The battlefield of testing
What is the actual difference between a manager and a leader? The words themselves actually matter. Let’s take an army, any army for example with soldiers, guns and all the rest of that Call of Duty stuff. Soldiers do love their leaders and are willing to march miles straight into Hell-fire and back alongside with them. And what is a soldier picturing when he hears the word ‘manager’? Some sleazy dude from the headquarters that has never seen combat and is plotting some plots or whatever it is he is doing on a daily basis. Does this comparison ring a bell? What is making the difference?
Which Avenger are you?
A leader is always on the frontline and is constantly keeping an eye on his team. He is always there to help and to teach. A leader is something of more inspirational value for every team member. Like Captain America. A manager would be Tony Stark (a good one, I mean). A strategist making precise plans. He will be organizing the team and will be using their strongest sides. He will do all the coordination of their activities. And, at the very same moment of time he will be finding time for keeping an eye on everybody. Even from far as he flies by. And one more thing. A leader will be the first to fall in battle if his team is in a trap. He will be covering their escape. And a good manager will not allow such a situation to happen. And if you are like Iron Man than a) you are the ultimate combination everybody needs, b) you look great with a goatee and c) you are simply awesome.
Yet being such a manager will require a different set of tools and thinking than the one you’ve possessed before the promotion. It comes naturally to some people. When somebody will have to work hard for the iron armor.
What’s a good test manager to do?
Sure is takes a lot of planning and reporting to do. Creation of the Testing Plan, organizations of the entire testing team, execution of the plan and all kinds of reports to the higher-scale managers, etc. Those are all planning skills. But does that mean that the job does not require even a little bit of leadership? Sure it does as you are also to motivate your team, ensure everybody’s on the right spot and knows exactly what he or she is working with and how the entire mechanism works. The Hulk’s bursting out with rampage because the water cooler is not working? Who else can calm down the mighty Hulk but you? This is an important field of a good managers job yet it is not getting enough credit as well as there are but few sources that are providing appropriate materials about leadership skills in testing, what motivation may be used in a testing team, etc. Thus you are to be creative and flexible to adjust to your current team pretty much on your own. Remember to plan ahead as a manager and to be a swell leader to your team at the very same time. That’s when, in the hour of need, you will really be able to truly understand the true value of two simple words, “Avengers, Assemble!”
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