Having been a successful supervisor, I do understand what the Article was talking about, and it is in there. What they are saying is that many corporations are looking for people who can communicate well, and who think before they speak, especially with clients and sensitive employees.
Of course, I had to go through several layoffs and positions before I got there. But, it means that for a tech, technical skills are essential. For a supervisor, people skills are essential. For a tech supervisor, both skill sets are essential.
You can't fake it. If you really care about the people you are dealing with, it shows. If you care more about yourself, or about impressing someone else, that shows too. Big management can afford to support the shoe lickers and lickers of other sorts in good times, but in bad times, all the deadwood must go, The Bosses jobs are on the line too. Flattery may help make the Boss feel better, but it doesn't produce results.
Real managers know that they are overhead. They therefore try to help the people under them produce more. Often this means that there is more training and blocking of chaff from 'upstream' going on than those under them ever see. If you see all of that, or if you can't see any of that, then you don't have a good manager.
But, good managers aren't just found, they learn and develop just like everyone else.
If you want to be a good manager, then here are a couple of things you can do.
1. Read up on Demming. A quality control guru from the '70s who used ideas from the '50s (in other words pre-Harvard Business School). Learn and remember Demmings points. You don't have to employ his statistical analysis systems, but you should be looking to understand them. You will hear a lot about how you can't measure the things you do, but that is false. You can measure productivity in any business. If you can't measure it, you can't control it.
2. Dale Carnegie Course. You should take one of these. They are offered in most cities. Learn to communicate better.
3. Toastmasters. It may sound trite, but practice works. Learn to communicate. You should set a goal of DTM. Expect it to take from three to five years.
4. Volunteer. Become involved in some kind of community program. Charity and church related charity work DOES get noticed. You should also volunteer in your professional association. You are a member of a professional association aren't you? If not, then find and join one.
5. Discover and become involved in networking. Networking is how nearly all top jobs are filled. It is how most really large sales are made. If you want to become a top level manager, then you need to a source for others in your network of people. Build your way into an existing network by doing the volunteering and professional associations mentioned above.
I have barely touched the surface of this topic, but it is both real and almost never covered well in most peoples day to day lives. "It's not What you Know, it's Who you Know" is not true, but it does point out some important things. Who you Know is only helpful if you know What They Need. Filling real needs is what every business is really about.
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