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Are You Really Ready for a Managerial Role?

Dissecting dilemmas of deciding to accept managerial duties.

You started out in your security industry career as a “technician” and after many years you were promoted, and have been working as a “lead technician.” The company has grown and so has your experience along with it. Now the big day comes when the owner comes to you and says, “We would like you to be a tech support and operations manager.”

With Reward Comes Greater Responsibility
You feel honored, and you should be. This sounds like a logical advancement. After all, you have the most technical skills and perform the best installation work in the company. It might be a thrilling proposition for you, but there’s also suspense in whether the company made the best choice when dialing ‘M’ for manager. The answer may be yes … but more times than not, it may be no.

One of the biggest mistakes companies make is to promote someone to a managerial position because they are the best and most knowledgeable technical person they have. Believe me when, after having experienced several decades of holding various management positions, I can honestly say technical management takes the wearing of a different hat.

A management position can be financially and personally rewarding. However, the technician must be fully aware of what is expected of them. The company must make sure the tech-to-be-manager has the appropriate managerial skills and most training possible to be successful for all. People skills and problem-solving ability will quickly take the place of resolving more familiar technical issues. If the company is small, you may have to juggle both occupations for a while.

Factor These 5 Areas of Adjustment Into New Job
Let’s take a moment to explore some of the issues, skills and expectations of being a new manager:

Delegation – If this is a promotion you must make sure that your technical team coworkers in particular understand your new responsibilities include delegating work assignments. Some may not accept this if they think they should have received the promotion instead. Also, avoid the rookie tendency to micromanage.

Motivation – It is now your responsibility to ensure everyone has a positive and upbeat attitude every day. This is important to keep your team’s trust and respect. Having a common place to post a positive daily message can provide a good reinforcement tool.

Personnel – Your staff, or better yet your team, and their personal work-related issues are one of your top priorities. Do formal annual reviews, discuss performance goals and planned expectations. Record disciplinary issues. You will also be involved in recruitment. Have definitive job descriptions and keep them current.

Training – Provide structured staff training and ongoing training of new skills. Make room for “soft skills” training – like communication and collaboration – which is often overlooked in technical environments. Push for certification training for yourself and staff. Consider training for yourself with organizations such as the American Management Association (AMA, amanet.org).

If all this looks like what you want to do, then go for it. The road is challenging yet rewarding.

About the Author

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Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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