Hey IT Manager, Are You Sending The Wrong Signals?

by drjim on January 27, 2011

It Turns Out That It's Not What You Say, But Rather How You Say It

It Turns Out That It’s Not What You Say, But Rather How You Say It

When you become an IT manager, you probably decided right there and then that you wanted to become a success. Just because you are a manager, does not guarantee that you’ll be a success – it seems to take something else, something extra. It turns out that social signals are what determines how successful an IT manager will be. Do you know what signals you are sending out?

Welcome To The World Of “Honest Signals”

Dr. Alex Pentland at MIT has been studying the social cues that we transmit to others. What he’s discovered is that we communicate with others using much more than words. What we are trying to communicate comes across in our gestures, expressions, and the tone that we use.

Dr. Pentland’s research has gone one step further. What he’s uncovered is that we have a set of non-verbal cues, what he calls “honest signals”, that do more than just communicate from us to another person. They actually cause a change in the person that we are communicating with. In other words, what we are trying to get across “rubs off” on the person that we’re interacting with.

We’ve all seen this before. If we encounter someone who is very excited and outgoing, then we’ll become excited just by talking with them. Likewise, if we bump into someone who is having the worst day of their life, then we’ll be down and glum after we talk with them.

Why Do Some IT Managers Succeed And Others Don’t?

Great, so now you’ve just found out that as an IT Manager you are going to be “leaking” information through a bunch of non-verbal cues. That’s a bummer, but does it really matter – I mean you’ve got your technical act together and you believe that you know how to run an IT department, right?

It turns out that the non-verbal cues that you are giving off do matter. What the researchers have found through study is that the more successful IT managers are also the ones who are more energetic.

What this means is that the IT Managers who are going to both last in their roles and be successful display a set of common traits. These include talking to others more while at the same time taking the time to listen to them. More of their day is spent engaging in face-to-face discussions. They are better at working with other people and they can both pick up signals from others, get them to talk more, and get them to be more outgoing overall.

What the researchers have found is that your attitude and the positive energy that you give off play a key role in your eventual success. They’ve found that spending more face time with the people with whom you work is 2.5 times more important than gaining access to additional sources of information.

What All Of This Means For You

In order for an IT Manager to be successful, it’s going to take a lot more than just having good technical knowledge. Researchers who study human dynamics have discovered what they call “honest signals” which can have a dramatic impact on your success.

These signals cause changes in the people who receive them. This means that in order to be successful as an IT Manager you need to be broadcasting the right signals. If not, then no matter how good your manager skills are, you won’t be successful.

The good news is that once you know that honest signals exist and which ones are the ones that you want to be broadcasting, then you can focus on what you are transmitting. Awareness of the impact that you have on the people that you are meeting is the key to a manager’s long-term career success…

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

Question For You: Do you think that you can change the honest signals that you are transmitting to others?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In order to maximize what you will be able to accomplish as an IT manager, you are going to have to be able to build effective teams. All too often when we are faced with a new challenge, we’ll simply look around for who’s available and draft them to be on the team that we’re putting together. Is it any wonder that all too often our teams never accomplish what they set out to do?

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