My thoughts on being a manager

Sandie Will, Geology Manager and Writer

Sandie Will, Geology Manager and Writer

You’ve heard it before, I’m sure. Being a manager comes with an overload of responsibility not only with supervising employees but also with making sure the department is productive and successful. Metrics must be met, decisions have to be made, and guidelines must be followed. It can be a tough spot sometimes, one surrounded by stress that can keep you up at night. But if you manage employees right, the rewards will far outweigh the difficulties.

Intrinsic to how a manager performs are values and how he or she ranks those values. For instance, some managers are focused on productivity, while others are focused on quality. Some want to squeak by, while others want to be on the cutting edge. Some care about employees and some don’t.

Management can be learned. There are many books that tout the right way to manage or lead. Seminars are filled with day-long exercises on how to get employees motivated to perform better. Webinars from profound leaders are available for viewing on various mediums. All of this is good information, but it has to be applied. It has to be practiced. And this takes time. I’m still learning every day.

But what I do know is this: it’s not about me. It’s about the employees. It’s about being their advocate. It’s about their success. They are the core to it all. Empowered and encouraged employees have better self-esteem and confidence and naturally drive production. Rewarded employees will strive to be more innovative. Appreciated employees will want their team to be a success. The work will get done quicker and the long-term stability of the workforce will drive the long-term bottom line. And all the while, hopefully, having a little fun too.

My passion is my employees. Not me. Them. If they are successful, then so am I.



  1. Ray Cleaver

    Thank you for the insight, Sandy. I wish many civil engineering managers held themselves to your standard. Sadly, many don’t and it shows, especially in private consulting. Your management style reminds me of my best boss ever, Liz. She was the assistant project engineer on the Suncoast Parkway project while I was a roadway inspector. She told me once that if I ever quit she would hunt me down and kill me. It was the best compliment I ever got in my working career. Enjoy your rock hunting. On a side note, I did take a geology class at USF. Geology for Engineers. It had a lab also. You know “what kind of mineral is this?” But all I remember is learning about volcanos and earthquake faults. Not much use for engineering in Florida.

    1. Sandie Will (Post author)

      Hi Ray! So good to hear from you! Thanks for the compliments and I’m glad you think highly on my management style. I’m really enjoying my job. That’s funny about the geology class. I had the same problem – learned about all the geology at every other place except FL in several. I think it’s because it’s way cooler everywhere else lol. Hope you find another Liz soon! Take care, Sandie

  2. Sarah Kruse

    Sandie – I thought this exchange was interesting, and passed it on to my husband Tom, who teaches Engineering Geology now. Tom wrote that “We actually spend a lot of time on Florida geology in engineers –a section on coasts (all about FL), a whole day on sinkholes, a whole day on soils that are mostly about FL. And in the past we’ve only had one day or at most two on earthquakes (some years it’s been skipped entirely) and one day on volcanoes.” But it would be interesting to get more feedback from engineers. We hear a lot from our alumni who are PGs, but less so from others.

    1. Sandie Will (Post author)

      Hi Sarah – thanks for the post. It would be interesting to know what year they graduated too because, like me, it may have been a while ago. Glad this gave you some insight! Take care – Sandie

  3. Aamir

    I think management is something to keep things on their deserving positions and places. I feel this is something inside you which make you a good manager. Passion-dedication and commitments matters. Many fields make you active and many make make you lazy. It depends! what sort of work you are doing. Workers who change strings on Rig are much more active than a mud logger 😉 Similarly Structural Geologists are more active then Engineering Geologists 😉 because they have to walk a lot and planing a lot for their field tours & many faults are upto 700 Km long. Remaining active can enhance your management skills but other things also matters.
    Remember its my own thinking- Aamir

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