Do you know how much time your team is spending on Facebook?

Do you know how much time your team is spending on Facebook?
Image Credit: benstein

As an IT manager you are responsible for using your IT manager skills to make sure that your team is able to accomplish the tasks that have been assigned to them. What this means for you is that you need to use your IT manager training to create a workplace atmosphere that is going to be conducive to getting work done. In the past this was relatively easy to do. We could limit what people brought to the office, we could limit the number of breaks that they took and how long those breaks lasted, etc. However, in our modern digital age there is a new distraction that we now need to start worrying about: Facebook.

Why Do People Use Social Media At Work?

A recent survey of workers has revealed that more and more workers are taking time out of their jobs to spend time on Twitter and Facebook. While they are at work they are “reteeting” and “liking” things for a whole bunch of reasons. The members of your team are logging into social media sites while they are at work for a number of different personal and professional reasons.

What is interesting is that 34% of the people who were surveyed reported that they were accessing social media sites in order to take a “mental break” from work. There were a number of other reasons why they did this. 27% said that they were doing it in order to stay in touch with both family and friends. 27% said that they were doing it to create professional connections. Finally 20% said that they were using social media sites to gather work-related information.

As an IT manager all of this use of social media sites while your team is at work should cause you to think. Clearly any time spent on these sites is going to be time that your team is not working on the tasks that you need them to be accomplishing. The big question is if time spent on social media while at work takes away from real work. Unfortunately, the survey revealed the answer to this question also. 56% of the people responding to the survey who said that they use social media for work-related tasks stated that it does distract them from the work that they need to be doing.

What Are People Looking For On Social Media At Work?

You might be surprised at what the members of your team are using social media to research. It turns out that most of us spend a great deal of our time looking up the people that we work with on social media sites. such as LinkedIn. The bad news here for you as an IT manager is that people often don’t like what they discover about the people that they are working with!

How information about other workers that is found on social media sites is going to affect the members of your team depends a great deal on how old the members of your team are. The younger the members of your team, the greater the chances that they are going to come across information that is going to lower their option of someone that they are working with. The flip side of this is that this same group of team members is more likely to come across something on social media that will improve their opinion of a co-worker.

This of course leads to the important question: should you be taking steps to limit access to social media while your team members are at work. It may not benefit you. The survey revealed that about 50% of the respondents worked for companies that had a policy in place about how social media was to be used. Additionally, about a third said that their companies had a policy regarding their behavior while on social media sites. However, 77% of the respondents said that they use social media while at work no matter what their company’s policy is.

What All Of This Means For You

Let’s face it – you’ve got a real problem on your hands. There is no way that the people who are members of your IT team are going to spend all of their time while at work working on what you have assigned them. However, as an IT manager it is your responsibility to make sure that they are as productive as they can be.

Social media sites can have a powerful draw on the members of your team. The reasons that they’ll log in while they are at work are many and varied. The primary reason is to stay in touch with family and friends. However, there are many other reason also. Workers access social media sites in order to take a mental break from work. When workers do access social media sites, they are often looking for information on the people whom they work with. Younger workers are more likely to change how they think of a coworker based on what they find out about them online. IT managers may try to prevent members of their team from accessing social media sites while at work, but this rarely works.

As an IT manager it is your responsibility to make sure that your team can deliver on the projects that you’ve promised to complete. Social media can be very big distraction for your team. You need to have a talk with your team and remind them how important the work that they are doing is. No, you probably can’t stop them from using social media while at work, but you may be able to bring their attention back to the work and the IT team building that you need to have them complete.

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

Question For You: If you discover that one of your team members is spending too much time on social media while at work, what steps should you take to fix this problem?

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

So let’s be clear about this: I am all for more security when it comes to my credit cards. On more than one occasion I’ve discovered that somebody out there has “cloned” my credit card and is running around town buying things with it. The good news is that the credit card company detects what is going on and shuts the card down, the bad news is that I have to wait a week until new cards show up that I can use. Visa has a fix for this problem; however, it’s looking like someone didn’t use their IT manager skills because their fix might be worse than the problem that they are trying to solve!

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IT managers need to know what kind of mistakes they need to avoid

IT managers need to know what kind of mistakes they need to avoid
Image Credit: Chris & Karen Highland

As we work towards trying to become better IT managers, we tend to focus on our IT manager skills in order to determine either what we are not currently doing or what we could be doing better. However, it turns out that there is something else that we need to be doing: making sure that we don’t do things that we should not be doing. The first step in making this happen is to ensure that we understand what we must not be doing.

Don’t Transition To The Team

One of the biggest mistakes that an IT manager can make occurs as we transition from being individual contributors to becoming IT managers. There’s no doubt that this is a big transition for all of us. We may have been a very good worker who rose to the top of our team and this is why we’ve been selected to now lead the team. However, if we don’t have the skills that it’s going to take to lead a team and if the company doesn’t know enough to invest in our IT manager training, then we’re going to find ourselves in a situation where we’re not sure what we should be doing next.

Things can also get tricky depending on where you came from. If you were hired into a company to be an IT manager, then this is going to put you at a disadvantage. Every company has their own way of doing things. What this means for you is that in order to be a successful IT manager, you are going to have to take the time to learn the unique aspects of managing at your company.

Lack A Consistent Approach

When it comes to helping the members of your team manage their careers or evaluating their current performance, what everyone is wants is for you to be consistent. What this means is that if they can then figure out the rules of the game, they’ll understand what it’s going to take to be successful as a part of your team. This won’t happen if you don’t take the time to help the members of your team to understand how things work at your company or coach them on what they need to do if they want to develop and stretch themselves.

You may have a lot of great suggestions for how the members of your team can better themselves. However, if you don’t make the effort to go out and talk to them about the things that they need to be doing, then it’s just not going to happen. Waiting for the members of your team to seek you out will never produce the results that you are looking for.

Time Management

As IT managers the one thing that we all realize is that there is precious little time in each of our days. Both the company and our own teams demand a lot of our time and this leaves us with very little in which to get the things that we are expected to get done done. We actually have to manage our time so that we’ll have enough time to manage our team!

The key to success for any IT manager is to make sure that we are doing a good job of communicating with our team. It can be all too easy to get caught up in focusing on the tasks that need to be accomplished and coordinating with the people who make up the rest of the company and forget that we have a responsibility towards our team. You need to be constantly evaluating how well you are interacting with the members of your team and adjusting your communications efforts based on how you are doing.

What All Of This Means For You

Becoming a good IT manager means that we need to spend our time doing the things that really matter (like IT team building). It turns out that there is a flip side to this task. It also means that we need to be careful to not spending our time doing things that we really should not be doing. This means that we need to be aware of three things that no IT manager should be doing.

One of the biggest challenges that an IT manager can face can show up when we first become IT managers. Transitioning from being an individual contributor to being an IT manager requires us to change our thinking. Now we have to think in terms of what is best for the team, not just what’s best for us. Consistency is also something that an IT manager needs to bring to the table. Our teams need to be able to understand what we want them to do in both their careers and their job performance. It’s not easy being an IT manager and so this means that we need to make sure that we allocate time to both manage our teams and communicate with them.

In our quest to become better IT managers, it can be all too easy to focus on the things that we need to be doing. However, we also have to be aware that good IT managers get that way by not doing certain things. If we can avoid doing the things that will distance us from our teams then we can be successful. Take the time to evaluate how you are doing you job and make sure that you are not doing any of these three things.

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

Question For You: If you find that you don’t have enough time to manage your team, what steps can you take to find the needed time?

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

As an IT manager you are responsible for using your IT manager skills to make sure that your team is able to accomplish the tasks that have been assigned to them. What this means for you is that you need to use your IT manager training to create a workplace atmosphere that is going to be conducive to getting work done. In the past this was relatively easy to do. We could limit what people brought to the office, we could limit the number of breaks that they took and how long those breaks lasted, etc. However, in our modern digital age there is a new distraction that we now need to start worrying about: Facebook.

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