Once you become an IT manager, you’d think that you’d pretty much made it – what more could you want? However, it’s really just the start of another journey, not the end. What makes this part of your career potentially different from the parts that came before is that you are the one who is in charge of it. How do you want things to turn out?
First Figure Out What You Want To Do
In order to be a successful IT manager, you need to be doing what you love. I know that this may sound fairly strange to most of you, perhaps just a bit too “huggy – feely”, but it turns out that it is true. In the world of IT, all too often we end up doing what we’ve fallen into and over time that can lead to burn-out and discontent with our lot in life.
A much better way of doing things is to take control of your career. This statement sounds bold, but saying it is not enough — it’s going to require you to take action. Specifically, you are going to have to ask yourself some tough questions and you’re going to have to be strong enough to take action once you discover what the answers are.
In the world of business, what interests you the most? Based on the work that you’ve done so far in your career, what did you value the most? Do you know what you are really good at?
As an IT manager, you want to take the time to fully understand what you are looking for in the rest of your IT career. This means taking the time to understand exactly what kind of work you like to do. Not every company is the same, that’s why you also have to spend time studying exactly what kind of work environments most appeal to you. Finally, what types of people do you like to work with?
Get Input From Outsiders
A great deal of the information about yourself that you are going to need in order to answer the questions that you are asking won’t come from you. The reason for this is fairly simple: we’re too close to the subject (us!) .
Because of this, we’re going to need extra help. We have three sets of people that we can reach out to: people that you work with, friends & family, and yourself.
What you are going to want to do is to collect information that will build on your understanding of yourself. Specifically, you’re looking for information on what others think that your value, work interests, and skills are. This is going to require you to reach out to everyone around you and ask them some pointed questions.
Once you’ve collected your inputs, sit down and review what you’ve been told. No one answer should dominate your thinking. Rather, you should be looking for themes that you hear from multiple people. These are going to be the clues that you are going to need in order to better understand how you should be shaping your career going forward.
What All Of This Means For You
If you really want to have an IT manager career that you will be satisfied with, then you are going to have to take charge of managing it. Your career won’t just develop on its own – you are going to have to guide it.
This means that you’re going to have to sit down and ask yourself some hard questions. You need to find out both what you enjoy doing and what you really don’t like to do. Additionally, you are going to have to ask your family, friends, and coworkers how you are perceived by others. Find out what others think your true talents (and faults) are.
Once you’ve collected this information, you’ll be well set to start to map out the kind of IT career that you really want. Ultimately you are the one who will be responsible for how it all turns out. Make sure that you take charge of your career right now!
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
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Question For You: Do you think that creating a formal career plan would help you to stay focused and stay on track?
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Congratulations, you are finally an IT manager. Does that mean that you are also an IT leader? Turns out that the answer to that question is no. So what’s the difference? Employees do what a manager tells them to do because they have to. Employees do what a leader tells them to do because they want to. Clearly we all need to find out what we need to do in order to become leaders…