Friederike Freifrau von Mirbach and Dr. Michael Cölle
Managers are from Saturn, engineers from Neptune. They do not necessarily understand each other, they might get their wires crossed. Let us have a look at day-to-day business. Managers generally focus on the achievement of maximum efficiency and on keeping things running smoothly. Engineers look for the best possible technical solutions and know about every little detail. In principle, this is not bad. Nevertheless, speaking a ‘different language’ makes good communication difficult. One side predominantly uses an economical vocabulary, the other a technical one. Sometimes it turns into a fruitful dialog, but often managers and engineers talk at cross purposes.
Misunderstandings waste valuable time, money and burn up too much energy on all sides. In a globalized world that demands quick decisions, companies can no longer afford such frictional losses. It is time to have employees with a different mind-set sit at one table and share ideas successfully.
It takes people who can bring people together. CEOs who keep their eyes on the big picture, who bring HR, managers, and engineers into the same orbit.
Managers talk in a different way. As do engineers. That is good! Let us begin the dialogue!
Input from different areas of expertise helps see things from a different angle and gives rise to new ideas. Companies are measurably more successful when all employees can fully realize their potential in all its diversification.
You can only be successful in the long term if you combine your strengths and make the most of diversification. That is diversification at its best. It has long been known that companies perform much better economically when highly talented and experienced women are on par with their male colleagues in the same hierarchy. Companies that create synergies between economic efficiency and technical impact will be a step ahead of their competitors.
Those who actively engage in a fair exchange of ideas at eye level instead of insisting on simple reporting to the line manager show confidence in other people’s competence. However, it is hard to foster an organization culture where colleagues try to listen closely, learn each other’s jargon, and make sure that the other person can understand what you are saying. Truly cooperating means, that it is not the „I“ that counts in cooperation, but the „we“. This is where CEOs need to step in, where HR must act as a mediator and train managers, techs, and engineers in other, more effective forms of communication. This is a skill that every leader and expert can learn and apply profitably in practice.
Nobody has to know and understand everything. The secret of great leaders and statesmen is knowing when and whose expertise to draw on for good decision-making. They are advised by ministers, secretaries of state and research experts. They ask questions and get answers that they need for their own understanding. It is the same in a company: Experts from different disciplines meet, exchange ideas and struggle to find the best solution – for the benefit of all.
The management-technology interface is not a gap in the agile world of work, but a big opportunity. Especially at times when the excellence of each and every one is crucial to succeed. Technical expertise and business excellence need to go hand in hand. They require a genuine exchange of ideas. Diversification of thought and action makes companies measurably more successful.
In this way, diversification does not become a problem, but a blueprint for success.
Written for the ORVIETO ACADEMY for Communicative Leadership – Focus on Synergy: „To succeed in a world of accelerated, digital transformation, leaders need new ways of leading & communicating.“
PDF Download: Orvieto Academy – Communication Manager Engineers