5 Tips for Growing Tech Managers

The Wall Street Journal published an excellent article titled “Do Techies Make Good Leadership?” Robert M. Fulmer, Byron Hanson and Duke Corporate Education are all Duke University’s Fugua School of Business. The article states that tech companies are not able to develop leaders who are effective because of the industry’s rapid growth and the talent that it draws, including. young techies who have an education in engineering or science. Despite the obstacles, the technologically savvy company can put together effective teams of managers. Here is a brief summary of the authors’ suggestions and my own suggestions:

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1. Formalize Management Processes of DevelopmentIt may not be a good idea to create a formal training program to help managers if a startup is being established. And yet, a tough to identify moment is bound to occur when formalized leadership development needs to be installed. The authors of the article urge businesses to keep a close eye on the impending need for structure in this area. The danger of not capturing the moment, according to Fulmer and Hanson the reason is that employee retention takes an eroding blow in the absence of skilled management. Unskilled leaders can also cause problems in productivity and alignment of projects with company objectives.

2) What is measured gets Acquired:According to the writers that the techie community is a lover of data. Utilize it to reach your objectives. To communicate the importance of tech managers’ work, measure management activities. Fulmer and Hanson provide an example of how to gather information about managers, like the amount of performance reviews they’ve completed, and also include a category for management in the manager’s performance review. That always gets attention!

I like the idea to measure the impact of training on behavior. If a business trains its managers to give regular feedback to direct reports on their performance, it could conduct a post-training study of employees in order to discover how often trained managers provide positive feedback. This is the simplest kind of feedback to give and report on. The knowledge that a measurement system is in place tends to result in positive results.

3) The importance of leadership and mentoringTechies are naturally drawn to the technical aspects of their job. After being promoted, removing themselves from technical activities and focusing on management tasks like planning, directing and coaching isn’t as satisfying. So tech companies should take extra care to reinforce and reward management and mentorship actions as much as they limelight technical talents and accomplishments.

Research on rewards has shown that they should be tailored to each individual. Mary may love the standing ovation during a staff meeting , whereas John might be apprehensive about the attention of others and would prefer honest praise from his superiors. No matter what method you choose, appreciation and reward for management and mentoring must start at the highest levels of the organization and be extended to every level.

4) Match Techniques of Training for TechiesIt doesn’t necessarily mean that technical managers must only receive instruction online. It doesn’t mean the training should be boring, slow and uninteresting. Also, it is essential to incorporate excellent practices of experienced managers. Training is more fun when there’s competition and actual-world issues.

5) Select with Management In Mind:Another thing that wasn’t mentioned in the article is the importance that initial talent screening plays in management development. One of my most successful tech clients makes their task of training tech managers more efficient right from the beginning; above and beyond meeting technical requirements for the position, every employee in the company is evaluated for interpersonal communication. If a candidate can only speak in tech-speak, they aren’t allowed to get further into the interview process. It’s a simple concept, yet many tech firms don’t consider this a key hiring criteria. If this is your firm and you want to make a change, take these steps:

  • Examine your job descriptions. Remake qualifications to include excellent interpersonal communication abilities.
  • Your current management team may be proficient in technology but not communication or skilled in communication, and they may be recruiting people similar to them, further restricting the talent pool. If this is the case, ensure that someone from Human Resources or an external resource do preliminary screening for tech positions to make sure your business is receiving only the top candidates for management post.
  • Your current management team could be trained in interpersonal abilities. They’ll be more effective in dealing with their customers (external or internal) and will be teaching these abilities to their direct reports. To increase your bench strength, you might also consider training current tech employees in communication skills.

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