The Shaughnessy Report: Leadership vs. Management


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Is your manager one of the great ones, a true leader? Many of your colleagues would probably answer with a pointed “No.”

Or maybe you’re a manager. Many PCB designers have moved, sometimes reluctantly, into positions of project manager and CAD manager.

So which is it: Are you a leader, or just a manager?

Instead of covering a tech topic like signal integrity or DFM this month, we’re focusing on leadership, and what it means to be a leader and manager. This topic came about after seeing replies to our surveys over the last year or so.

In some of those reader surveys, we asked, “What is your biggest challenge?” Every time we posed that question, we received replies that I would paraphrase as, “Management doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing.” Some comments are much more colorful and emotional.

Let’s face it: A bad manager can make your job hell on earth.

Now, PCB designers are known to complain (I’m kidding, somewhat), but we also see this kind of comment from PCB fabricators, assembly providers, and suppliers. It turns out that a wide variety of technologists in this industry cast a jaundiced eye toward their management.

Naturally, we started this venture with another survey, this time to the subscribers of all three of our magazines; the results can be found on page of this issue. Open-ended questions often provide us with some of our best insights into our readers’ challenges, and this time was no exception.

Here is Question 1, followed by the top responses and the percentage of respondents who chose each. 

What are the three most important traits and skill sets of a great leader today?

  1. Ability to inspire others – 72.7%
  2. Empowerment of employees – 47.7%
  3. Integrity – 40.9%

Inspiration is the big winner here. Almost three-fourths of respondents want a leader who inspires them. They want to be inspired—they need to be inspired, or they’ll leave a job. That’s one of the most common points we hear regarding millennial staff.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the October 2016 issue of The PCB Design Magazine, click here.

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