UCLA Extension

Transitioning from Technical to Managerial Responsibilities


November 5-6, 2019

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.  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
  • Clarify your role as both manager and leader, and the differences between them
  • Understand your own personal management style and how and when to use other styles effectively under various conditions
  • Learn the five skills technical people have which, if applied effectively, can make them better managers than non-technical people
  • Break down silos build effective cross-functional and trans-organizational teams
  • Build culturally-diverse teams and avoid violating cultural taboos
  • Expand your team’s capabilities to do more with less
  • Set realistic, measurable, and meaningful objectives for your team
  • Identify, prioritize, and learn ways to resolve the barriers to your team’s success
  • Conduct more efficient and effective meetings
  • Learn powerful secrets to attaining high on-job performance and how to apply them successfully
  • Sharpen your interpersonal and relationship building skills with subordinates, peers, and superiors
  • Improve your decision-making abilities under time pressure or with limited data
  • Influence others to make more effective decisions
  • Learn the theories of motivation and how to create a motivating work environment to optimize the output of your direct reports
  • Improve your chances to gain concurrence from other managers in spite of their own agendas and goals
  • Become confident and demonstrate manager or team leader or have been leading others for a long time your worth as a leader, whether you are a new
  • Nurture an innovative culture and develop creative products and services
  • Correct the behavior of employees who need to do better and overcome resistance to top-quality performance
  • Understand how individuals and groups make changes and leverage change-management to obtain improvements effectively
  • 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.


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 in the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.  He is author of Solving Organizational Problems and the co-author of the American Society for Quality’s Certified Quality Process Management Handbook.

Daily Schedule

Day 1

Leadership and Management

  • What Experts Say
  • Determine Your Personal Leadership Skills (360°)
  • Improve Your Leadership Skills
  • Build On Your Technical Skills To Become A Great Leader
  • Transition to Management from Technical Responsibilities

Leading Organizations

  • Organizational Structures
  • Manage Parochialism—Break Down Silos
  • Build Your Staff
  • Allocate Jobs Intelligently
  • Delegate Effectively

Build and Lead Teams

  • Roles and Preferences in Teamwork
  • New Directions in Team Dynamics
  • Virtual Teams
  • Diversity in the Work Place
  • Improve Team Meetings

Day 2

Motivating People  

  • Using Power Ethically and Effectively
  • Influence Without Authority
  • Learn How Others Make Decisions
  • New Approaches to Motivation
  • Managing Millennials

Enhancing Creativity and Innovation

  • How Individuals and Groups Create
  • Enhance Individual Creativity
  • Enhance the Innovation Skills of Teams

Performance Management

  • Fairly Hold People Accountable
  • Improve Business Processes
  • Performance Reviews
  • Correct Behavior When Necessary

Change Management

  • How Habits Control Us
  • Change Individual Behavior
  • Change an Organization’s Culture

Develop a Personal Plan To Improve Your Leadership

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