The Wall Street Journal published an excellent article titled “Do Techies Make Good Leadership?” Robert M. Fulmer, Byron Hanson and Duke Corporate Education are both from Duke University’s Fugua School of Business. The article says that tech companies are not able to develop leaders who are effective due to their rapid expansion and the talent it attracts, among other things. young tech professionals with backgrounds in engineering and science. In spite of the challenges, a technologically savvy company can put together efficient teams of managers. Here is a brief summary of the authors’ advice and my own suggestions:
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1. 1.It might not be a good idea to create a formal training program for managers if an organization is establishing. It is, however, an extremely difficult time to determine when formalized leadership development is required. Companies should be aware of the imminent need for organized training for leaders, according to the article authors. The danger of missing the magic moment, according to Fulmer and Hanson it is that employee retention takes an eroding blow when there is no skilled management. Unskilled leaders can also create problems with productivity and aligning projects with company goals.
2) What is measured gets Doing:The writers point out that the tech crowd loves data, so use it to get the desire results. To communicate the importance of the job of tech managers and their management responsibilities, assess the effectiveness of management actions. Examples Fulmer and Hanson offer include collecting data like how many performance reviews a manager has completed, as well as adding a management section to the review of performance by the manager. It always draws attention!
I also like the method of measuring behavior change post-training. If a business trains its managers to give regular feedback to their direct subordinates on their performance, it can conduct a post-training survey of employees to determine how often managers are trained to provide positive feedback – the easiest kind of feedback to give and report on. Being aware that a program for measuring is in place tends to yield outcomes.
3) Value Leadership and MentoringNot surprisingly, techies are inclined to be satisfied with their technical aspect of work. It can be challenging to move away from technical tasks and focus on managerial tasks like organizing, directing, or coaching after you’ve been promoted. Tech companies must ensure that they reinforce and reward management and mentoring practices as much as they limelight technical talents and accomplishments.
We know this from our studies on rewards, they are a matter of personal preference. Mary may love the standing ovation at a staff meeting while John might not like the attention from the media and prefer genuine praise from his superiors. No matter what method you choose, appreciation and reward for management as well as mentoring must start at the top of an organization and should reach all levels.
4) Match Techniques of Training for TechiesIt doesn’t mean that you should conduct only online training sessions for technical managers. It’s about making it fast paced, varied and relevant, including the tips from experienced managers. Competition and real-world problems make it easier for trainees to stay engaged during the learning.
5.) Choose with Management In Mind:One item that didn’t get included in the article is the importance that initial talent screening plays in the development of managers. My most successful client allows for easier development of tech managers. Along with meeting the technical requirements for the position, everyone is assessed for their interpersonal skills. Candidates who can’t speak tech-speak will not be allowed to proceed with the interview process. Sounds simple and yet most tech companies don’t make this a crucial hiring requirement. If this sounds like your company and you’re looking to make a shift consider the following steps:
- Examine your job descriptions. Make sure that the qualifications include interpersonal communication abilities.
- If your management team is tech-savvy and have weak communication skills, they may be hiring similar people to themselves and thereby limiting the talent pool in your company. If that’s the case have someone in Human Resources or an external resource perform a preliminary screening for tech-related positions to ensure your company is being fed the most qualified candidates for future management positions.
- Your management team members can be taught interpersonal abilities. They’ll be more effective in dealing with their customers (external or internal) and they will be modeling these abilities to their direct reports. To strengthen your bench you could also think about teaching current tech employees communication skills.