This report highlights that nearly every mechanical engineer confronts the question of whether to move into management, and every manager is faced with selecting a new manager from the ranks of the engineering staff. By most accounts, this selection process is at best hit-and-miss, with as many new engineering managers succeeding as failing. One myth states that because you are doing such a good job as a mechanical engineer, you can obviously manage other mechanical engineers doing tasks similar to yours. Another myth states that if you learn a few basic “concrete skills” like Microsoft Project, or how to conduct performance reviews, or how to develop schedules and budgets, or learn the corporate policies and procedures, then you can be a manager. There is also a belief that management ability will come to you if you spend time working with other managers in your organization. Once managers and potential management candidates understand the importance of people skills, self-awareness, and communication skills, the selection of the next management candidate is a process based upon training and the willingness of the candidate to venture into a new area of career development.
Steven Cerri. president of STCerri International in San Raman. Calif., coaches and trains engineers in management and leadership skills. His Web site is www.stevencerri.com.
Cerri, S. (February 1, 2009). "5 Myths." ASME. Mechanical Engineering. February 2009; 131(02): 32–34. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2009-FEB-3
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