What’s the Difference Between a Manager and a True Leader?


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Why would I want to work for you? The role of the manager is complex; it means balancing business needs with creative opportunity and flexibility, building trust and providing inspiration with a team. With the recruitment of Generation X, and now the millennials, the expectations of employees are changing, accompanied by an unprecedented growth of technology. How can today’s manager maintain an effective and motivated team?

I could be fresh out of college, or perhaps I am a seasoned veteran of the industry; it does not matter. As I am looking for a new role, I have my CV or resume that tells the recruiting manager all about me, highlighting my unique strengths and abilities, effectively selling myself. However, no formal process exists for me to assess the manager. I may have been attracted to the company and job position through a combination of things, such as the location, job content, potential opportunities, compensation, or even just the name and reputation of the company. These all got me into the building, but they are not my motivation to stay.

No, it is the manager who is the immediate point of contact, and the one person who holds the key to job satisfaction and career progression.

managervsleader.jpgWorking together day-by-day establishes my relationship with the manager. Good day-to-day line management should be a given in any company, but the real test of management ability is to provide an environment of trust and respect, with encouragement to explore, to create ideas that add value, and seeing projects, whether team or individually based, through to fruition.

Managers must also bring their own ideas to the table, contributing to the progressive environment. They have a broader perspective of the area in which they are working, and they must understand how it relates to other teams and higher levels of management. They should research the industry, seeing what trends are emerging, and bring those technologies and opportunities to the company.

Members of the team then see themselves as part of a progressive team, which is an essential incentive, especially at the start of their careers, for them to stay. Contrast this with organizational stagnation, which can demotivate team members after a while, forcing them to leave a company even though they were otherwise comfortable.

Technology is a key contributor to opportunity in the electronics industry, starting from the earliest point of design and extending out into the whole of manufacturing. The pioneers of the original CAD and CAM technologies in the industry have been reaching retirement age for a few years now, leaving a legacy of engineers and managers who have seen only a much more gradual change in the scope of their work. Computers made a huge difference initially in design and manufacturing, but they have progressed rather slowly lately, one update at a time, if we’re lucky.

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

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