Be a better manager

About the biggest mistake successful managers make is thinking they’ve got all the answers. Let’s face it, when you’ve got enough successes and failures under your belt and plenty of gray hair on your head, it’s a natural tendency to spend more of your time talking than listening.

That’s a pitfall none of us should fall into, and that includes me. While it sometimes seems like I have enormous disdain for some “leadership gurus,” especially the academic type, I’m always on the lookout for folks who, like me, have real-world management experience and the inclination to share it with others.


Call for Papers: 2011 IEEE International Technology Management Conference

ITMC 2011 Call for Papers
Call for Papers
2011 IEEE International Technology
Management Conference
Hilton San Jose
San Jose, California USA
June 27-30 2011
Managing Technology in Challenging Times
We invite contributions from researchers, educators, managers and students. Contributions may be
conceptual, theoretical, or empirical. They should document research activity, case studies or best
practices, shedding light on the theory or practice of engineering, technology, or innovation management,
and address the strategic objective of technological change. Major topic areas include:
Globalization and its Implications
- Outsourcing and Off-shoring
- Globalization of Research & Development
- Role of Silicon Valley and Other Technology Centers in the World
- Adapting Business Practices to the New Era
- Opportunity Recognition in a challenging environment
- Innovative Business models
- International Sources of Capital
- Legal Aspects of International Entrepreneurship
Management of Innovation
- R&D during the Economic Downturn
- New Measures of Innovation
- Management of Innovation Processes
- Alternative Energy opportunities and pitfalls
- Open Innovation and Collaboration in Technology Management
Adapting to Change for Employees
- Career Planning
- Employee’s View of Management
- Organizational Learning from Past Management
- Education in Technology Management
- Employee Innovation in the Wake of Recession
Supply Chain Management
- Sourcing Management
- Logistics and Distribution
- Product Development and Production Management
- Strategic Issues in Supply Chains
- Sustainable Supply Chains
- Green Product and Process Development
- Engineering Management and Climate Change
- Safety and Health Management
- Ecological Modernization
- Project Management for Sustainable Solutions
- Green Information Technology
In addition to these core technology management topics, we will open the door to special sessions on management during these
challenging times as seen by sponsoring societies – for example, particular management issues as seen within computer,
communications, and electronics areas.
Important Dates: Paper Submission Due: 1 December 2010
Notification of Acceptance: 1 March 2011 Paper & Author Registration Due: 15 April 2011
Hotel Block Deadline: 27 May 2011 Late Registration Begins: 15 June 2011
Organizing Committee:
General Co-chairs: Michael Condry (Intel), Atif Shaikh (Altera)
Technical Co-chairs: Xiaohong “Iris” Quan (San Jose State), George Farris (Rutgers)
Treasurer: Richard Stallkamp (Electronic Medical Devices)
Secretary: Ken Knox (Maxim Integrated Products)
For additional information, visit the conference Web page at


If no one had a sociopath for a boss, who would start new businesses?

Bad Management
If no one had a sociopath for a boss, who would start new businesses?

"Imagine a parallel universe where employees enjoy going to work. They feel empowered and fulfilled—so much so that they don't care about the size of their paychecks and never want to leave their jobs. That's exactly the sort of nightmare scenario that would destroy the economy. The last thing this world needs is a bunch of dopey-happy workers who can't stop humming and grinning. Our system requires a continuous supply of highly capable people who are so disgruntled with their jobs that they are willing to chew off their own arms to escape their bosses. The economy needs hamster-brained sociopaths in management to drive down the opportunity cost of entrepreneurship. Luckily, we're blessed with an ample supply." said SCOTT ADAMS, the creator of Dilbert in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

As a headhunter, there is more truth than humor in Mr. Adams article. Bad managers are the reason many people answer the phone when I call. Most of these people are managers themselves, abused by higher management - from outright narcisism and sociopathic executives to just a lack of opportunity to grow in a company.

"Though most of my immediate bosses were entirely reasonable and competent, the organization at large was riddled with hamster-brained sociopaths in leadership roles. Surely, I thought, this must be a problem that exists no place else on Earth. Otherwise we'd all be living in caves and holding long meetings on the feasibility of using sticks as stabby things.

The economy needs workers who are fed up, desperate and willing to quit their jobs for something better. Remember, only quitters can be winners, because you can't do something great until first you quit doing something that isn't.

I have always assumed there's a correlation between imagination and risk-taking. You wouldn't leave an unpleasant but relatively safe situation unless you could imagine a better outcome. So the people who leave a company first tend to be the visionaries who can best imagine entrepreneurial success. Bad management is how imagination gets wings." To read Scott Adams funny yet thought provoking article:


Bosses Overestimate Their Managing Skills

Bosses who think they're the next Jack Welch might want to reassess their talent level.

A new survey of 1,100 front-line managers suggests many are over-estimating their skills, with surprisingly little self-doubt. Seventy-two percent said they never questioned their ability to lead others in their first year as a manager.
Managers were also unlikely to rate themselves as weak in a number of leadership attributes, such as planning, communication and adaptability, according to the study by consulting firm Development Dimensions International Inc.

Front-line managers believe that their biggest strengths are in setting work standards and planning and organizing, according to the survey.

The skills they said they most needed to work on were delegating, coaching and gaining commitment—but no more than 15% of managers pointed to any one of those as a "development area."

"It doesn't matter what industry you're in. People have blind spots about where they're weak," says Scott Erker, a senior vice president at DDI, which conducted the survey in September.

The company separately compared some managers' self-assessments to performance in a business simulation that attempted to mimic real-world challenges the leaders might face. They found that managers consistently over-rated their delegating and coaching abilities, Mr. Erker says.

On the other hand, the company didn't find any consistent pattern of "hidden strengths," or areas in which managers underestimated their skills, he says.

One problem: When workers become managers, they're often surrounded by employees who flatter them as a way of ingratiating themselves to their boss, said Stanford business professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of the book "Power."

"People also don't understand the feedback they get. They either mishear or choose not to hear criticism," he said.

Still, at least some front-line managers harbor some doubts. About 26% of front-line managers said that they regretted being promoted at least sometimes during their first year, according to the DDI study. Fifteen percent said that their interest in being a manager decreased since being promoted. - By JOE LIGHT on the Wall Street Journal