In The Trenches
you or respect you again. (If
trust and respect are not important
to you, you have other issues
to address.) Deliberate, misleading
statements are taken as lies as
are unkept promises. If situations
force you to renege, explain it in
Once you understand the basic
profile of the typical engineer, it is
obvious that the “Y” style of management is the most appropriate.
(The “Y” theory says that people
like to work.)
All you have to do is provide
the necessary tools, create reasonable deadlines and objectives,
insulate them from departmental
politics and paperwork, and watch
them take off. Remember, they
like their profession. The last thing
you want to do is make them dislike
their job. Unfortunately, this
happens with a fair degree of
regularity. There are many reasons
Some managers are intimidated by the education and intelligence
of personnel in their department.
They mistakenly think that
constantly exercising their authority
will cause the engineers to respect
They fear losing control.
Engineers recognize teamwork and
the need for direction. But ongoing
“suggestions,” meetings, and
reviews only serve to antagonize
Other managers take the position that since they are, after all, senior to the staff, they must be better, as
well. The idea that the manager
always knows what’s best is simply
While it is true that the manager
is responsible for the department,
it is foolish to think that the
manager is the best one for
making technical decisions. If the
manager was technically oriented,
he’d be an engineer, rather than a
Additionally, the concept of the
manager being the departmental
“father-figure” is silly. Following this
faulty logic suggests that one gets
smarter as one manages more and
If this was truly the case, then
every world leader should be a genius
and they should be able to solve
every problem themselves (including
curing cancer, predicting earthquakes, and controlling the rat
population in cities).
A proper analogy is a sports
team. The manager is the coach
of the players. The coach cannot
be intimidated by the skills of the
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