The road from AV technician to management is not always direct. Certainly, there are the fundamental skills and attributes you need in order to move from tech to lead (for more on that, read here), but the route to promotion isn’t always linear or all that clearly marked.
What we do know, is that a great AV technician with good fundamental skills is primed to move into management. They are knowledgeable, reliable, thorough. They’ve got good communication skills and know how to handle customers on the job site. And more than that, they have to understand that their Technical Operations Manager is swamped. While the Ops Manager is in charge of the job, their days are filled with juggling meetings with upper management and clients, all while monitoring budget concerns, schedules, parts orders, and troubleshooting day-to-day disasters. If they’re the equivalent of commissioned officers, what they need are reliable, knowledgeable and trustworthy sergeants out in the field running interference for them.
So, how do you get from field technician (foot soldier) to field manager (sergeant)?
Let’s explore three fundamental routes an AV technician can take to go from hands in, to hands off.
Sometimes it just happens. Okay, I know that sounds too easy, but think about it. You have a team that’s taxed on both ends -- managers who are trying to keep a job on time, on a budget, and on quality, and technicians who are racing to get the work done. Who better to act as the intermediary than someone who can do everyone else’s job.
If you’ve proven yourself to be trustworthy, reliable, knowledgeable, punctual and have good communication skills, then you’re naturally going to be given more and more responsibility.
Find A Hole And Fill It
Okay, so let’s say you’re everything you should be, but no one is offering you a bump up. If you think you’re ready, ask for more responsibility. Make it your job to ensure that the job site is kept clean, that the customer is happy, that everyone is following procedure. This is not to say that you make yourself the self-appointed boss, but if you manage to keep an eye on the big picture of an install rather than just your little plot of ground, you’ve put yourself in the position to become indispensable. There are many managers out there who are simply too busy to stop and look for the help they need.
If you want it, you’re going to have to ask for it.
Go Out And Get It
It’s possible that you’re doing everything you should be: you’re motivated, reliable, trusted and a great mentor to the other guys in the field. And yet, you still can’t find a way to move up in your company.
If that’s the case, it very well might be time to move on. Not every company is well-suited or prepared to foster in-house talent. Or perhaps they’ve given you the added responsibility but are not in a position to bump up your compensation. This is the time make sure your resume is up to date, and get in touch with a trusted and knowledgeable recruiter.
There’s a great deal of opportunity out there today for motivated and well-rounded techs, make sure you don’t get left behind!