Born for Management?

One idea that needs to be replaced, particularly in IT management, is the notion of being naturally “cut out for management”. Too many individuals and companies assume that management is some innate talent that will magically shine through once the move up the org chart occurs. Like golf, knitting, music or just about anything else, there are practical skills and development that helps one be a better manager, and diligent practice (and the associated mistakes one makes along the way) is required. When companies put people without these skills in managerial positions, they are generally doomed to failure, and leave people with the idea that they just weren’t cut out for the role. This would be like Tiger Woods assuming he wasn’t cut out for golf because he wasn’t ready for the PGA Tour the first day he picked up a putter.

Individuals new to management should seek out training, advisors/mentors and study management, assuming it is a new skill to be learned, practiced and refined, rather than some natural talent they should innately possess. The companies that promote these people do nothing short of a disservice to their organization when they neither acknowledge this fact nor provide the appropriate help. Most manufacturers would not assign a new employee to operate a complex piece of machinery without appropriate training, yet many do this routinely with their management “machinery” and are surprised with the resulting mess.

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