Everyone just wants to believe

Everyone just wants to believe
Image Credit: Chris

As a leader of IT professionals it is your responsibility to use your IT manager skills to get them to pay attention to you. Good luck doing that! In today’s hyper-connected, always-on world, getting the members of our team to lift their heads up from their monitors or to glance away from their smartphones is, to say the least, a real challenge. However, if you are going to be successful at this manager thing, then you have to not only get them to pay attention to you, but also get them to believe in you…

How Personal Can You Get?

All too often, we IT managers view ourselves as being quite important. Because we are important, we really don’t have a lot of time to spend talking with the people who make up our team. This means that on those all too rare occasions that we do spend time talking with our team, we keep the conversation factual and make sure that it starts and ends quickly. “Just the facts, ma’am.”

The problem with this approach to communicating with your team is that you really don’t leave them with any reason to believe in you. You come across as a cold and distant person despite all of your IT manager training. Sure, you may be in charge and I’ll do what you tell me to do, but that’s it – I’m not going to be willing to follow you. If you can overcome this and get your team to believe in you, then they will be willing to follow you.

The way that you can make this happen is by opening up. Share more of yourself with your team and you’ll become more believable. This is going to require you to get good at telling personal stories, displaying emotions, and really connecting with the members of your team..

Show Them That They Can Believe In You

I’m sure that by now you’ve heard that we all learn in different ways. A great number of us are visual learners and when it comes to believing in someone, how they come across visually is very, very important. The fancy term for what you are going to want to do is called “visual storytelling”. Your goal is to make whatever you are talking about with your team feel both immediate and real to them.

Make Saying “Yes” Easy To Do

Whenever you are interacting with your team, you are trying to get them to do something or at least to agree to do something. This may be a tough sell depending on what you are talking with them about. However, what you need to do is to take the time to not present it to them as a “big thing”. Instead, take a look at what you are trying to accomplish (the big thing), and then determine what each individual person is going to have to do. Once you know this, make sure that this is what you actually ask for – it will be much easier for the members of your team to say “yes”.

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

I hate to say it, but how successful an IT manager you are going to be may just turn out to rest on how believable you are. You have a team of IT professionals who are looking at you to lead them. They are only going to be willing to follow you if they can believe in you and so it’s going to be your job to do some IT team building and make them believe.

In order to convince your team that you are believable, you are going to have to open up and get personal. Next you are going to have make your team feel what you are trying to get them to believe in and pictures and videos will help. Finally, you want them to agree to follow you and so you are going to have to make it easy for them to say “yes”.

In this modern age we spend precious too little time thinking about what it actually means to be believable. However, it turns out that if you want your smart team of IT professionals to rally behind you and what you are trying to accomplish, then you are going to have to take the time to make yourself believable.

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

Question For You: Do you think that it’s possible to be too personal when you are trying to get your team to believe you?

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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 leading a team of IT professionals is not enough. The company is expecting your team to accomplish very specific things. What this means for you is that you are going to have to convince your team to do things that will allow you to get those goals done. In other words, you’ll need to find a way to motivate them. Just exactly how to motivate a team is something that many of us have never learned in out IT manager training; however, the good news is that the military has faced the same challenge and we may be able to learn a thing or two from them.

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Product managers can learn a lot from product managers who manage apps

IT managers can learn a lot from IT managers who manage apps
Image Credit: Jason Howie

So do you have a mobile phone? I’m willing to bet that yes, you do. No matter if you have decided to go down the iPhone route or if you’ve taken the Android path, once you get past the pretty screen that your phone came with, what probably attracted you the most were all of the applications (“apps”) that you could run on your new phone. I wonder if the IT managers who are responsible for those apps would be willing to share any of their secrets with us that would help us to boost our IT manager skills?

It’s All About Community

App IT managers realize that the ultimate success of their projects have more to do with the sense of community that using the app creates rather than the app itself. What this means for the rest of us is that when someone buys our IT project, we need to welcome into our IT user family. We also have to be continuously doing things to remind them that they are part of an active and engaging group of people who are all trying to do the same thing that they are doing.

You’ve Got To Go With Your Gut

We live in a world that is awash with data. App IT managers probably have more data on their users and how they use their current projects than the rest of us have. However, app IT managers are the first ones to say that you can’t just rely on the data and your IT manager training – sometimes you have to go with your gut. As IT managers we know that this is true. Especially when it comes to launching your next project. You’ll have a lot of data about the market that you are going after; however, in the end the decision to launch or delay will come down to what your gut tells you.

I’ll Only Buy It If It’s Cool

All too often IT managers can get caught up in all of the neat things that their project does. App IT managers are the first ones to remind us that it is a crowded market out there. If we don’t do something to make our project stand out, then we’ll never get noticed and our project will never get bought. We all know that we need to help our customers out. We know more about the projects that compete in our market space. It comes down to us to explain to our customers why they need to pick our project over all others.

Don’t Make Promises That You Can’t Keep

App IT managers are all too aware of the danger of promising things that never show up. Do this once and you’ll have a very good chance of losing your best customers. For those of us who are responsible for complicated projects that have a lot of moving parts that all have to come together in order to create the next version of the project, we also need to be very careful to manage our customer’s expectations. Don’t over promise and under deliver!

What All Of This Means To You

How cool would it be to be an app IT manager? You’d have quick turnaround and you’d always be on the outlook for the newest mobile phones so that you could test your app out. The rest of us could probably learn a thing or two from this fast moving market.

What these IT managers can teach us has to do with making sure that when people buy our project they are entering into a community of users. It’s almost a little like the IT team building that we are supposed to be doing. We need to learn to trust what our gut is telling us no matter what the data says. In order to make our project stand out in a crowded market we need to make it cooler than all of the other projects. Finally, we need to be very careful to not promise more than we can deliver.

Yes, being an app IT manager could be a great job. I suspect that it comes with its own set of unique challenges. For the rest of us, what we need to do is to pay attention to what these IT managers have to tell us and use their lessons to make our projects even more desirable to our customers.

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

Question For You: After your product has been bought, what is the best way to form a community around your product?

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 a leader of IT professionals it is your responsibility to use your IT manager skills to get them to pay attention to you. Good luck doing that! In today’s hyper-connected, always-on world, getting the members of our team to lift their heads up from their monitors or to glance away from their smartphones is, to say the least, a real challenge. However, if you are going to be successful at this manager thing, then you have to not only get them to pay attention to you, but also get them to believe in you…

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