Geek to Manager: Is It Possible?

Many people think of management of a next step in one’s career, but for some is it really? I found it very interesting reading about how some people may be brilliant in one area at a company, such as a programmer or engineer, but horrible at another, in this case management. Brilliant programmers don’t always make brilliant managers, but in some circumstances they may want to take on the challenge, or may have been thrown into the position without much choice. This chapter tells how someone like this can be successful in making the transition from geek to manager.

In many areas of the business world, promotions to management are greatly sought after since they mean career advancement and more than likely a good deal more money. These are motivating factors for these people, but for geeks, they are not motivated in the same ways. Many times these same promotions happen but end up having not so wonderful outcomes. Many geeks who accept management positions have preconceptions about what the job will be like. They use many of the same methods and skills that they used in their previous job which simply do not apply. The book used the example that great drivers do not automatically make great pilots. Many of these people then try to fix what is wrong and try to speed up the transition faster than what is possible. Many technical people must realize that they have to do things completely differently and learn how to delegate the skills of their employees in order to get things done in the most effective way possible. Some geeks however are just not meant to be managers. There is a reason why there is an entire chapter devoted to helping them in this situation. Just because someone is a great engineer, doesn’t mean that they are great at managing engineers. However, some geeks may be put in the position even if they don’t want to in cases where they must just fill a spot. In this case, they must realize that there is a natural period of time where they will not know what to do or how to do it. This is something that one can get past but it takes time and effort. On the other hand, there are people who are great at both jobs. It just depends on the person. There are examples like this all the time in sports, especially in soccer. One of the most recent examples was Thierry Henry. Henry is considered to be one of the greatest soccer players of all time most notably playing for Arsenal and Barcelona along with dominating in the MLS. He recently took the job of manager at French club AS Monaco. After 20 games played his team had only one five games, drawn four, and lost eleven and were bottom of the table in the French league. He was fired after a little over three months and has been teamless ever since. Henry is without a doubt a one of the greatest players of all time, and is respected as an analyst, but management may just not have been right for him. He is not alone however, many other players have failed as managers including legends like Alan Shearer, Gary Neville, Diego Maradona, Sir Bobby Charlton, and Roy Keane. However, other great players have also made great managers. These include players like Zinedine Zidane, Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Diego Simeone, Arsene Wenger and so many more.

Although is may not be easy to make the transition from geek to manager, it can be done. It takes an approach that is totally different from your previous job and requires you to see things from a different angle. If you trust the transition, everything will work out just fine.