So You Want To Be a Manager?
- Wayne E. Swearingen (Livingston Oil Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 1967
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 11 - 14
- 1967. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating
- 2 in the last 30 days
- 147 since 2007
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The engineer-turned-manager is challenged! A young engineer on his staff asks him to describe what a manager does. The conversation in this article is directed to giving a younger man the benefits of some of an older man's experiences and observations. A check list of references for the potential manager to study is presented in the fields of communications, planning, organizing, directing, controlling, staffing, innovating, coordinating and representing. Finally, the young engineer is reminded that he must be self-motivated. Each person is the manager of his own self-development program and there is no substitute for continual study.
The company president was struggling with a problem. The manager of the Los Angeles division had phoned a few days earlier to report that he was going to quit and go into business for himself. What a blow! The former manager had not adequately trained anyone to replace him, and now the president must quickly find and train a replacement. While wrestling with the question, the telephone interrupted his thoughts. "Mr. James Robinson would like to see you, sir. You remember him? He's the young staff engineer you said looked promising." The president hated to be interrupted. Muttering about never having enough time, he told his secretary to send Robinson in. Young Jimmy came in the boss' office and sat nervously in a chair. "I've heard that there is a manager's job open on the West Coast. I know I'm not ready for that job, yet, but my wife and I were talking last night-about how good it would be if I were ready. I'm becoming more interested in the general management field. Could you help me understand what a manager does and whether I can learn to do it well enough to be successful?" The executive was momentarily taken aback and he thought: what a challenge! There aren't enough managers in this company and particularly not enough bright young engineers who want to be managers. Surely I can give him some guidelines that will be helpful. In a few years he may be ready for a responsible job in our company management. He told Jimmy that he would think about the question and be ready to talk more about it the coming week. With that, the meeting broke up and the boss went home, cursing that he hadn't insisted that a suitable replacement be trained for the Los Angeles division. That weekend he played golf with an engineer-turned-manager friend. He related the conversation with the young engineer, and summed up by adding the thought that it would be a wonderful thing if men currently active as executives could provide this engineer and hundreds of others like him with some help in their efforts to become good managers. The executive's friend said, "If you really want to help this young man, don't be modest. Why don't you show him those attitudes and skills that you have found most useful in your own transition from engineering into management? Then I'll be happy to talk to your young engineer and try to tell him how I made the jump. One thing is sure," he continued, "most management consultants agree that we can learn from others if we vicariously experience situations in which we will find ourselves as managers. The leading business schools have used this case method of instruction for a generation. "And before you get too far along," the friend added, "try to find out whether the man really wants to be a manager. Help him judge whether he has at least the required interests, traits of personal integrity and vitality. Remember, your company also needs good engineers. You shouldn't have to require your technical men to become managers to advance in salary and prestige." The president had a definite plan in mind when he called Robinson into his office on Monday.
Development of a Manager
"Jimmy, I'll give you my time and effort if you want it, but in the final analysis the only real development is self-development. If you have a wheelbarrow personality the kind that is useless unless someone else pushes it no one can help you be a good manager. In every field of human endeavor, the champions are just a little bit better! Not 10 times as good, or twice as good. Just a little bit better. You must choose your own goals and establish your own definition of success. But remember: choose realistic goals because success, like smoking. is definitely habit-forming. "Management isn't an exact science like chemistry or physics.
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