Do you consider what’s going on around you — in your unit, company, industry, and wider business environment? Do you look for opportunities that might give your organization better results in the future? Your answers can help you to find out if you have the skills and traits of a strategic thinker.
Suppose you work at a financial institution that’s trying to increase its revenue margins so that it can open a new office. A senior manager suggests cutting overtime to reduce operational costs. But you know that if you cut overtime, you’ll be understaffed at peak business times.
Managers face a whole variety of problems — anything from product delivery issues to competitive threats to long call wait times in the customer support department.
You don’t find the right solutions by making quick decisions to change day-to-day processes, plans, or procedures. Managers have a much broader responsibility to think strategically when dealing with problems.
A key characteristic of strategic thinking is its focus on vision. An organization’s vision is defined by its leadership and sets out what its goals and objectives are. …
Any good manager knows that when employees are highly motivated, their performance can improve significantly. They push themselves to perform at their best and strive to accomplish more. So as a manager, an important aspect of your job is to motivate the people you manage.
Often, technical professionals work long hours on tasks that require intense concentration. Sustaining this effort depends a lot on motivation. But what typically motivates technical professionals?
As a technical manager, you need to determine what motivates your team members if you’re to succeed in inspiring them to perform at their best.
What typically motivates technical…
To be an effective manager, you have to be able to engage with and motivate the employees who work for you. But before this can happen, your employees have to trust you. And it can sometimes be difficult to earn this trust.
A manager may struggle to attain credibility and trust among technical professionals for various reasons:
When technical professionals do trust their managers and…
As a manager of technical professionals, you’ll be dealing with many challenges relating to the way you interact with your staff. While previously you have been concerned with getting the job done, you might now in be a position in which you must provide leadership.
Sometimes this involves getting highly intelligent and creative people to do their work within the confines of business realities, such as budgets, time frames, and company standards — even when they disagree with these.
The Radio Corporation of America, or RCA, provides an example of this kind of situation and what can happen if it’s…
Transitioning into the role of managing technical professionals means your relationship with individuals who were previously your peers will change. As you transition into the role and develop new relationships with them, you’ll need to think about how you’ll lead these individuals and others who join your team. In other words, you need to choose a leadership style.
To achieve goals as a manager, you need to use a leadership style suited to your circumstances.
You may think it’s best to stick to one leadership style so you’re consistent and so employees know what to expect from you. However, a…
When you move from being a technical professional to being a manager, you’re likely to face several challenges — especially when it comes to dealing with your former peers. Not handling this situation well can cause tension within the team and lead to an unproductive work environment.
Cody is an ambitious programmer at a telecommunications software company. He’s outgoing and gets along well with his teammates.
When the team leader leaves, Cody is promoted to the position. This raises issues among some of Cody’s former peers, whom Cody now manages.
See each of the team members to learn about their…
The coach of a sports team has the same main objective as each player — to achieve victory for the team. But the coach has to adopt a different perspective and use skills quite different than those of the players. Similarly, if you’re transitioning into a management role from a technical professional role, you need to think about developing competencies other than those that helped you succeed in your old role.
As you transition into your new role as manager, it’s especially important to develop and strengthen competencies in four areas:
As a technical professional, you have specific strengths that have helped you succeed. You probably also have some weaknesses that have hindered your work.
As you move into a management role, it’s important to assess your strengths and weaknesses so that you can consider how they’ll affect your performance as a manager.
Assessing your strengths and weaknesses can have two main benefits:
The transition from technical professional to manager involves a career change — and this can be disruptive and challenging. Your focus shifts from the factual world of systems and processes to one of budgets, people, and politics. Even if you’re highly skilled in your field, you’ll need different skills to be a good manager — so preparation is essential.
To prepare for your move into management, you should consider taking these four steps:
A consultant, trainer and author specialized in management, corrections and industrial relations