IT managers need to take an active role in managing their career plans

IT managers need to take an active role in managing their career plans
Image Credit:
Javier Arce

Congratulations, you’ve got a job. Now, let’s talk about what happens next. There are a lot of different ways that this can play out. Perhaps you come into work one day and decide that this job now bores you and that you’d like to get a new one. Or perhaps your boss calls you into his / her office and lets you know that the company has come up with a way to save money that no longer involves you. No matter what causes it, change is going to come your way. You’re not going to be ready for it if you haven’t taken the time to use your IT manager skills to create a career blueprint.

Your Job Is Too Small

So it turns out that the size of the job that you are currently doing really does matter. If it turns out that it’s too small, you are never going to be happy doing it. What you need to do is every so often do a quick double check on your current job. Is it fully engaging you? While you are performing your job do you find that your mind is wandering to other things. If it is, then this may be a clue that your current job is too small for you.

What you are going to have to do is to make sure that you set aside some time every so often to have a discussion with yourself. Your needs are always going to be changing as you get more and more IT manager training, what you are going to want to ask yourself is if your job is still meeting your current needs and interests. Every job has some things that you’ll enjoy doing and things that you don’t like doing. What you need to do is to identify both groups so that you’ll know what to look for in your next job.

You Don’t Want To Plan Your Career

As an IT manager, your days are probably full. You’ve got a team to manage, goals to achieve, and a lot of different things that seem to asking for your attention. This is why it can become all too easy to do a poor job of telling other people about all of the great things that you’ve been able to accomplish. No, we not talking about bragging, you just want to have the ability to let people know what you’ve been able to do.

There is a name for this, it’s called career inertia. This is what happens to an IT manager when they don’t know how to do a good job of telling others about all of the things that they have been able to accomplish. All too often this can start to cause us to experience anxiety and perhaps even depression. We need to get better at communicating our accomplishments to others so that when we get ready to advance our career, we’ll be able to tell others what we’ve done.

You’ve Stopped Being Special

Each and every one of us is special in some way. You have a set of skills that nobody else has. All too often in our careers we become known in our workplace for having a set of skills or for playing a particular type of role. What then happens is when people ask us what we do, we use these old identifiers to describe ourselves. The end result of this is that people will never know about our new achievements or any new skills that we’ve picked up along the way.

What we need to do is to get good at telling other people what we do. One way to go about this is to get a coworker to tell us what they do and then tell them an updated version of what we do. Another good idea is to keep what is called a “career journal” where you write down all of the projects that you’ve worked on, your updated objectives, and any new certifications that you’ve achieved. Doing this will allow you to collect in one place all of the stories that highlight your strengths, team work, and leadership abilities.

What All Of This Means For You

As IT managers we are the one and only person who is in charge of our career. It can be all too easy to get caught up in a lot of different things that cause us to forget about moving our career forward. What we need to do is to take the time to create a career blueprint so that we’ll know the correct way to move forward. Think of this as being a personal form of IT team building.

The first part of creating a career blueprint is to take a look at the job that we currently have. Is it possible that it may be too small for us? While we are working, do we find ourselves dreaming about doing other things? If so you may need to determine what you both like and don’t like about your current job as you start to search for your next job. A number of us don’t really want to take the time to map out our career blueprint. When this happens we are experiencing career inertia. We need to start doing a better job of communicating what we’re working on to others. How we describe what we do can get stuck in the past. We need to start to keep a career journal and then practice telling other people what we are currently working on.

You are the person who cares the most about your career. This means that when it comes time to create a career blueprint, it’s going to be up to you to create it. Take the time to look at your current job and then use what you learn to determine what you’d like your next step to be. You can build a better future for yourself, you just need a career blueprint to do it!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: If your current job is too small, can you think of any way to make it larger without having to switch jobs?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Just in case you have somehow not gotten the message, if you want to build the best IT team that will be able to help you succeed in your career, you are going to want to use your IT manager skills and make it as diverse as you possibly can. Having all of those people with different backgrounds ensures you that you’ll get the different opinions and solutions that a team needs in order to be successful. However, there’s a problem here. The hiring process that you use is broken – it has bias built into it and you’ll never get the diverse employees that you so desperately need. What’s an IT manager to do?

{ 0 comments }

Humor needs to be used very carefully at work

Humor needs to be used very carefully at work
Image Credit: Be.Futureproof

How funny are you? Who says so? We all love a good joke, but when we are at work the issue of humor can get tricky very quickly. The things that make us laugh may be inappropriate to being discussed in the workplace. We need to be very careful what jokes we choose to tell to the members of our team lest we end up offending anyone inadvertently (or on purpose). Even with all of the risks that come along with humor in the workplace, it is still a powerful tool. What’s the best way for us to use maximize out IT manager skills and use humor on the job?

The Challenge Of Using Humor While At Work

The good news about employing some humor while you are at work is that it can make you look good to other people. IT managers who have the ability to make other people laugh will go up in other people’s opinion of them. Others will start to see you as being more self-confident, competent, and perhaps even just a bit higher in status. Getting people to laugh is clearly a powerful thing to accomplish for an IT manager. However, at the same time we need to keep in mind that humor is a two-edged blade and with no IT manager training if we tell just one inappropriate joke at work, then our reputation can suffer a blow that it may not be able to recover from.

The reason that humor can have such an effect on how others view us is because people see the use of humor as a sign of intelligence. Your ability to successfully tell a joke while at work shows to other people that you are sensitive to people’s tastes and moods.

As the leader of a team, you can use humor to modify how your team views you. Leaders who are known for telling jokes can come across to their team as being both more competent and confident. Humor comes with an additional benefit. If you use humor when you are communicating with your team, then that humor will appear to bring you down to their level. The result is that you will appear to be both more vulnerable and human to them.

How To Handle Humor Correctly

One of big questions that you need to find an answer to is how does your team currently view you? The use of humor when you are communicating with your team can have the effect of transforming how your team views you. If you are not the type of manager who tells jokes, don’t worry about it. It turns out that if you tell an appropriate joke and it falls flat, your reputation will still go up for simply trying to tell the joke. However, if you tell an inappropriate joke you are putting your reputation at risk.

The challenge that IT managers face when they attempt to use humor at work has to do with if it is appropriate. You are going to have to do some thinking before you try to make people laugh. What you are going to want to do is to evaluate the current setting that you find yourself in and determine if the joke that you want to tell really fits here. Is your joke going to fit with or clash with the gathered people’s tastes? Why are these people gathered together – is this really the time for you to be telling a joke?

Humor is a powerful tool when used correctly. There are a number of times that as IT managers we may find ourselves in a somber conversation with an individual or a group of people. A careful evaluation of the situation will need to be done, but this might be the time to introduce some humor. Be very careful before you do and in situations like this, always try to error on the side of caution.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the most powerful tools that IT managers have for communicating with their teams and performing IT team building is humor. However, humor can be very dangerous – what makes me laugh may not make you laugh. There are many risks that come along with trying to use humor in the workplace. However, IT managers who can use humor correctly can do a good job of using it to bond with their teams.

Humor is a powerful force. People who use humor are seen by other people as being more self-confident and competent. However, if you use inappropriate humor you are putting your hard won reputation at risk. Humor is a way to let your team know that you are intelligent. Using humor with your team will make you appear to be more “real” and will bring you down to their level. Before using humor on a group of people, you need to first determine if this is the time and the place for you to be sharing this joke with this group of people.

We all want to be liked in the workplace. I think that we see humor as a way for us to “fit in” with the members of our team. However, we need to understand that humor is a very personal thing and just because something is funny to us, does not mean that it is funny to anyone else. Yes you can use humor in the workplace, but you are going to have to be very, very careful when you do.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Can you think of a time that it would be inappropriate for you to use humor at work?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Congratulations, you’ve got a job. Now, let’s talk about what happens next. There are a lot of different ways that this can play out. Perhaps you come into work one day and decide that this job now bores you and that you’d like to get a new one. Or perhaps your boss calls you into his / her office and lets you know that the company has come up with a way to save money that no longer involves you. No matter what causes it, change is going to come your way. You’re not going to be ready for it if you haven’t taken the time to use your IT manager skills to create a career blueprint.

{ 0 comments }

How IT Managers Can Deal With A Demanding Boss

April 5, 2018

Oh, oh, you’ve just discovered that you are now working for a demanding boss. More and more often despite your IT manager skills, you are finding yourself in a no-win situation. Your boss is assigning you projects that have due dates that are way too short. Or else your new boss is always trying to […]

Read the full article →

What Is A Smart Way For IT Managers To Brag?

March 22, 2018

As IT managers, we work hard. We have a lot of different things on our plate at any given point in time to apply our IT manager skills to: projects, new technology evaluations, and simply trying to keep our team together and moving forward. That’s why when we are actually able to accomplish something it […]

Read the full article →

How IT Managers Can Do A Good Job Of Delivering Bad News

March 15, 2018

Let’s face it, as IT Managers we’d all like to be liked. We enjoy the parts of our job that are fun. It makes us happy when another large IT project is successfully rolled out. However, life is life and part of our job is that when there is bad news to be delivered, we’re […]

Read the full article →

How IT Managers Can End Boring Meetings

March 1, 2018

You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all attended boring meetings. We probably didn’t want to go in the first place but our IT manager training didn’t show us how to avoid attending. When we got there we really didn’t care about the things that were being discussed. Once it was all over, we promptly […]

Read the full article →

How To Avoid Killing Your IT Team’s Motivation

February 22, 2018

As an IT manager, your performance is going to be judged by what your team is able to accomplish. What this means is that it is your responsibility to use you IT manager skills to motivate them to work hard to complete the tasks that you assign to them. This motivation thing turns out to […]

Read the full article →

IT Managers Need To Learn How To Do Altercasting

February 15, 2018

As an IT manager you are responsible for a group of IT professionals. What you need to do is to use your IT manager skills to clearly communicate to them what tasks have to be accomplished, when they are due, and who on your team is going to be responsible for doing what. Although this […]

Read the full article →

How IT Managers Can Deal With Negative Thoughts

February 8, 2018

As IT managers, we are always expected to be “up”. That means that when our management comes to us with a new assignment, we use our IT manager skills to say “yes”. When members of our team come to us and ask for help we use our IT manager training to say “yes”. Basically, everyone […]

Read the full article →

Do Your Team Members Need “Me Days”?

February 1, 2018

As an IT manager, you need to always be searching for ways to use your IT manager skills to get the most out of the team that you are managing. Your team is made up of highly trained IT professionals and with a little luck, they come in each day and really apply themselves to […]

Read the full article →