Thursday, January 11, 2007

"How not to lead Geeks"

Ran across this on my morning readings. It's a post from The CHO entitled "How not to lead Geeks". Found myself nodding my head and agreeing with a lot of what was in there.

Here are some quick highlights.
  • Geeks hate management-speak and see it as superficial and dishonest.
  • When managers don’t know anything about a technical question, they should simply admit it. Geeks respect them for that, but not for pretending to know.
  • Geeks have an ingrained sense of fairness, .... managers can’t say one thing and then do something else.
  • A slow computer lowers productivity and is a daily annoyance. So is outdated software. Give them the tools they need.
And one of my personal favorites
  • Programming is a creative process, not an industrial one.
Covers a lot of things I have realized in my own career, but hadn't attributed to the manager above me. Here's my addition:

Don't force Geeks up the ladder
There are ways for a Geek to keep climbing the ladder without having to follow the standard path. As a Geek with project and personal skills (no offense folks!) at each company I have worked for I invariably end up leading projects and teams and over time get the push to become a manager.

Oddly enough, I don't want to (at least not yet). I enjoy what I do, designing and building technology. Why would you take a productive employee and move them into a role where they wouldn't be as productive? "Because that's way things have been done for years".

Don't fall into that trap. Find other ways. In one company I worked with my manager to rewrite the "ladder" to account for those of us who wanted to take on more responsibility, but didn't want to give up what we were already doing.

Be creative!


Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

Amen. Just because one can manage doesn't mean one should. Unfortunately, many managers aren't there because they're able; rather, they manage because they're even worse techies.

It's easier to promote than to fire. :(