill. This particular skill is likely the most celebrated since it is difficult to train. You can learn how to analyze data, people, and situations, but becoming creative is an exercise in patience. That’s why there is a misconception that creative people are only born, they are never made.
Of course, this is simply not true. Creativity is simply the ability to identify gaps and quickly think up multiple ways to fill them. With a creative leader, followers are seldom bored because something is always churning in the leader’s mind.
Communication skills are likely the most underrated conceptual skills in the modern world. We have grown accustomed to short-hand writing and emoticons. Nevertheless, even the most laid-back of us get fed up with disorderly directives. Similarly, when we see someone with eloquent and persuasive skills, we enjoy seeing and hearing them.
So, communicative skills have an appeal. Even more, these skills are not passive. They are collaboration skills. Some of the greatest leaders had this skill. Do you know someone who can diffuse tense situations with their words and actions? That is someone with communicative skills.
In short, communication skills are indispensable. This is the skill to groom if you want to be unstoppable in your organization with verbal communication.
Leadership skills are umbrella conceptual skills. These skills correspond with every other characteristic of the individual, from their preferences to their passions. Leadership skills are effective in that they tend to overshadow every other skill. As such, smart people are generally interested in grooming leadership skills.
In management, leadership skills are likely the most important. A creative person with an analytical mind and strong communicative skills will only shake the world when they have
leadership skills. This is how important leadership skills are.
Technical skills are the easiest to cultivate. In today’s world, these skills are highly sought-after. In any organization, individuals with these skills play the role of the engine. Leadership skills can steer the company, but only technical skills can truly drive it.
Technical skills are no longer synonymous with computer literacy. Today, there are multiple options for technical skills. The most common method of categorizing them is the hard vs soft skills duality. So, you could develop soft technical skills in marketing or hard technical skills in programming/web development.
Who Needs Conceptual Skills?
Simply put, everybody needs conceptual skills. These skills are not supposed to be developed and then set aside. Conceptual skills are problem-solving skills. They are skills that stand you out and get you on a campaign to take over your industry.
Granted, having conceptual skills does not immediately raise you to the level of a king. But if you are wondering what skills to put in a resume, you should try conceptual skills.
What is the Main Difference Between Someone with Conceptual Skills and Someone Without these Skills?
There are many differences between someone with conceptual skills and someone without these skills. However, the primary difference is that someone with conceptual skills is always relevant to the organization. In other words, such people are never taken for granted. In the eyes of colleagues and superiors, these people never lose their worth.
It is not the same for people without conceptual skills. These people are considered to be floaters. They may be relevant today, but who knows about tomorrow? This is the dominant perception that many people have about people without conceptual skills.
Think for a moment. Would you employ someone who can see the big picture immediately when you lay out your plans? Or would you rather have someone you would spend a few hours drilling the same ideas into their heads?
So, yes, continued relevance is the main difference between someone with conceptual skills and someone without.
How to Develop Your Conceptual Skills
We have already established that no conceptual skill is inborn. On the contrary, every conceptual skill can be trained, developed, and perfected. This goes for even the skills we did not list in this article.
So, how does one go about developing conceptual skills?
- Study: Learning more about conceptual skills is the best way to develop them. This is not limited to technical skills alone, but even creativity and effective communication. The more you study these skills, the more you adjust yourself to having them.
- Interact with more productive people who have conceptual skills: Interacting with people who have conceptual skills is another effective way to develop the same skills. This is how many public speakers became eloquent and persuasive.
- Take up leadership roles when the option is available: Leadership is a great way to squeeze out our potential. When you are a leader, you get more opportunities to focus your energy and resources. You also pay attention to the smallest detail. These are conceptual skills already.
- Don’t rush into any decision or action: A calm head is one of the easiest indicators of someone who has conceptual skills. Analytical skills are also defining attributes of conceptual skills. So, taking time to consider things before acting is a great way to nurture conceptual skills.
How to List Your Conceptual Skills on Your Resume
Adding your conceptual skills to your resume is the simplest thing. All you have to do is make a list of the things you are good at. Then highlight those that can be used consistently to solve problems. That’s all.
So, when you are adding these skills to your resume, make sure to put them at the top. This is what many interviewers are interested in seeing before anything else.
Standing out among peers these days is not an easy feat. In the place of work, there is bound to be competition. Yet, it takes having something as progressive as conceptual skills before anyone will take you seriously.