Management in the upstream oil and gas industry comes in many forms. From branch and area managers to office and account managers, field managers and engineering managers, the managerial workforce is not just the middle-management backbone of the industry – it is the core of most company operations and makes up almost 10% of the direct O/G workforce.
Regardless of what is being managed, a manager in the upstream workforce is often the person in charge of getting things done, regardless of whether it’s their job to do so or not. Sales managers have to understand technical aspects of their offerings often well beyond even those in the field working with those technologies. Operations managers have to know every aspect of their company’s inner workings with a breadth of knowledge that most doctoral students couldn’t understand. The office manager has to know everything from how to find and contact someone in the field to where the extra pens are.
And often, the upstream manager is the lightning rod for anything that goes wrong in the company and last to hear a kind word of appreciation for taking care of those things. No matter what is being managed, the general description of a manager in the upstream sector encompasses skills well beyond the job description. People skills (which include those requisite of a psychiatrist) are a given as the manager has to keep the workforce moving forward and the leadership satisfied that shortcomings aren’t going to affect the bottom line. Time management skills are more like tightrope walking to ensure everything and everyone is being dealt with effectively. Stress management doesn’t refer to their own stress.
The typical textbook on “being an effective manager” may apply, but it would most certainly fall well short of what the upstream manager really must understand in order to be effective.
Besides the acknowledgement here of the unique difficulty of what being an upstream manager entails, this article speaks to those who rely on managers more than the managers themselves. Any job that does not encompass “manager” in the title generally focuses on one thing. That focus should be central to accomplishing what that job is tasked to accomplish. But that job is one among dozens in many companies that rely on the manager for solutions and assistance. Always keep that in mind when demanding such help from a manager. You’re in a long line of people demanding their time. Being in an upper level VP position certainly carries its own stresses, which often are forced downward at a manager. And often, there are several upper level leaders directing that stress at a single person – the manager. The old adage that s*** rolls downhill applies. But for a manager, it rolls uphill as well.
As the O/G industry carries with it stressors far more complex than just about any other industry as keeping up with the fast paced changes it is experiencing is difficult, it is vital to keep in mind that those stressors that come from the top and from the “bottom” are all being aimed at the manager. Try simply saying thanks once in a while.