Interview Two Managers or Business Professionals

This assignment has one purpose: to help you develop your present and future capabilities as a manager or business professional. What you will learn through this assignment is not traditional “book learning” based on memorization and regurgitation, but practical knowledge and skills that help managers and other business professionals perform their jobs better. Lessons from some of the assignments—for example, goal setting—can be used for immediate benefit. Other lessons will obviously take time to accomplish, but you can still benefit now by making specific plans for future improvement.

Step 1: Interview two practicing managers.

In her book Becoming a Manager: Mastery of a New Identity, Harvard Business School professor Linda Hill conducted extensive interviews with 19 people in their first year as managers. To learn firsthand what it’s like to be an accountant, marketing professional, economist, financial analyst, or manager, interview two professionals or managers in different areas of expertise that you know, asking them some of the same questions, listed below, that Hill asked her managers. Be sure to interview managers with different levels of experience. Interview one person with at least five years’ experience as a manager and then interview another person with no more than two years’ experience as a manager. Ask the managers these questions:

1.   Briefly describe your current position and responsibilities.

2.   What do your subordinates expect from you on the job?

3.   What are the major stresses and challenges you face on the job?

4.   What, if anything, do you dislike about the job?

5.   What do you like best about your job?

6.   What are the critical differences between average managers and top-performing managers?

7.   Think about the skills and knowledge that you need to be effective in your job. What are they, and how did you acquire them?

8.   What have been your biggest mistakes thus far? Could you have avoided them? If so, how?

Step 2: Prepare to discuss your findings.

Write a two page report documenting the questions and answers including the conclusions that you made from your interview data.  Paper should be double spaced, one inch margins, Times New Roman 12pt font, and a title page.

Source: L. A. Hill, Becoming a Manager: Mastery of a New Identity (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1992).