ITE Journal - July 2021 - 32

behave logically, it works, and they are rewarded. Over time, their
brains " wire " in analytical, logical, problem solving behaviors as the
preferred approach. The " wired " pathway is easy, takes little energy,
and becomes their default behavior.
Figure 1 represents the baseline competencies of technical
professionals and is the first element of our professional
development system.
Attributes of Managers
Consider the managers you admire and for whom you want to
continue working. What attributes makes him or her a good
manager? The top answers from contributors are in Table 2 with
selected quotes.
I think having some humility is incredibly important, because when
you walk into a room and you act like you know everything, there's
no better way to lose credibility. -David Thatcher, Stantec
" Engineers are analytical. They can look at a situation, analyze it and
come up with solutions. However, they may be uncomfortable with
changes to their role in life and on the job. The lack of comfort comes
from the lack of understanding of soft skills. "
-Maurice Rached, Colliers Engineering & Design
I think it comes down to (your staff) feeling like they're real human
beings to you, and that you can talk to them as a colleague, rather
than as a manager. -Keith Hall, Colliers Engineering & Design
You've got to really listen, listen deeper to what's going on with
that person. -Alan Mooney, Criterium Engineers
You're the technical whiz and you know all the rules. All of a
sudden now you have people to take care of.
-Brian Moen, City of Frisco, Texas
Comparing Tables 1 and 2 reveals a striking difference. How
would you characterize that difference? When asked, contributors
described the difference as:
ƒ Technical skills versus people skills
ƒ Task versus people
ƒ Process versus people
ƒ Cerebral versus emotional
ƒ Data versus human
Table 3. Functions of managers: The " what " roles they play.
* Delegate
* Evaluate
* Make decisions
* Hire/Fire staff
* Performance reviews
* Provide feedback
* Motivate
* Develop others
* Supervise
* Plan
* Manage workload
* Coach
* Evaluate
*
Discipline
ƒ Problem-solving versus people management
ƒ Being robotic versus having feelings
This difference between the attributes in the tables is " The Gap, "
and The Gap in attributes is considerable. Not only did the rules
of the game change, but the entire game also changed. Analytical
problem-solving works well for technical problems. Humans are
not an analytical problem to be solved. Motivating, relating to, and
inspiring humans requires a markedly different skill set.
Bridging The Gap requires substantial personal change for
Emily and Enrico. Recall that their technical skills are " wired
in " based on years of practiced behaviors. To characterize this
as a mindset shift dramatically underestimates the effort needed
to bridge The Gap, as technical professionals moving into
management must literally rewire their brains. They must modify
behaviors that provided a strong sense of self-worth. Emily must
challenge her beliefs and thinking. Enrico must reset, reframe, and
rewire behaviors that served him well for years. Rewiring is doable,
and it is no small feat.
What skills, specifically, are needed to bridge The Gap?
Bridging the Gap
Managers have specific functions they must perform. These
functions are " what " managers do that is unique to their
management role. A summary of the " what " roles are in Table 3, as
defined by the contributors. We add these skills to the professional
development system in Figure 2. Emily and Enrico were expected
to jump from their technical skills and immediately perform these
management " what " functions. But it is not enough for Emily and
Enrico to perform these functions indiscriminately. There is a
missing element that is discoverable by returning to the attributes
of good managers (Table 2). Notice that the attributes of good
managers describe " how " they do their management functions,
such as with empathy, understanding, or trust.
Figure 1. Baseline competencies of technical professionals.
32 July 2021 ite journal

ITE Journal - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal - July 2021

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