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Chapter 3. Starting the Transition Process > Making an Effective Transition

Making an Effective Transition

A great deal has been written over the past few years about making the transition into technical supervision and management. Here are recommendations for adjusting smoothly to the change.

Find a Coach or Mentor.

One of the best ways to develop your competencies (knowledge, skills and attitudes) as a technical manager is by finding a coach or mentor who will take you under his or her wing and help you develop.

Avoid Predictable Trouble Pockets As You Move into Technical Supervision.

Research has shown that a series of recurring problems face technical experts who become technical supervisors. Learn from the mistakes of others.

Identify and Modify Your Personal Style.

Understanding yourself and your personal style is critical as you make the transition from technical expert to technical supervisor. In simple terms, by gaining an understanding of your “self,” you improve your ability to relate and respond to other people.

In the next section we will give you an opportunity to identify your very own behavioral pattern, the distinct way you think and act.

Learn to Understand Other Technical Types.

Along with learning to understand yourself and the personal styles of others, it is helpful to learn about other “technical types.” The very same positive attributes that enable an individual to climb the corporate technical ladder rapidly can inhibit effective performance as a technical supervisor or manager.

Maximize Your Assets By Converting Your Technical Power to Personal Power.

As a technical expert moving into technical supervision, you have a critically important dilemma to reconcile: Rather quickly you need to develop new nontechnical powers before your technical expertise slips away.

Much of your effectiveness as a technical supervisor will come from newly acquired personal power. You will need to understand your personality characteristics; identify the characteristics of your subordinates, peers and managers; and understand how the two relate.

Balance Your Task-Oriented Style with People-Oriented Needs.

As a technical expert you are educationally conditioned to convert almost any task into a technical task. Such a task-oriented style tends to overlook the critical importance of the people-oriented style. Your situational leadership skills should help you determine when the task should rightfully be placed ahead of the people. And at other times you will clearly put people ahead of the task. At all times you should consciously try to balance the people and the task.

Model the Behaviors You Encourage in Others.

This is a decade of profound change in organizational and human resource management. “Total quality management,” “empowerment” and “managing for commitment” all require the new technical supervisor to model the very behaviors needed to build high-performing technical teams. The positive attitude you convey to others and the way you communicate, motivate and delegate can not only fully harness and use your collective resources, but also provide you with an opportunity to showcase your technical supervisory skills by modeling effective supervisor behaviors. We will learn more about this later.

Learn the Ballgame and Playing Field—It Is Changing Fast.

As a technical expert, your work and performance expectations were tightly focused. Technical organizations often develop mini-technical cultures that, while fostering technical excellence, often prevent the individual from observing the big picture.

As a technical supervisor, you should pull back the lens. Your previous world of technical order—often sequential, time-limited projects—has now become a world of concurrent, nonending tasks. It would be very much to your advantage to develop a proactive view of supervising in technology-driven environments.



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