Moving from a technical to management
position is to quit this job to follow the other one.
Whenever hearing a technician says, “I
have just promoted to management”, I know he is in a difficult situation.
Because he maybe does not understand what happened to himself, and the one assigned
this job to him did not prepared carefully for him. They rarely realize that in
technical job, this new role is not a promotion - it's a career change.
Be promoted in general is getting more
responsibility. That sense of continuity: what happened in the past is a part
of what will happen in the future. But for the technical side, that's not true.
Design and management are completely
different jobs, there is no overlap in necessary skills, knowledge and
behavior. Technical managers don’t need to be good technical engineers. They
need to be good in creating conditions that the others can become good engineers.
Moving from technical to management role is to quit this job to follow the
The selection and becoming a successful
technical management require right evaluation of the differences between these
roles and the transition motivation, since changing job can be a bit
uncomfortable. Here are some things you can do to avoid this damage.
Trying before buying. Many engineers do not
like the management role. They often choose to leave rather than be shameful
because of “demotion” or loss. So the organization lost some most talented
engineers because trying to “promote” the engineers for the work that they do
To avoid this, giving engineers the
chance to learn management without making any public statement, which is
difficult to take back. They need the opportunity to try before committing to
an important career change.
Using the formal transition. When a management candidate
decides to follow new career, it is important to make a public announcement
that he was moved to a new career path. This helps manager realize the depth of
the change. It can be classic style, such as an office party - but it can also
be fun. You can organize a celebration for example.
Waiting for the pain and the lack of conficence. Most new managers resist
the idea that they have to give their past glory to capture new role. They try
their best to be both technical staff and manager, but finally they realize
that it is impossible. When they realize that they can not return to their
technical job, you should consider their along sadness. They are not only losing
their old jobs but also catching something completely new so they will
definitely feel the lack of ability and lack of confidence in a while.
Provide training and supporting. Training can help but
rarely be enough. To be a management is not only having more skills. It is
about understanding new aspect of work and new ego. The managers should be
trained to create change.
Allowing the passion. New managers sometime need
opportunity to be immersed in their previous job. Let’s them write code.
However, make sure they realize that this is only passion to relive their glory
days but does not contribute much to the organization.
With a few quite easy adjustments in
the language and approach, you can create an environment that the new technical
managers grow up and get your needed team leader.