UCLA Extension

Transitioning from Technical to Managerial Responsibilities

You already possess many of the skill you will need to be a successful manager or team leader.  But to successfully transition from a technical contributor to manager or team leader, you may need to add a new set of skills and knowledge in which engineers and scientists are typically not trained.

Complete Details

One set of skills centers on the Leadership Skills or “soft people skills” necessary to accomplish change and get results through others. These include understanding and applying the theories of effective leadership behaviors. In-class self-assessments provide you with insights on how to sharpen your people skills by increasing your awareness and abilities in motivating others, using effective management styles, and building team relationships with your subordinates, peers, and supervisor.

A second focus is on best practice Managerial Processes. Research has shown the most effective managers use and train their teams in systematic best practice processes. Building on technical skills you already possess, you can enhance your ability to identify, prioritize, and resolve the barriers to your team’s performance; learn the skills sets necessary to deal with and resolve people performance problems; help to systematically and quickly solve problems; make critical decisions effectively; and identify the high probability and high severity risks that may prevent implementation of your decisions.

This course should benefit engineers, scientists, software developers, and other technical professionals entering into management, as well as experienced technical managers who wish to sharpen both their managerial and leadership skills.

Participant Goals

  • Learn tactics to deal with the challenges you face in transitioning to management
  • Understand your management style and how and when to use other styles effectively under varying situations
  • Expand your team’s capabilities to do more with less
  • Set realistic, measurable, and meaningful objectives
  • Learn the 6 sources that cause nearly 90% of people performance problems
  • Identify the necessary tactics to deal with the six most common types of problem people at work
  • Conduct more efficient and effective meetings
  • Improve your ability to resolve people performance problems
  • Clarify your role as both manager and leader, and the differences between them
  • Identify, prioritize, and learn ways to resolve the barriers to your team’s success
  • Achieve better time management (both for yourself and your team)
  • Improve your process-questioning ability
  • Learn Peter Drucker’s 5 secrets to attaining high on-job performance
  • Sharpen your interpersonal and relationship building skills with subordinates, peers, and superiors
  • Recognize your role as “process owner” and how it is key to your success as both manager and leader
  • Improve your ability to handle fast-changing technology issues that may not be in your area of technical expertise
  • Improve your decision-making abilities under time pressure or with limited data
  • Learn the theories of motivation and how to create a motivating work environment to optimize the output of your team
  • See over 100 ideas on ways to help motivate your team
  • Improve your chances to gain concurrence from other managers in spite of their own agendas and goals
  • Demonstrate and prove your worth, especially if you are a new manager or team leader
  • Develop an action plan of new ideas and tactics techniques to use immediately back on the job

Course Materials

Lecture notes are distributed on the first day of the course. These notes are for participants only and are not otherwise available for sale or unauthorized distribution.

Coordinator and Lecturer

Chris Christensen, MS, MBA, President, Christensen Associates, Inc., a management consulting firm, Playa del Rey, California. For three decades, Mr. Christensen was a program and project manager in the aerospace, high-technology components manufacturing, and systems integration industries. He successfully managed projects that produced intelligence data fusion systems, business and manufacturing process improvements, and the development of successful commercial products. He worked both as an intelligence analyst and a consultant to government agencies collecting and analyzing data to predict future events.

In 1992 Mr. Christensen launched Christensen Associates, Inc., to consult to executives, managers, and senior staff in effective business management. He coaches executive teams, facilitates off-site retreats, and leads on-site workshops in forecasting future business and technological breakthroughs, strategic planning, new product development, and project management.

Mr. Christensen is a certified Program Management Professional, Six Sigma Black Belt, and Certified Quality Manager. He teaches at Caltech and Loyola Marymount University.

Daily Schedule

Day 1

Course Overview and Class Introduction

  • New challenges facing the technical manager and tactics on how to deal with them
  • The most common pitfalls for new managers
  • Understanding your new roles as both manager and leader

Key Issues Identification and Prioritization (Concerns Analysis)

  • How to identify and prioritize the tasks you must manage
  • Focusing your team and building team consensus to get better results
  • Learn a best practice process by which you can add value in your managerial/team leader role to eliminate barriers to your team’s success
  • Practice the Concerns Analysis process using an in-class team case study

Getting Results through Your Interpersonal Skills and Relationships

  • Assessing your relationship and team building practices at work (review your self-assessment test results)
  • How to enhance relationships with subordinates, peers, and your supervisor
  • Assessing your and your team’s information processing style to optimize team communications and task assignments
  • Learn how to present information to the “nonlistener”

Summary and Homework Assignment (Approximately 45 minutes)

Day 2

Rational Decision Making

  • How to make the best possible decision with limited time and data
  • Risk analysis–the missing ingredient of good decision making
  • Selling others, especially critical stakeholders, on your decisions
  • Practice the Rational Decision Making process using an in-class team case study

Motivating Your Team

  • Participate in an in-class team assignment to identify both motivating and demotivating experiences in the workplace
  • Understand if you are on track to motivate your team (review your self-assessment test results)
  • Techniques for creating a motivating work environment
  • Getting the most from your team and how to assess what motivates them

Summary and Homework Assignment
(Approximately 45 minutes)

Day 3

Resolving People Performance Problems

  • Share experiences on variability of people performance problems
  • Analyze sources of people performance problems
  • Learn best practices for resolving poor performance
  • Do an in-class team case study on how to deal with the six most common behaviors of poor performers
  • Learn how expert managers resolve common poor people performance issues

The Relationship between Management Style and Management Effectiveness

  • Understanding your predominate management style (review your self-assessment test result) as one of five styles on the Management Style Grid
  • What to do and not to do to improve your style
  • When to change your style (what works and what doesn’t work)
  • Survey results of how 160 CEOs manage their organizations
  • Assessing your organization’s management style and its impact on your style
  • Delegation tactics as an important managerial skill

Developing a Set of Tactical Plans to Achieve Success in Your Managerial Role

  • Winning tactics to overcome the pitfalls facing the technical manager
  • Develop a list of tactics and action plans you can use immediately on your job
  • In-class summary, review, and constructive feedback of participants’ action plans

For more information contact the Short Course Program Office:
shortcourses@uclaextension.edu | (310) 825-3858 office