Handling A Promotion Is Something That An IT Leader Needs To Know How To Do

by drjim on July 9, 2009

When IT Leaders Get Promoted, That Changes EverythingIt may seem a little crazy to talk about how to handle promotions during an economic downturn, but they are still happening (hey, sometimes self-promotion yields results!) Additionally, once the world economy picks up again, there will be even more of them. What’s an IT Leader who was once “one of the guys” to do when he /she is suddenly their boss?

Definitions Count

Nell Minow is the co-founder of The Corporate Library and she’s gone through this very experience. One of the lessons that she’s learned is that how you go about defining things really counts. One of the biggest changes that Minow had to go through was how she defined “we” and “they” (we ALL use these terms everyday). What she discovered was that the wider she made her definition of “we”, the better off everyone was.

Parenting Skills Help

When all of a sudden you find yourself in charge of a group of IT professionals, you may discover just like Minow did that your built-in parenting skills are going to be called on. Your interaction with your team is going to be broken into two types of activities. They will come to you and say “Look at what I did!“, and you’ll have to say “Good job – do more!” Likewise, sometimes they will come to you and say “He took my stuff!” (budget, staff, office) and you’ll have to say “Give it back.”

What To Do Right After You Are Promoted

Immediately after you are promoted, you need to have a talk with your former colleagues. Minow points out that your relationship with them has been changed and this needs to be addressed. She used this as an opportunity to say “If you have a problem, then I have a problem.” However, at the same time she told them “I refuse to be responsible for a problem that is not brought to my attention.” Minow also insists that anytime someone brings her a problem, they also have to propose a solution to it. Not just any solution, she insists that the solution must cost less than the problem!

Final Thoughts

We all love to be promoted. It’s an acknowledgement of what we’ve been able to accomplish at our job. However, every IT Leader knows that promotions change the relationships that we’ve developed with our colleagues. These changes need to be dealt with in the open in order to allow our teams to move forward. If you can do this successfully, then you will have found a way to transform yourself from an IT manager into a true leader.

Questions For You

Have you ever been promoted to be in charge of people that you used to work with? How did that affect the relationships that you had with those people? Have you ever worked for one of your colleagues who got promoted? Did they take the time to redefine your relationship? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking. Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

It’s starting to look like the economic winter just might be getting ready to thaw. Once this happens, IT Leaders realize that they’re going to have a massive task added to their already overloaded plate – recruitment.

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