Leadership and management are frequently used in the same context.  The truth is, the two terms are vastly different. According to the World English Dictionary, to lead means to “show the way to (an individual or a group) by going with or ahead.”  Conversely, according to Dictionary.com manage means “to bring about or succeed in accomplishing, sometimes despite difficulty or hardship.”

Simplistically, to lead is to work with people; to manage is to work with more abstract entities like systems or tasks.  But for today’s complex organizations to succeed in a holistic manor, effective leadership and strong management have to be present, especially in technical atmospheres where high costs are high.

Stereotypical technical individuals such as engineers, programmers, and architects have little desire to move up the corporate ladder because they enjoy the task and project specific challenges.  Those technical individuals are precisely who upon being promoted, benefit from technical leadership and management skill building.  More often than not, technical people’s formal and informal backgrounds have not been geared toward leadership and management of human capital systems.

Technical leadership and management are different from traditional leadership and management because of the personality and system types involved.  Technical people will rarely take serious a non-technical supervisor.  Therefore true technical leadership and management is something that is generally cultured over time by starting “in the trenches” of the industry or business and working to the next higher level.  But again, these technical individuals don’t want to lead.

People shy away from what is uncomfortable.  Leading and managing is at times uncomfortable.  Skill set specific knowledge is the key to overcoming uneasiness and being successful.  Skill sets like coaching, motivation, organization, and vision are integral to any successful technical manager’s arsenal.

Dr. Robert “Bob” Biggins of MVP Seminars can help with all of your technical development needs.  Dr. “Bob” draws from 22 years of technical leadership and management experience from the Engineering, Quality Assurance and Construction industries along with 20 years of post high school academia.  Contact Dr. Bob at MVPSeminars.com and search “Michigan”.