Is It A Good Thing For IT Managers To Worry?

by drjim on March 17, 2016

Did we get this all wrong – is worrying a good thing to be doing?

Did we get this all wrong – is worrying a good thing to be doing?
Image Credit: Francesco

Is it possible to be too upbeat? IT managers have been told for a long time that having a cheery disposition is one of our critical IT manager skills not only for getting our work done, but also for being able to motivate our teams to get their work done. However, is it possible that we’ve got this all wrong? Would it instead be better for us to spend more of our time worrying about things?

The Power Of Worry

What was the name of that song from a few years back – “Don’t worry, be happy”? It turns out that having a good attitude is a critical skill for IT managers in order to be successful in their jobs and to do a good job of leading their teams. However, in the past few years a number of studies have been done that are starting to tell a different story. These studies are saying that a moderate amount of worry can be a good thing. Sounds like our IT manager training should be updated to teach us to include just a little bit of worry because it can result in better workplace performance.

There are a number of different ways to go about using worry in the workplace. The first is to generate some worry in yourself before you start a large project. If you believe that you are a too cheerful person, then you can pick downbeat people to work with in order to include some worry on your project. The end result of these actions will be to provide a note of caution along with some realism to the work that you are preparing to do.

The studies that have been done have also shown that the types of jobs that IT managers are doing are a good fit for people who worry. It turns out that by our nature, most of us are realistic and have a detail-focused mind set. The other good news is that when we approach our jobs with a bit of worry, we’re not going to run into obstacles that will end up stopping us.

Why Being Nice Won’t Always Help Your Team

A natural next step when we start to consider the power of worry in the workplace is to spend some time thinking about the work environment that we have built. In the past few years, in order to do a better job of recruiting the talent that we need to have on our teams, we’ve all been focused on trying to build workplaces that would be fun for everyone to work in.

If we do too good of a job of creating a work environment that is focused on fun, then we’re going to start to overlook important things. This environment is going to end up discouraging criticism and disagreements. The end result of this will be that it can be a lot harder for IT managers to become aware of the moods and reactions of the members of your team.

One of the more interesting results from the study has been on the impact of worrying on an IT manager’s career. It turns out that happy people do a better job of forming long lasting relationships. However, IT managers who worry more generally end up with higher salaries and get more education. It appears as though the ultimate goal would be to balance happiness with being worried.

What All Of This Means For You

IT managers want to be as effective as possible. We are always looking for the best way to keep focused, make progress, and do some IT team building. Most of us have always believed that having a happy attitude was the key to doing this successfully. However, current research is starting to show that we really should be spending more of our time worrying.

Why worry you ask? It turns out that doing a least a little bit of worrying can be a good thing for us. It helps us to motivate ourselves to be just a little bit more persistent. Worrying provides us with the caution and realism that we need when we are starting a big task. IT managers often go to great lengths to make their workplace “fun”. However, the downside to doing this is that this type of work environment may discourage criticism and disagreement.

A while back we were all told that fat in our diet was bad for us and so we all switched to “low fat” or “no fat” foods. It turns out that the scientists got it wrong – we actually need fat in our diet. In a similar fashion, we’ve told to not worry – that worry is bad for us. However, it now turns out that some worry may be a good thing. Take some time and determine just how much worry you should add to your day and then watch as you are able to stay focused and use your worry to make progress.

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

Question For You: If some worry is good, how much worry is too much?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Just about every IT manager that I know feels as though they have too much to do and not enough time in which to do it no matter how good their IT manager skills are. What this means is that we are always struggling to get everything that we need to get done done. As though this was not hard enough, it turns out that a lot of us have a problem with procrastination. Yep, we put off what we really should be working on.

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