Mastering the Transition from Technical Expert to Leader

Upcoming dates (2)

Nov. 11-14, 2024


Course Overview

Increase your awareness of the common pitfalls you’ll face as you move into management, and bolster your skills and knowledge to make the transition a success.

Learn how to:

  • Identify the challenges of the transition to management
  • Examine the functions and roles of a manager versus a leader
  • Identify the skills needed to become an effective manager and leader
  • Implement effective management techniques
  • Continue improving your management performance on the job

Throughout the course, your instructor will emphasize the skills required to effectively motivate and supervise others.

Who Should Attend?

  • Engineers
  • Engineering managers
  • Technical professionals transitioning to supervisory roles

Additional Information

This course is part of the Technical Leadership Certificate. Course may be taken individually as well.

Course Outline

Day 1 AM

  • Course Introduction / Individual Introduction 
  • Your Role as a Manager and Leader
    • Traits of successful leaders
    • Differences Between Management and Leadership
    • Tiers of Leadership 
      • Individual
      • Teams
  • Delegation
  • Prioritization

Day 1 PM

  • Communication
  • Meeting Management
  • Leadership styles
  • Team Motivation 

Day 2 AM

  • Day 1 Take-away
  • Influencing Others
  • Executive Presence
  • Powerful Presentations

Day 2 PM

  • Business Skills
    • Strategy
    • Metrics
  • Performance Management
  • Employee Development
  • Hiring the Best Team
  • Bringing It All Back Together


“I have the tools to take action as a leader, regardless of what the capacity is in the future.”

"The majority of the topics this course covers are ones that I find interesting.  I believe that every topic is relevant to both personal and professional lives."

"There is a lot of really good content in this course that will benefit me in my path to leadership.  I have already started implementing some of it or thinking about things differently when I speak with the junior staff on my team, especially when I am delegating tasks."


Susan Ottmann

Susan Ottmann is the Director of Professional Programs for Interdisciplinary Professional Programs, in the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She leads the non-credit professional programs and the online masters in Manufacturing Systems. She teaches courses in technical leadership and technical project management for both credit and professional development programs.

Susan has more than 25 years of industrial engineering experience in multiple engineering, marketing, manufacturing and leadership roles for a number of multinational companies. In the 10 years prior to joining UW-Madison, she led global business for Danaher and Thermo Fisher Scientific. In these roles she was responsible for teams in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Her education includes a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and an M.S. in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon and an M.S. in Management from North Carolina State University. She is active in the Society of Women Engineers and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. In her free time, Susan volunteers with the Goodwill VITA Tax Program and is a board member for the Lake Waubesa Sailing Club.

Heather Smith

Heather Smith is a program director for the Office of Interdisciplinary Professional Programs at UW-Madison. She is responsible for the online Master’s degree program in Engineering Management and teaches Leadership and Project Management courses. Heather is known as a motivational leader with a focus on adaptability and risk management. She has over 18 years of experience in the test and measurement sector at National Instruments as both an engineer and a leader. Smith has a track record of leading high-risk projects for consumer electronics, RF, solar, and the oil and gas industries. Her focus on international projects brought together a diverse set of partners, suppliers and customers onto teams dedicated to the project goal. She credits her success with building a team culture of trust and respect, where candor, continuous learning, and building a listening culture is vibrant.

Upcoming dates (2)

Program Director

Susan Ottmann

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We can deliver this course as an on-site learning experience tailored to your organization’s specific training needs.