We’ve all seen the movie or read the book where the hero gets three wishes and then spends the rest of their time trying to make the right decisions. This brings up an interesting point for IT managers: if you had 3 wishes that you could use to make your current job better, what would they be?
I’ve taken the time to sit down with a number of IT managers and I asked them this question. As you can imagine, a lot of their answers were all over the map (they ALL wanted to be paid more!) However, after sifting through the various unrealistic requests, I found three common themes for what IT managers really want.
During the course of an average day, how do you determine what you are going to work on? The IT managers that I talked to told me that what they really wanted from their job was self-directing freedom – the ability to pick and choose what they are going to work on next.
The thinking goes that we’re all professionals here. We don’t really need a lot of close supervision because we all know what we need to be doing. If our management can provide us with good direction on where we should be steering our teams, then we’ll be able to focus on doing our best work.
The best IT managers understand that this is a very social job – you can’t keep your head down and simply send out emails all of the time. Instead, you need to be up and moving around so that you can interact with as many people each day as is possible.
To get the most out of your IT manager job, you are going to want to work with people that you both admire and get along with. At the same time, since you (and your team) will be part of a group you want to feel a sense of belonging. If you can achieve both of these things at the same time, then you’ll have the IT manager job that you’ve always wanted.
IT managers tend to get caught up in all of the important things that have to do with our job: hiring and firing team members, planning budgets, managing projects, etc. It can be very easy to overlook something that is actually pretty important: where we work.
I’m talking about the little things. You know, the location of your office, whether or not you have a pleasing work environment or just have gray paint on the walls, if your commute is easy, etc. Taken together, these all play a role in how you view your current job.
What All Of This Means For You
IT managers want to do the best job possible. If they had magical powers, almost all of them would want to make some sort of change to their current job so that they could do better work. In talking with many different IT managers, 3 common themes emerged.
The first was that they wanted autonomy to decide what work they were going to do at any given point in time. The next was that they wanted to be affiliated with a group of people that they respected and looked up to. Finally, they wanted to be able to perform their work in an attractive, positive work environment.
No, you and I probably don’t have any magical powers. However, what we do have is the ability to do two things: change our current IT job in order to make it better or to leave. Consider what you want to get out of your current IT manager job and then you can make up your mind how you are going to get it…
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
Question For You: Which do you feel is more important to you job satisfaction: autonomy or work environment?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Let me ask you the question that may have been showing up in the back of your mind even as the global economy improved: should you stay in your current IT manager job or is it time for you to go look for greener pastures? It turns out that what could be a difficult question to tackle can be solved by answering 3 simple questions…