Managing Work

by Dennis Randolph, (M.ASCE), Managing Director; Calhoun County Road Commission, Calhoun County, MI,

Part of: Civil Engineering for the Community


Managers often ask engineers to do more work without providing more resources to support the requests. In response, engineers typically counter that they need more resources (time, money, and people). Frequently the engineer gives this knee-jerk response before even knowing what the manager really wants. Also, they often do not know what their real work load is. Sometimes there is no factual basis for the response at all. Some engineers are taught that to consider responding positively to these requests is wrong and there are several reasons for this. Peer pressure is one major reason. Another reason is that a positive response may mean changes in organizational responsibilities. Changes that will come without corresponding increases in management privilege or compensation for the engineer. Of course, there are times when resources are inadequate to tackle new tasks. Still, if we want to provide good service to the public we need to avoid knee-jerk, negative responses. Also, to promote an organization successfully, we need to make our responses positive in nature whenever possible. Still, despite the type of response we give, we should base it strictly upon facts.

Subject Headings: Managers | Load factors | Public services


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