The promise and peril of transitioning into management
Scientists and technical professionals also have mortgages. They need money for college tuitions and retirement. They may be tired of working for their bosses and wish to have more nfluence on the direction of their work lives. Often, their solution is to move into leadership roles. For some, it’s a fantastic success, bringing out latent skills they hardly ever used. For others, it’s a complete disaster for themselves and others. Knowing why and who succeeds in this transition is crucial for all involved.
The Best – and Worst – Options
It’s a question many people have asked after they’ve been publicly accused of wrongdoing — how can a damaged reputation be salvaged? The question applies to those who were falsely charged with misbehavior and even those who were guilty of indiscretion and are ready to make amends. These are the key questions:
Unfortunately, there are reasons why some scientists and technical professionals, even or especially those who are high achievers in their specialties, fail to embrace the leadership roles they undertake. These include:
There is Hope
With all these caveats, a significant number of technical professionals go onto be successful managers, executives, and entrepreneurs. The key is whether any given person has either the disposition or the adaptability to embrace a new role. If this type of professional is being considered for a management role in your organization, you should raise these questions:
Those who are motivated, open to growing, and honest with themselves can succeed. Peter Fiske believes that the great majority of transitioning scientists adapt to and flourish in their new roles as leaders. As their CEO, you may wish to invest the effort to smooth their entry into a broader role within your organization.
Fred Mael, PhD, helps organizations and their employees work more effectively, and coaches executives and managers. www.maelconsulting.com. This article appeared originally in the October 2012 issues of Washington SmartCEO magazine and Baltimore SmartCEO magazine.