Five Tips to Grow 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 both from Duke University’s Fugua School of Business. The article states that tech companies are not able to produce effective leaders because of the industry’s rapid growth and the talent it attracts, among other things. Young techies who have a background in engineering and science. The savvy tech company can overcome all obstacles and build strong management teams. Here are my tips, augmented with the author’s:

1. Initiate Management Development Processes. If a startup is going through a phase of growth, it might be too early to set up a formal training program to help develop managers. Yet, it is a difficult moment to recognize when formalized leadership development is necessary. Companies should be aware of the imminent need for structured leadership development, according to the article authors. Fulmer and Hanson warn that employees could be left behind if there is no skilled management. Unskilled leaders can also cause problems in productivity and alignment of projects with company goals.

2 What Gets Measured Gets Done The authors point out that techies love data and should use it to achieve their goals. This is a way to communicate the importance of tech manager’s management activities. Fulmer and Hanson give examples of how to gather information about managers, such as the number of performance reviews they have completed and add a management category in the manager’s performance review. This always grabs attention!

The post-training measurement of behavior change is something I like. A company could have its managers give regular feedback on their performance to their direct reports. This would allow them to conduct a post-training survey to determine how frequently they provide positive feedback. This is the most straightforward type of feedback to deliver. A measurement program can help you get results.

3) Place Value on Leadership & Mentoring: It’s not surprising that techies find fulfillment in the technical aspects. It can be difficult to move away from technical tasks and focus on managerial activities such as planning, directing, and coaching once you have been promoted. Tech companies must be more careful to reward and reinforce mentoring and management behaviors, as well as technical achievements and talents.

Research on rewards has shown that they should be tailored to each individual. Mary might love to be given a standing ovation during a staff meeting, while John might prefer genuine praise from his boss. No matter what approach you take, recognition and reward for management and mentoring must start at the top of an organization and should reach all levels.

4) Match training methods for techies: This does not mean that you should only offer online training to technical managers. This means making the training relevant, fast-paced, and varied – with best practices from experienced managers. Training is more fun when there’s competition and real-world problems.

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