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Part II: Communication: Skills for Techn... > Communication Challenges Facing Tech...

Chapter 8. Communication Challenges Facing Technical Supervisors

Perhaps the most difficult obstacle the new technical supervisor needs to surmount is the immediate acquisition of communication skills. Three very real challenges must be faced and met. Which do you find most difficult?

Understanding Your Style of Communication

Your educational and career choice, probably rooted to childhood interests, reflects a preference for quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and, often, working alone. It is no surprise, or fault of anyone, that this set of aptitudes, while compatible with the role of technologist, might not include the skills needed to work with others in the social situations demanded of a supervisor. The move from individual technical contributor to coordinator of the work of others will quickly stretch your communication comfort zone.

Meeting Interpersonal Communication Demands

Global economies, changing organizational structures and new technologies have created new communication environments. Individual contributors are now part of team and project activities. Technical supervisors, and the very technical experts they supervise, may have dual reporting lines. Such matrix structures provide technical direction from one source and administrative direction from another. And, of course, mergers, acquisitions, downsizing, “right-sizing” and process re-engineering add other communication demands.

Developing Situational Communication Strategies

New technical supervisors suddenly find themselves in an intense political arena. Dealing with competition for resources, sudden and frequent change, confusing and overlapping responsibilities and conflicting goals and agendas requires the application of communication strategies and tactics beyond their previous study and experience.



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