How likeable you are can have a big impact on your IT manager career

How likeable you are can have a big impact on your IT manager career
Image Credit: Luca Sartoni

Forget all that Facebook “like” stuff, there is a much bigger question that you need to be able to answer. Just how likeable are you in real life? You might shrug that question off and say that it doesn’t really matter, it’s what you can use your IT manager skills to accomplish that matters, but you’d be wrong. The people who control your career want to promote people that they like. Do they like you?

What Is Likeability?

I’m pretty sure that for most of us, issues around likeability were things that we last thought of when we were back in school. However, it turns out that they are still relevant and they can play a major role in determining how our career advances. Just exactly how likable you are is going to have a big impact on how your management and you coworkers view you.

One way that your likability may be measured in the workplace is social media. Many firms now have in-house chat services and social networks. It is entirely possible that your management is keeping a close eye on these types of services in order to determine just exactly how likeable you are. If they determine that you have a lot of contacts who listen to you, then there is a good chance that you will be the one that they recruit when they want to get the word out or start to make some changes. Some firms may take things a bit further and your social network standing could have an impact on your ability to be promoted.

Video can be a big problem when it comes to managing your likeability. The reason is because it’s harder to accomplish. We are using more and more video conferencing in the workplace and so this is becoming a much bigger issue. Studies have shown that people who are watching someone on video are much more influenced by how much they like the person that they are watching instead of what the person is saying. All too often we become both stiff and emotionless when we are on video and this harms our likability.

How Can You Boost Your Likeability?

If we can agree that likeability is an important part of our career, then an important question that we are going to have to find the answer to is just exactly how do we go about getting IT manager training to increase our likeability? The good news is that likeability is not something that any of us is born with. Instead, it’s something that we’ve all learned. This means that with some practice, we can all become better at it.

There are a lot of different factors that go into how others determine how likeable we are. The first is authenticity. Do we behave in a way that feels natural to us and makes us feel comfortable or do we behave stiffly and come across as being self-absorbed? Do we show interest in others by making eye contact with them when we are talking with them and do we ask questions about their opinions? Actions like these are the ones that can help to boost our likeability.

If you want to work on your likeability, there are three “big” behaviors that you can spend your time working that will produce the largest results. The first of these is to make sure that you always make eye contact with the people that you are talking with. This shows that you are interested in them and that you have nothing to hide. Next, smile naturally when you talk. When you smile, other people have an instinctive reaction to your smile and they will automatically smile back at you and you will viewed as being more likeable. Finally, when you are speaking, vary the tone of your voice. When you do this you are able to convey both warmth and enthusiasm for what is being discussed. Once again, this will make you more likeable.

What All Of This Means For You

Somewhat amazingly in this era of smartphones and iPads, your ability to be liked by other people still matters no matter how much IT team building you do. The people who will promote you and work with you have to like you before they’ll do anything for you. This means that you need to understand how this likeability stuff works.

It’s just better to be likeable. Studies have shown that likeable people are the ones who are going to be hired, get help from other at work, have any mistakes they make be forgiven, and be able to get useful information from other people. How popular you are in online social networks can be taken by some employers as an indication of your likeability factor. In order to become more likeable you have to focus on the big three behaviors that promote likeability: eye contact, smiling, and varying your tone of voice.

The good news about likeability is that it is not something that any of us were ever born with. Instead, it is a skill that we can all learn. This means that if we apply ourselves we can become more likeable to those around us. Take the time to make yourself more likeable and you’ll discover that life just got a whole lot easier.

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

Question For You: What do you think would be the best way to determine how likeable you are today?

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

p>We’d all like to become better IT managers; however, the question is what do we need to do in order to become better? What we need is for someone to do a very large study of lots and lots of managers in order to find out what IT manager skills make a manager really good. Well, it turns out that Google has been asking these same questions and they have both the data collection and data processing abilities to come up with the answers that we need.

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Peer Reviews: Are They Worth The Hassle?

by drjim on August 18, 2016

Peer reviews can create a real headache for an IT manager

Peer reviews can create a real headache for an IT manager
Image Credit: AJ Cann

As an IT manager you would like to know who on your team is performing at their peak level and who is just coasting along. The realities of life mean that despite your IT manager skills you can’t spend all of your time with your team and so you may never be able to answer this question by yourself. However, the members of you team know who’s performing and who is not. Would permitting peer reviews help to find out who the best workers are or just provide a way for complainers to complain even more?

What’s Wrong With Peer Reviews

On the surface, a peer review sounds like a very good thing. These systems can take on a lot of different forms. Over at Amazon, it was revealed that their internal peer review system allowed other workers to send evaluations of you to your boss without you knowing about it. You can just image how a system like this could be used to gang up on a rival or for a group of workers to attempt to force out another worker that they saw a being a low performer.

The tools that are needed to collect peer review data are often already in place even if you have not received any IT manager training on how to use them. Many tools that we use for other tasks, such as Salesforce.com, contain built-in peer review tools. Many companies are reluctant to activate these peer review tools because of the impact that it will have on the organization. What they anticipate happening is a flood of petty complaints based on long standing grudges or a lot of chatter about things that just really don’t matter.

One of the biggest unanswered questions about peer reviews is if they should be permitted to be anonymous. Managers who receive this type of feedback about their employees generally consider it to be either background noise or just simple whining. If other employees are permitted to send comments to your boss about you, then it tends to create a culture that is at the same time childish and competitive. Some companies have implemented rules that the users of the anonymous systems must only say things that they would feel comfortable telling the person that they are talking about to their face.

The Right Way To Do Peer Reviews

What an IT manager really wants is constructive criticism of the members of his or her team. Nobody is perfect and so the question is how can each member become better? All too often, what happens is that an IT manager gets a lot of peer review feedback on a team member, but it’s all positive. That will make the team member feel good, but it’s not going to help the IT manager make the team better.

One way to improve the way that feedback is given is to increase how often it is collected. Some firms are collecting regular, short weekly surveys in order to find out how things are going. This allows the IT managers to give the members of their team feedback on the things that really matter. In this type of environment, anonymous peer feedback has no role to play because it is far too easy to abuse.

Most, but not all, firms still conduct annual evaluations with their employees One of the biggest questions that IT managers are dealing with is how to work more feedback into the process in order to support this annual meeting. At some firms, they have set up systems where an employee has the ability to request a manager’s feedback on their performance in some specific area (presentations, meetings, technology, etc.) at any time. The goal of this type of program is to allow team members to better themselves in real time instead of having to wait until the end of the year in order to find out what they could be doing better.

What All Of This Means For You

The advance of technology has made peer reviews possible in most workplaces. IT managers have to take a careful look at both their team and their company in order to determine if this type of review holds any value for them. There are both benefits and disadvantages to any type of peer review system.

A peer review system opens the door to team members ganging up on other members. If the system allows comments on a worker to be given to an IT manager anonymously or without the worker knowing about it, then it is almost certain that abuse will occur. A number of firms are taking steps to try to capture the value of peer reviews while avoiding their downsides. They are collecting review data more often, banning anonymous reviews, and allowing team members to request their own reviews when they think that they need them.

The technology to allow anyone in a firm to conduct a peer review of one of their peers is now available However, this is clearly a case of just because you can do something, this does not mean that you should do something. Before turning on a peer review system, IT managers need to take a close look at the peer review tools that they have available to themselves and then determine if the data that they can collect using them would make them a better IT manager and help with IT team building.

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

Question For You: If you started a peer review system and you got a lot of negative reviews on your staff, what steps should you take?

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

Forget all that Facebook “like” stuff, there is a much bigger question that you need to be able to answer. Just how likeable are you in real life? You might shrug that question off and say that it doesn’t really matter, it’s what you can use your IT manager skills to accomplish that matters, but you’d be wrong. The people who control your career want to promote people that they like. Do they like you?

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IT Managers Need To Learn How To Avoid Thinking Negative Thoughts

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Just How Important Is Gratitude To Your Team?

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Is An Innovation Contest What Your IT Team Needs Now?

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What To Do When Your Boss Is Younger Than You Are

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Are You An IT Manager Who Is Also A Schedule Wrecker?

June 16, 2016

So I’ve got a quick question for you: when you are invited to a meeting, what time do you show up for it? I guess that there are three possible answers to this question: either you show up early, you show up just as the meeting is starting, or you show up late. So which […]

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