A good IT team has someone from each generation on it

A good IT team has someone from each generation on it
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IT managers dread the day that they have to manage certain generations – we don’t have the IT manager skills to deal with this situation. Whatever generation the IT manager belongs to should be easy to manage – they know how that generation thinks. It’s all the other generations that cause the problems. However, it turns out that what we need to be doing is building teams that are open to all generations. Just exactly how are we supposed to go about doing that?

How We Like To Communicate

As an IT manager one of the most important things that you need to realize about managing multiple generations is that we all communicate differently. In the modern workplace there are multiple different ways that we can share information with each other and we all have different preferences as to how we accomplish this.

The younger generations, the millennials, like to use the most modern of communication tools. These are the employees who will tweet their questions and use Instagram and Snapchat to connect with other members of their teams. The slightly older Generation X members of your team will prefer to use email for almost all of their communications. Finally, the baby boomers will rely on voice conversations conducted over the telephone or in person.

As an IT manager you need to appreciate that everyone will have their own preferred means of being contacted. Instead of trying to get everyone to conform to one method, your job is to facilitate the communication between team members. One way to make this happen is to create and distribute a spreadsheet that lists each person on your team and their preferred method of being contacted. It turns out that most people will get in touch with each other using the preferred method if they know that the person has a preference.

How We Like To Be Managed

All of that IT manager training that we’ve had dealt with IT team building but never really taught us how to deal with trying to manage people who had very definite ideas about how they wanted to be managed. When you are managing a team that has multiple generations on it, you’re going to have a challenge because each generation has their own ideas about how they want to be managed.

You are going to be dealing with two differing approaches to how your team wants to be managed. The older members of your team are going to believe that everyone needs to earn their place on the team and that this takes time – you have to work your way up the ladder. The younger members of your team are going to want to have their voices heard right off the bat – they don’t want to have to wait to reach a certain level for their thoughts to be part of the decision making process.

One way to handle this challenge is to create a flat management structure to use for your team. This can allow leaders to emerge on a per project basis depending on each worker’s unique set of skills and talents.

What All Of This Means For You

IT managers are facing a challenge that has not been seen in the workplace before: we have three different generations that are all working together. It is our responsibility to build teams that are inviting to each generation and allows them to work together.

A key part of making this happen is to understand that everyone likes to communicate differently. Acknowledge this and make it easy for everyone to know how everyone wants to be reached. Projects need to have a flexible management structure. The younger workers will want a way for their voices to be heard and you need to accommodate that.

The good news is that as an IT manager you’ve got an incredibly diverse workforce to choose from. Your big challenge will be in creating teams that people want to join. Take the time to understand the needs of each generation and you’ll be the IT manager that everyone wants to work for…

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

Question For You: What are the first steps that you need to take when assembling a multi-generation team?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

“More innovation, please!” This is what IT managers have been hearing on a daily basis for the past few years. I think that we all understand why we’re being asked to help out, everyone believes that we have the IT manager skills that are needed to make this happen and they believe that we’ve had the IT manager training that will allow us to make this happen. What IT managers need is just a little bit of help in discovering exactly how to go about growing some of that innovation stuff…

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How IT Managers Can Deal With Bad Bosses

by drjim on September 11, 2014

Oh, oh – what's an IT manager to do when they have a bad boss?

Oh, oh – what’s an IT manager to do when they have a bad boss?
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In a perfect world, we’d all work for the best boss ever. They would provide us with the support and resources that we needed to do our job and they’d always have time to talk with us about whatever happened to be on our minds. The reality of the world is that all too often we find ourselves working for a bad boss who may have no IT manager skills. Is it “career over” or is there something that we can do about this?

Having “The Talk”

The simplest and most direct way to attempt to solve the problem of having a bad boss is to sit down and have a talk with them. Yes, I realize that this can be very difficult to do – this type of thing is not covered in any IT manager training; however, if you ever want to have a chance to solve this problem this is going to be the first step that you have to take.

The most important thing that you are going to have to keep in mind is that you need to make this conversation about “solving the problem” and not about what is wrong with your boss. Nobody wants to be told that they are doing a bad job. A good way to approach this would be to let them know that there is something wrong with the organization and then search for ways that both of you can fix it.

What’s going to be important about this discussion is that you are going to have to let your boss know that their actions are having a negative impact on you and your team. It can’t just be that your feelings are being hurt – they may not care. Rather, you need to be able to relate their actions to negative impacts on the company’s bottom line, Try your hardest to be constructive and non-judgmental.

The Power Of A Mentor

Sometimes having a talk with your bad boss won’t fix the problem. Despite having taken this step, the problem still remains. If you find yourself in this situation, then you are going to have to take another step to try to fix the problem.

An effective next step is to reach out to your mentor for advice. If you don’t already have a mentor, then this would be the time to go out and get one. In a perfect world, your mentor would be at the same level (or higher) than your boss. This would put them in position to be able to take them aside and have a talk with them in an effort to try to solve the problem.

Even working with your mentor may not solve your problem. Some bosses are just bad. If you find that this is your case, you may need to take the next step – going around your boss and having a talk with their boss. You need to realize that by doing this you will have forever damaged your relationship with your boss. If you find yourself having to take this step, it may be time for you to start to search for other career opportunities within your company.

What All Of This Means For You

We all wish that we could have a perfect boss. One that “had our back” and one that we could rely on to give us support when we needed it. However, life doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes we end up with a bad boss.

If you find yourself in this situation, you’ve got several choices as to what you can do. The first thing that you have to do is to sit down and attempt to have a talk with your bad boss in a type of one-on-one IT team building exercise. There is always a chance that they don’t know that they are being a bad boss and this talk might be all that it takes to fix the problem. If that doesn’t work, then you need to find a mentor. A mentor may be able to step in and help you out or at the very least provide you with guidance on what your next step should be.

Nobody wants to work for a bad boss. The job of being an IT manager is hard enough without having to deal with someone that you feel is not supporting you. The most important thing to realize is that you need to deal with this issue: don’t just let it slide. Face your bad boss and fix the problem!

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

Question For You: How long do you think that you should work for a bad boss before you start looking for other 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

IT managers dread the day that they have to manage certain generations – we don’t have the IT manager skills to deal with this situation. Whatever generation the IT manager belongs to should be easy to manage – they know how that generation thinks. It’s all the other generations that cause the problems. However, it turns out that what we need to be doing is building teams that are open to all generations. Just exactly how are we supposed to go about doing that?

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What IT Managers Need To Know About Job Opportunities In The Federal Sector

September 10, 2014

One of the responsibilities that we have as IT managers is to teach others about where they can find good jobs — IT jobs and others. As kids go back to college this fall, it’s the perfect time to open their eyes to the job opportunities in the federal sector. We all know how hard […]

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4 Tips For How IT Managers Can Talk With Their Managers

August 28, 2014

So here’s an interesting question for you, what is the most important conversation that you’ll have as an IT manager? It turns out that the answer to this question is the conversation(s) that you’ll have with your management. If we can all agree that these are important, the next question is just exactly what you […]

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How Should IT Managers Deal With Their Management?

August 21, 2014

I’m not sure if there was ever a time where IT managers would blindly follow what their management told them to do, but if there were, then those days are now long gone. We live in an age where everyone, including IT managers, question everything that they are told to do. Given this, how are […]

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4 Steps For Hiring The Right People – Every Time

August 14, 2014

As an IT manager, one of your most important jobs is to hire the right people to join your IT team. The ability to do this correctly is one of our critical IT manager skills, but too few of us have ever received any IT manager training on how to do it correctly. IT managers […]

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Management Mistakes That IT Managers Make

August 7, 2014

One of the challenges of being an IT manager is that often we get very little IT manager training before we find ourselves being thrust into this position. We may have the IT manager skills needed to do the job, but we may not have the experience. The most important thing that we need to […]

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What If Another IT Manager Just Copied Your Great Innovative Idea?

July 31, 2014

As an IT manager, you are always looking to use your IT manager skills to create

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How Can IT Managers Be Innovative?

July 24, 2014

On top of all of those budgeting and staffing things that you have to do each and every day, your company is pushing you to become more innovative. Oh great, and just how is an IT manager supposed to go about doing that – have you had any IT manager training on how to innovate? […]

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Is Showing Concern A Sign Of IT Manager Weakness?

July 17, 2014

Hey, big tough IT manager. Do you ever show concern about members of your team? Should you? Is this one of those IT manager skills that we’re supposed to have? A lot of us struggle when it comes to showing genuine concern for the people who are on our teams. Deep down inside we’d like […]

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