Could It Be That Great IT Managers Are Really Great Storytellers?

by drjim on June 18, 2015

In order to do a good job of managing, you need to do a good job of telling stories

In order to do a good job of managing, you need to do a good job of telling stories
Image Credit: Loren Javier

As an IT manager you have a tough job to try to accomplish and that’s why you need so many different IT manager skills. You’ve got a team of highly skilled professionals on your team who really could be working for just about any company. It’s going to be your job to provide them with both direction on what they should be spending their time doing as well as a purpose – why should they be doing it? Looks like it’s time for some IT manager training on storytelling.

Why Stories?

One of the first questions that IT managers ask me when I start to talk to them about improving their ability to tell stories is “why?” This question is actually fairly simple to answer. Storytelling is a skill that allows the teller to explain themselves to others. By doing this, they will also develop a deeper understanding of themselves.

When you tell someone a story, you are sharing with them a journey that starts in one place and ends up in another place. The person that you are telling the story to has the ability to see both the beginning and the end of your story. How you get from the start to the finish is the key – you don’t always have to take the most efficient path. Instead, you can take the route that will allow you to cause your audience to change. It is that change that will have meaning the most for your audience.

When you are telling your team a story, how you choose to tell it is going to be critical. In order to give your story meaning, you are going to have to give it perspective. When you tell it, your voice, your emotions, etc. are all going to contribute to providing your audience with a “moment of change” when your story really hits home with them.

The Best Way For You To Tell A Story

Before you start to share a story with your team, you are going to have to be clear about what your goals are. Goals can range from what the company is trying to accomplish to trying to get your team to work more closely with other departments.

What you are going to have to realize is that anytime you tell a story to your team it is going to have to be both simple and true. What we all need realize is that at the heart of any story that you want your team to remember is going to have to be a human flaw. A mistake that you made, a judgment call that someone made that was wrong, etc. When your team hears this, they’ll start to respond to your story.

We all have great stories inside of us. We just need to discover how to let them out. Our stories can capture the attention of our teams, move them to action, and persuade them to accomplish great things. The wonderful thing is that our audiences want this to happen and they are just waiting for us to tell them a great story.

What All Of This Means For You

In this modern age in which we are currently living, it can be all too easy to get caught up in all of the clever portable electronics and powerful software that we have at our fingertips. When it comes to managing our IT team, those things need to be put away and we need to instead focus on what works for IT team building when it comes to connecting with others: telling stories.

As a manager we need to realize that becoming skilled at telling stories is going to allow us to do a better job of explaining ourselves to the members of our team. In addition, in order to tell a good story, we need to have a good understanding of ourselves and that is a critical management skill. The stories that we tell our team need to be both simple and true. Doing this will make you feel good.

In the end, your goal needs to be to both inspire and motivate your team. This is by no means an easy task. One of the most powerful ways to accomplish this is by becoming good at telling your team stories. Take the time to perfect this skill and you will have become a successful IT manager.

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

Question For You: Do you think that you should have a library of stories that you can tell at any time?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

You may not have been told this when you accepted your IT manager position, but a big part of your job has to do with using your IT manager skills to master the art of communication. No matter if it’s communicating with your team, with other teams, or even other departments in the company, part of what you’ve been hired to do is to get your message across. Do you really have any idea how to do this effectively?

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