AIME Annual Meeting, 15–19 February, San Francisco, California

Abstract

Technical men have special characteristics which present unique problems in management development. They have the ability to grasp principles easily, to understand methods and procedures readily, to appreciate organization, and are orderly in their thinking and analytical in their approach. Yet they must develop new skills including the ability to deal with people's emotions, a willingness to snake decisions even though complete information is not available, and the imposition of a new kind of self discipline. Several methods are given to help the technical man develop for management positions.

Introduction

The problem of helping a technical man prepare himself for supervisory, management or executive positions is an important one today. While the technical man may be a true professional in his field; i.e., he has a store of knowledge, the skills and methods to use that knowledge, and the discipline necessary to keep him ethical — yet the transition from working as a professional engineer to a professional manager is an extremely difficult one for many individuals.

As we know, modern business is becoming increasingly complex. Today'smanagers direct activities which must cope successfully with complicated problems of engineering, legal restrictions, economic trends, public relations, employee relations—including dealing with local and national labor organizations, governmental regulations, and alert competition. Further, the manager who is just barely adequate today will be completely inadequate 10years from now unless he [or someone] makes plans for his development.

Competition will not allow us to take time to permit our people to mature as slowly and as loosely as the old style supervisor did. There is not as much room for management errors. Since employees are better informed today, their bosses must have more supervisory skill, better judgment and a broader view.

Again, if a company is to find and hold good men, it must have some clear plan for providing for its people opportunities for advancement. All this then suggests that positive action is required to broaden the training and experience of technical people in order to qualify them to direct units of the modern organization.

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