90% of R&D managers are frustrated

90% of R&D managers are frustrated

In 1969, a Canadian educator by the name of Laurence J. Peter published a revolutionary book called The Peter Principle. According to Peter, employees are promoted based on their success in previous jobs, and continue to rise in the ranks until they reach a level at which they are not competent enough. And there they get stuck.  

In tech companies, generally speaking, software developers can follow two different career paths: technical leadership or people leadership. 

R&D managers are required to have deep technological knowledge, not only of the actual tech that’s being developed, but also of the complicated process of releasing software. In addition, and equally important, they need to have the ability to lead their teams.

According to a major Gallop study, only 10% of managers are “ natural” people-leaders. This means 90% of managers need to learn that skill and work hard to improve at it. 

Still, unlike technical skills—which take years of formal and informal education, as well as on-the-job training—people-leadership gets hardly any attention. Managers in R&D might go through a few “leadership workshops” in their lifetime, but that’s probably it. 

Yet people-leadership is the most impactful position in a company, because it influences the performance of everyone. But we have no clue how to acquire it.