From my perspective, the reason it's so challenging to manage a technology team is that everyone on the team expects something different from a manager. This plethora of expectations seems far more diverse than for non-technical teams (or at least compared to Management Consulting, my prior career).
For example, I've found that:
- 1/3 of tech employees want a manager who is an expert in their field so they can utilize them for assistance
- 1/3 of tech employees want a manager who is completely non-technical so that they can focus on solving the problem however they choose
- The other 1/3 of tech employees don't want a manager at all. To them, a manager is always part of the problem and thus should be marginalized if at all possible
Do you agree with this, and what tactics do you (or your manager(s)) utilize to effectively handle these expectations?
How does the saying go
In high school I was involved in an engineering competition where we needed to create a machine that could move 100 lbs of groceries from a disabled person's car up and down a set of stairs, and then into their kitchen. It was probably the coolest thing I ever built (there were only 3 of us on the team), even though the wooden treads started splintering halfway up the stairs (we didn't have a metal shop, so it was made entirely out of wood, spare boat parts, and conveyor belts) and then it completely destroyed the stairs on its way down (it weighed over 300 lbs).