You don't just have to be intelligent, you have to be emotionally intelligent

You don’t just have to be intelligent, you have to be emotionally intelligent

Image Credit: Abhijit Bhaduri

Every once in awhile we ask the most important question: just exactly what does it take to be a good IT manager. I think that we can all agree that there is a certain level of intelligence that is required in order to perform the job. However, in the last few years, people have slowly started to realize that it takes more than just being smart in order to be a good IT manage. You need to be able to connect with the people that you are managing. This means that you need to have emotional intelligence.

Four Ways That IT Managers Can Become More Emotionally Intelligent

If we want to do a better job of understanding what our emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people then we need to do a better job of getting in touch with our emotions. We then have to learn how to apply that same perception and understanding to those around us.

The first thing that we need to become better at doing is becoming what is called “emotionally aware”. What this means is that we have to become more aware of ourselves. We need to pay attention to our emotions and the behaviors that they trigger. We also have to understand how these lead to specific actions and reactions on our part. The key to being emotionally aware is to have an understanding of the effect that our emotions are going to have both on us and on those around us.

Being aware is the first step, however holding your self accountable for your emotions is where you need to get to. Personal responsibility is all about being in control of both your emotions and the moods that they cause. We need to work at being able to regulate our emotions. If we can do this, then we increase the possibility that we’ll be able to avoid making bad decisions in the heat of the moment. Get good at doing this and you’ll be able to regulate your state of mind.

You’ve probably heard this one before, but IT manager success is all about confidence. You need to be confident in both yourself and in your team. What you really have to believe is that both you and the members of your team have both the skills and the ability to master any situation that you might find yourself in. This confidence will provide you with the ability to react in the correct way to whatever shows up. Additionally, by doing this you’ll be able to set an example for everyone on your team.

If you really want to connect with the members of your team then you are going to have to learn how to become them. This is all about empathy. Empathy means that you have the ability to see the world through the eyes of the members of your team. You have the ability to hear what is going on through the ears of the members of your team. Finally, you are able to feel what your team is feeling at any moment in time. If you can get good at doing this, then you will be able to open new levels of understanding and communication with your team.

What All Of This Means For You

Our careers as IT managers depends on the team that we are managing. We need them to be performing at a high level in order to maximize the output of our team. However, this is never an easy thing to do. Every team is made up a mix of people with different wants, needs, and outlooks on life. As an IT manager you are going to have to develop the emotional intelligence needed in order to connect with your team.

Developing emotional intelligence starts with you getting in touch with your emotions and starting to understand how your emotions affect people around you. Next you have to start to hold yourself accountable for your moods and emotions. Use your mastery of your emotions to create confidence and share your confidence with your team. Use all of these skills to develop your sense of empathy so that you can truly connect with your team.

Developing your emotional intelligence is hard work. However, the benefits are well worth the effort. By taking the time to develop the ability to connect with the members of your team, you can start to be able to truly lead your team in the direction that you want them to go. You will no longer have to tell them where you want them to go, they will want to follow you there.

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

Question For You: Do you think that developing emotional intelligence is a form of team manipulation?

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

One of the most important parts of your job is communicating with the people who are looking to you for guidance. Just exactly how to go about doing this in an effective way is a big challenge that every IT manager faces every day. The great thing about living and working in the 21st Century is that we have a number of different ways to accomplish this task: email, phone calls, text messages, and making presentations. Of all of these different techniques, making a presentation is the technique that has been shown to be the most effective.

{ 0 comments }

IT managers can kill employee motivation if they are not careful

IT managers can kill employee motivation if they are not careful

Image Credit: Toni Blay

Let’s face it – you’re stuck with the IT team that you have. Oh sure, over time people will leave and new ones will join, but you have basically been given a team and the company expects you to make the most of them. Using your IT manager skills you need to find ways to get the most out of your team. This all comes down to motivation: convincing your team to pull together in order to accomplish great things. We can spend a lot of time thinking about how to better motivate our team, but there is something else that we need to think about: how to not kill the motivation that they already have!

Four Killers Of An IT Team’s Motivation

So what does it take to kill your IT’s team’s motivation? Sadly, not all that much. As an IT manager you need to be aware that your actions are always being watched by your team. This means that what you do can have a significant impact on how motivated they are. Here are four things that you really, really don’t want to be doing:

  • Allowing Toxic People To Join Your Team: If there is anything that can kill a team’s productivity faster than when a toxic person joins the team, I’m not sure what it is. Toxic people spend their time spreading negativity and suffocating the positive energy that your team generates. As an IT manager you need to take steps to prevent these people from joining your team in the first place. If for whatever reason you can’t prevent this from happening, then you need to use your manager authority to make sure that you minimize the damage that they cause.
  • Denying The Team Professional Development Opportunities: So here’s a fact for you: back in the 60’s, the information that you learned while getting a college degree was useful for about 20 years. These days that number has decreased to about 3 years. The members of your team are highly aware of this and they are looking for ways to keep their skills sharp. Just like you need IT manager training, your team also needs ongoing professional training. You need to work with each member of your team and create a professional development plan for them that will meet their unique needs.
  • Missing Vision: Why does everyone come in to work each day? What is the purpose of the work that they do? If you want to keep your team motivated you have to be able to provide them with answers to these questions. Taking the time to provide them with a clearly communicated vision will set their direction and will let people know where to focus their efforts.
  • Wasting Time: None of us, including the members of your team, ever have enough time to get everything done. That’s why if you schedule and invite them to meetings that have no purpose or if you insist on filling up their email in-boxes with nonessential junk mail, you will be seen as wasting their time. The result of doing this is that it’s likely that your workers are going to be deeply frustrated. What you need to be doing is showing people you value them by showing them you value their time. Consider this to be one more way to accomplish IT team building.

What All Of This Means For You

As IT managers it is very easy for us to focus on the things that we can easily control. We know that it is a key part of our job to find ways to get the most out of our teams. This all comes down to finding ways to boost their productivity. What we need to be very careful about is to make sure that we don’t make mistakes and doing things that will kill their productivity.

An IT team’s productivity can be easily killed by our careless actions. If we allow Toxic people to join our teams or don’t take the time to marginalize them if they do, then their influence can have a negative effect on what our team can accomplish. All teams know that their skills are slipping away day by day. This means that creating personalized professional development plans is a must have. If your team doesn’t know where they are going, then you can’t expect them to be productive. You need to give them a clear vision. Finally, time is our most valuable resource. Make sure that you are not wasting your team’s time.

The good news about IT team motivation is that it really does not cost anything. If you become aware of what your team’s level of motivation is and you take steps to not kill it, you can get more out of your team. Your success as an IT manager will be based on what you can get your team to accomplish. In the end, you won’t be able to make them do anything, they are going to have to want to do the things that you need them to do. Be very careful to not kill their motivation and you just might be surprised at what they can accomplish.

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

Question For You: What do you think is the best way to measure the current motivation level of a team?

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

Every once in awhile we ask the most important question: just exactly what does it take to be a good IT manager. I think that we can all agree that there is a certain level of intelligence that is required in order to perform the job. However, in the last few years, people have slowly started to realize that it takes more than just being smart in order to be a good IT manage. You need to be able to connect with the people that you are managing. This means that you need to have emotional intelligence.

{ 0 comments }

Why IT Leaders Need To Know How To Go Find Complaints

January 28, 2016

With a little luck, as an IT manager you believe that your team does good work. After all, your IT manager skills are designed to allow you to get more out of your team and the thinking is that if you get good at doing this, then you’ll be able to deliver more of what […]

Read the full article →

What IT Managers Can Learn From The Sony Hacking Scandal

January 21, 2016

What would you do if your company’s electronic network defenses were breached by outsiders? We spend a lot of time and effort and use our IT manager skills as part of every project that our teams implement in order to make sure that things like this don’t happen. However, there is always the possibility that […]

Read the full article →

IT Managers Need To Know: When Is A Fight More Than A Fight?

January 14, 2016

Let’s face it: not everyone on your team is always going to get along with everyone else on their team. As an IT manager it is your job to keep an eye on things and to make sure that things don’t get out of hand. However, you can’t be everywhere all the time. What this […]

Read the full article →

Why GM Created A Team Of 8,000 Programmers

January 7, 2016

So IT manager, how many people are on your team? How hard is it to keep track of them and what they are currently working on? I’m willing to bet that it probably takes up most of your available time. Over at GM they just hired 8,000 new developers. How would you like to manage […]

Read the full article →

Why IT Managers Are Getting Rid Of Negative Feedback

December 17, 2015

How do you feel about giving performance reviews to the members of your IT team each year? If you are like most of us, these are a big deal – you’ve got a lot of information to communicate and you are going to have to work to say it correctly. Most of us view this […]

Read the full article →

What An IT Manager Should Do If An Employee Becomes An Online Star

December 10, 2015

Hello IT manager. I’ve got a quick question for you: who is more famous, you or the members of your team? Most of the time we’d say that we’re more famous, I mean after all we’re managers with IT manager skills and the members of our team are just front line workers. However, now that […]

Read the full article →

IT Managers Know That The Best Employees Know How To Fail

December 3, 2015

Managing an IT team has always been a challenge and with the recent economic challenges that every firm has faced, it has become harder. What IT managers are discovering is the members of their team are shell shocked. They are stuck in survival mode in which they are trying to keep their heads down just […]

Read the full article →

Why All IT Managers Need To Have Creative Confidence

November 19, 2015

If you give it some thought, just exactly what does an IT manager need to do in order to be successful? Is it as simple as just doing what you’ve been told to do? I’d be willing to say that this is not the correct answer to this question. Instead, I think that our company […]

Read the full article →