Overview of Management
|Introduction to Management
- While a technologist does things through him/herself, a manager or
supervisor gets things done with and through others. Even though it may
seem like an intuitive, small step to go from practicing technology to
practicing management, in reality, moving to management can be a
- For example, as a manager, you would not normally do any of the
technical work on a project unless your team is very small and you
have to help. This means that if you have to do some or all
of the work assigned to your team, you have probably failed as a
- As a manager you will have many duties and responsibilities, but the most important thing that you
can do is to help your team to be able to do the work assigned to
them; i.e., you are there to be sure your team can get the
- Because you will have many duties as a manager, the next most
important thing you can do is to keep yourself from becoming
overstressed, over constrained, and overtaxed; i.e., becoming
frazzled and going crazy. There is nothing worse than having
to react to the day's activities rather than being able to plan
ahead and keep things running smoothly both for your team and for
- Managers operate at different levels and perform sequences of coordinated activities, such as
planning, organizing, directing, controlling, budgeting, monitoring
progress, obtaining continuous feedback, evaluating options and making
decisions, evaluating risk, taking risks, guiding, hiring, firing, coaching,
mentoring, leading, motivating, praising, criticizing constructively,
communicating, appraising performance, resolving but not preventing
conflict, balancing internal and external pressures (expectations for
performance of him/herself, family, culture, education, government,
competitors, peers, team members), keeping up with technology and
needed job training, and handling organizational power and politics.
- First-level managers or supervisors directly manage those doing
technical work. They make operational and technical
decisions, and may perform some
of the technical work.
- Middle-level managers may be responsible for a specific
function, such as engineering, data and information systems,
research and development, and sales. They translate plans and policies from top management into
departmental and functional goals, and coordinate activities among
organizational units and divisions.
- Upper-level managers or executives, such as chief executive
officers, presidents, vice-presidents, and general managers, are
responsible for the overall management and direction of an
organization. They spend more time on planning, policy making, and goal
- From John B. Miner, The Challenge of Managing,
Philadelphia: Saunders, 1975, pp. 330-331.
- Managers may fail due to the following causes:
- High Likelihood
- Intelligence and Job Knowledge - insufficient verbal
ability, insufficient job knowledge, and judgment or
- Motivational - fear of failure, dominance, need for
- Family - crises
- Team - ineffective management, inappropriate managerial
- Company Policies - insufficient organizational action,
placement error, over permissiveness, excessive spans of
control, inappropriate organizational standards
- Work Context and Job - negative consequences of economic
forces and geographic location
- Low Likelihood
- Emotional - anxiety, depression, guilt, anger, jealousy,
psychosis, alcohol and drug addiction
- Physical - illness, handicap
- Rare Likelihood
- Motivational - low personal work standards and
- Society - legal sanctions, societal values, job and
cultural values conflict
- Factors affecting management success
- Willingness to
- learn how to manage and lead
- get along with others
- manage change
- share recognition
- take action
- learn from failure and rebound
- allow healthy conflict so bad decisions are avoided
- raise job satisfaction among team members
- For example: from Howard Wolff, "How
Engineers See Themselves", IEEE Spectrum, April
- What factors matter more now to job satisfaction
- Opportunity to be creative
- Diversified job responsibilities
- Personal growth potential
- Good relationship with peers
- Company's technical reputation
|Making the Transition to Management
- Some companies have two tracks to career advancement:
management and technical even though both may not be weighted
equally. For example, the technical track may not allow for as
many advancement opportunities and as many salary increases. The
technical track, however, may be better for some technologists who
really do not have the motivation to manage and who would rather do
- Some technologists see management as a viable career path for the
- Achievement, advancement, and recognition - to have more opportunity, more interesting work, more salary
- Increases in authority, responsibility, and leadership - to be able to influence policies, programs, the way things
are done, take more risk, contribute to the organization's
- More power, influence, status, and prestige - to be able to be in charge
- Fear of becoming technologically obsolete - getting out of the "keeping up with technology"
- Random circumstances - unplanned move into management via an
unexpected offer of promotion to management
- Why making the transition to management may be difficult
- Technical education overdevelops analytical rather than
- Problems are reduced to terms that can be handled by
objective measurement and established formulas based on
- Complex mathematical models are built to study phenomena
- The organization's management systems and policies make
- Technical skill may be used as the criterion for promotion
to management rather than management ability
- The two advancement tracks, management and technical, may
not be equivalent causing some technologists to go into
management when they probably should not
- Management may be viewed as hurting rather than helping
- The nature of technologists may be contrary to management
- Measurement should be objective and exact
- All information should be in before making a decision
- Intimate contact with the technical field cannot be lost
- Technologists may be introverts, have poor delegation abilities,
and be "socially impaired".
- Management, on the other hand,
- is less exact and predictable
- may be more attractive than technological advancement
- deals with the lack of systematic rules and laws governing
the behavior of people
- has to balance the views of technologists and upper
- must deal with incomplete data and areas where first-hand
experience may be lacking
- must focus on what needs to be done, when it should be done,
and how much it should cost, rather than on how to do it
- must get things done through others by getting along with
- How Someone Can Move into Management
- From Gene W. Dalton and Paul H. Thompson. Novations:
Strategies for Career Advancement. Glenview, IL:
Scott Foresman, 1986, pp. 7-12.
- Four stages may exist in a professional career
- Stage 1
- A technologist works under the direction of
others. Here, the technologist needs to learn what
others have gained through experience rather than try
to take responsibility for what s/he is not prepared to do
and develop a reputation for mediocre performance.
- Stage 2
- The technologist develops a reputation for being
technically competent and able to produce results
independently. Here the technologist should become a
specialist, even temporarily, in one field rather than
many fields. Outstanding work in one field is more
likely to become visible to the organization than good
work in many fields.
- The specialized area should be carefully chosen so that
the area does not become "phased out". The
technologist can choose a broad area or develop a set of
specialized skills that can be applied to a variety of
- Adjusting from dependence in the first stage is
difficult and requires originating and developing ideas as
will as individual standards of performance. Some
may jump into management here because they find this stage
uncomfortable, but should not as they will not understand
fully the technical aspects of the job.
- Remaining in this stage, however, can be detrimental to
a career as the probability of receiving above average
ratings diminish with time. The technologist should
choose to rise higher in what may be the technical track
or may leave for other functional areas.
- Stage 3
- Having learned how to take care of him/herself in Stage
2, the technologist now learns how to take care of
others. S/he begins to take responsibility for
directing and developing other people, such as helping
others from the Stage 1 to Stage 2, informally mentoring,
generating ideas, and managing. Because of broad
interests and capabilities, s/he taps resources in the
organization, provides innovative proposals and expertise,
and may take on a formal managerial role.
- Transitioning to Stage 3 requires a high level of
confidence, a willingness to take responsibility for
others' performance, and an ability for dealing with the
tension between management and professional disciplines.
- In Stage 3, a technologist may become extremely
uncomfortable and feel confined. With his/her
superiors, the technologist should explore influential
roles that may be taken without supervision of others or
go back to Stage 2. Other technologists may enjoy
this stage so much they stay in it until retirement.
Others may go on to Stage 4.
- Stage 4
- A technologist may play one of three roles:
manager, internal entrepreneur, or idea innovator.
As managers, they may formulate policies as well as
initiate and approve programs. As entrepreneurs,
they may bring resources, money, and people together in
order to pursue new ideas and direct new ventures.
As innovators, they may come up with ideas and
breakthroughs that enhance their reputation and the
organization's business opportunities.
- Transitioning to Stage 4 requires learning to delegate
and trust subordinates, making fast and good operating
decisions, looking at the "big picture" of the
organization, learning to look at the longer term,
exercising power by fighting for projects and programs,
and making alliances.
- Even though it may be attractive to "wing" your way to
professional excellence or choose things because you are pressured
by superiors or family or attracted to power, you should have a
plan for where you want your career to go and you should want to
go where you want to go. The plan should not be overly rigid
and should help you enjoy what you are doing or others you
supervise will not enjoy their positions while you are not
enjoying yours. Be assured that you will take on positions
that you will not enjoy too much, but use the experiences to
become better at what you do and understand the people who you may
supervise one day in those positions.
- To help prepare for a career in management,
- Superior technical competence so you stand out
- Good organizational and management skills, such as
effective presentation and coordinating skills
- Appropriate leadership qualities, such as being able to
influence team direction
- Good communication skills, such as verbal, written, body
language, and meeting skills
- Networking skills, by attending professional
organization meetings, participating in community and
fund-raising activities, and chairing committees
- Good relationships with mentors and higher-ups
- Becoming more mobile, such as moving to new locations
for better jobs
- Training in management, such as seminars and earning a
- Management focuses on the ability to get things done through others.
- Your responsibility as a manager is to become the basis for your
team to succeed and to keep yourself and your team from becoming
- Transitioning from a technical professional to a manager is easier
with mastery of the technical field, learning to mentor others, and
taking on responsibility gradually.
- Plan your career carefully to avoid taking opportunities haphazardly
which may prevent you from specializing in your field as you should
and taking responsibility before you are ready.
- What do managers do?
- What are the three levels of management and their focus?
- What are the factors affecting success or failure of management?
- Why may technologists have difficulty moving to management?
- How should technologists move into management?
- What can you do to prepare yourself for a career in management?
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Last edited: 03/31/04 02:02:39 PM