Many technical people look to their management to fix the things that are inhibiting their performance in the workplace. They escalate these problems or just complain about them, both resulting in on-going frustration. In most cases their management do not understand the complex problems they face and even if they did, they are even less likely to resolve them than the team members themselves. Technical staff need to understand what the real role of their line manager is and to realize that their line manager does not have a supervisory role over them, except for the very core part of their role. The old management structure that created efficiencies in the Industrial Revolution worked because the tasks people were doing were not complex. Managers could enforce work processes and procedures and achieve compliance to the goals set by the company. This required the manager to know more about how to do the job than the worker. In most environments today where smart workers are employed this is no longer the case. The technical staff themselves are expected to be the leaders of their own world. Leadership requires a deep understanding of the "why" - this creates buy-in and explains to those around you why what you have asked them to do matters. Leadership also involves taking ownership and committing to the desired outcomes without using excuses as a justification for failure. To make a meaningful difference in activities outside the core job role, technical staff need to learn to influencetheir key stakeholders as they are unlikely to have any authority to change things outside their core role.
Technical experts must understand the leadership role expected of them and change their mindset to being part of the solution to fix things outside their core role. So long as they also understand the limits of their influence, instead experiencing frustration from challenges, these challenges become energizing and helps them become engaged in the company without feeling frustrated!
More ideas on this theme are shared in my latest book "Help! What's the secret to Leading Engineers" which has sold hundreds of copies and is available from Amazon (both Paperback and Kindle versions).
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