When I work with IT Leaders who are looking for ways to get that next promotion, I tell them that they are going to need to demonstrate leadership. This is an easy thing for me to say and a very hard thing for them to do. Complicating matters even more is the fact that IT managers are finding themselves drafted onto team that they are just members of, not leaders of. What’s an IT manager to do?
The Secret Of Feedback
Here in the 21st Century you’d think that IT managers would have all of the tools available to them that they would need in order to be successful even when they are working as part of a larger team. And although this is true, if you really want to be successful you’re going to need to learn to use the most important tool of all: feedback.
So just what is this thing that we call feedback? Sure we all think that we know what it is, but do we really? Often times the IT managers that I’m working with view feedback as simply remembering to talk with their team members every so often.
Feedback is so much more than that. The key is that feedback, when done correctly, is not something that you do casually or “off the cuff”. At the same time feedback does not need to be done in a formal environment (although it can be).
Feedback is how you as a manager can provide other members of a team that you are working on with a reflection of how they are doing even if they don’t work for you. This is critical feedback because you may be the only person who can provide them with an accurate view of their job performance.
When done correctly feedback provides a mix of both encouragement and correction to your staff. You need to take the time to do things as simple as providing your fellow team members with encouragement (“”Hey, great job on that report.”) as well as suggestions for doing a better job (“Maybe next time you can tone down your voice a bit when you are presenting…”).
How To Use Feedback Correctly
Feedback is a fantastic tool for IT managers to use. It’s free, easy to use, and we are all born with the ability to do it. To manage the team that you are working on effectively, you need to learn to use this tool in a way that will allow you to get the most out of your team.
One of the most effective ways to use feedback that I’ve found is as a way to provide a gentle guiding hand to team members who may be in the process of making a poor decision. As we all know, providing guidance to team members is one a manager’s most important tasks (and one of the hardest to do).
The way that I use feedback to accomplish this is to share stories of past accomplishments. When a member of a team is facing a new challenge, having the manager sit down with the team member and use feedback to have a conversation with them about what the best way to proceed is. Saying something along the lines of “You know, I faced a similar situation like this awhile ago and what I did to solve it was…” This kind of feedback can provide the gentle nudge that is needed to keep your team members on track…
What All Of This Means For You
In the never ending quest to become better IT managers, we are all looking for ways to use our skills to manage our teams. New management fads come and go, however the ones that work are always available for us to use.
One technique that IT managers have used over and over again, is the feedback technique. You need to take the time to have a real conversation with your team members and use the feedback session to really connect with them. Additionally, you can use feedback to help team members make decisions based on situations that you’ve faced in the past.
Being an IT manager has never been an easy job. However, having the feedback technique to use makes your ability to connect with your team and keep them on the right path that much easier.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
Question For You: How often do you think that you should try to have feedback with each employee?
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