Manager Qualifications

Toad

Member
Dec 27, 2000
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Simple question. And no offense to anyone who has ever served in a management/supervisor capacity. I did myself at one time but chose to take on another role which keeps me doing the work I love. How in tune with things do you think a manager should be? Should they understand what those under their supervision are doing? Lately I have grown more and more frustrated with my job because my management has absolutely no clue what's going on. Left on their own they could not accomplish even the most basic of day to day tasks. And worse it leads to them placing unreasonable demands on my time. How can you understand what's reasonable if you have no idea what's going on? Is this to be expected? I find it hard to respect anyone telling me what to do when I know for a fact that they are incapable of doing it themself.
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
62,854
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It always helps when your manager has at least a superficial understanding of what your job is, and what it entails, but the sign of a sucessful manager is to surround himself with qualified, knowledgeable people, and lets them do what they were hired for, with a minimum of direction.
 

Garet Jax

Diamond Member
Feb 21, 2000
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No they do not need to understand what you do, but if they don't then they shouldn't be able to question your timeframes or your decisions.
 

mundane

Diamond Member
Jun 7, 2002
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They only need to know enough to make a reasonable estimate of a) what you're capable of and b) how long it should take you.
 

MrChad

Lifer
Aug 22, 2001
13,507
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It depends on the industry and the project in my opinion.

I work as a software consultant, and I've dealt with good project managers and poor ones. Understanding the technical details of a project is certainly helpful for a manager, but it's not required in my opinion. I've worked with great PMs who had no idea about the technical, day-to-day tasks my job required.

I'm a bit new to the management world, but I believe that communication is a key skill for an effective manager. If the demands placed on you are unreasonable, you need to communicate that to your manager, and hopefully he/she should respond to those concerns. You should understand where his/her concerns lie (in terms of deliverables and project deadlines) and he/she needs to know how you're progressing and what your expectations are.
 

Billzie7718

Senior member
Sep 2, 2005
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Originally posted by: Toad
Simple question. And no offense to anyone who has ever served in a management/supervisor capacity. I did myself at one time but chose to take on another role which keeps me doing the work I love. How in tune with things do you think a manager should be? Should they understand what those under their supervision are doing? Lately I have grown more and more frustrated with my job because my management has absolutely no clue what's going on. Left on their own they could not accomplish even the most basic of day to day tasks. And worse it leads to them placing unreasonable demands on my time. How can you understand what's reasonable if you have no idea what's going on? Is this to be expected? I find it hard to respect anyone telling me what to do when I know for a fact that they are incapable of doing it themself.

In my experience there are generally two types of managers.
1. People who will assign tasks and then only want to know when the employee has completed said task. They do not care HOW you got it completed, only that you DID.

2. People who assign tasks and then want constant updates on the status and detailed reports on how the time was spent or what steps were taken.

I believe you are experiencing number one, which is not bad if you can get them to understand your timeline. Number two can be a real pain in th a$$ (no pun intended) because they micro-manage and it seens like they are always looking over your shoulder. The best managers know how to use either method and vary it depending on the employee.
 

Pegun

Golden Member
Jan 18, 2004
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IMHO the manager should know at least most of the job that those under him/her do. I've worked in customer service/tourist information for 5 years and if my manager does not know what i do and what i try to do to resolve problems then they are clueless and shouldnt be there trying to tell me how to do my job.
 

Toad

Member
Dec 27, 2000
25
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I guess I'm looking at things with the viewpoint I had when I was in charge. I took an active interest in what others were working on. And at one time or another I had done the job myself. But I guess that's just not possible for all management hires.
 

theknight571

Platinum Member
Mar 23, 2001
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I think a manager should be able to perform the job of those one step down from him, and have at least a general understanding of those further down the chain.

I know at some point in the chain this may not be possible, but I think for the everyday manager it should be a guideline. (For example, the CEO may not be able to perform the CTO or CFO's job, but he'd still be boss (so to speak).