Geek Managers

The topic for chapter 4 is about making that transition from maybe working behind the scenes as a geek to being in charge of the geeks as a manager.  Being a manager requires people skills and an ability to be able to handle other individuals on a daily basis.  So how do we as geeks make that big transition in to the world of management?  To get started we will look at a list of some top ten points of advice to becoming a better manager from Management.about.com.

1. Select the best people2013-07-11-A-Suggestion1

2. Be a motivator

3. Build Your Team

4. Be a Leader, Not Only a Manager

5. Improve as a Communicator

6. Get Better At Managing Money

7. Get Better at Managing Time

8. Improve Yourself

9. Practice Ethical Management

10. Take a Break

Many geeks consider management to be an interesting career field.  After all the incentives for being a manager include: higher salary, greater influence, and more status.  However the problem with most geeks who make that transition is that their expectations are unrealistic.  In order to avoid the most damage to a management position the geek manager must understand that new managers have no idea what they’re getting into, simply being the best at your job doesn’t mean that you can manage the other people that do your job, you will most likely not be prepared as a new manager and usually don’t have a very good support system within the company, and that they have to deal with people they usually would not have to deal with.

Being the best does have its perks.  However does it really mean you should be in charge?  According to The Geek Leader’s Handbook it doesn’t.  Promotions or pay raises are handed out all over work for the wrong reasons.  According to the From Geek to Manager article promotions to manager for geeks are usually due to doing a great job as an engineer, they did a great job on their last project, their boss quit and someone needed to step into the job, or they volunteered.

Although geeks sometimes aren’t the best choice for managers the ones that end up good managers provide huge benefits for that transition from suits to geeks.  In order to be prepared for new management positions for a geek, the must first figure out how they are going to understand their position and realize what they are supposed to do and do it right before its too late.  The ability to assess situations and resolve them along with being able to communicate effectively and motivate your team to top performance are key abilities for managers.

In order to motivate geeks, according to Tech Republic, you must:

1. Select Wisely.iwk7kf5

2. Manage Meaning.

3. Communicate Significance.

4. Show Career Path.

5. Projectize.

6. Encourage Isolation.

7. Engender External Competition.

8. Design Interdependence.

9. Limit Group Size.

10. Control Resource Availability.

And of course…

11. Offer Free Food.

The problems for geek managers are endless.  Actually the problems for everyone are endless!  We all have different means of solving our problems and for the geeks their problems are usually behind the scenes of the company with the leaders faces showing for all of them.  Geek managers need to realize that it isn’t just one person’s mindset at work.  They need to be able to understand their team and be able to combine the geek on the inside with the manager in charge on the outside.  The one point that stood out for me was the select wisely point.  An example of choosing your words carefully is when I had to leave early for an event at a tennis match.  The coach and I had discussed the situation and he stated that he event would run late so I may not be able to make it.  I understood… or so I thought. I finished my work and began to head out once I clocked out and a few hours later I received a call from my coach saying I wasn’t allowed to leave until the entire team was done with their work.  This to me made me reflect on how important word selection is and how critical it is to communicate the significance of an event.

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