How An IT Manager Can Have The Personal Touch

by drjim on January 16, 2014

Being a good IT manager is about having the right touch

Being a good IT manager is about having the right touch
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I’m willing to guess that you feel pretty confident in your IT manager skills when it comes to taking care of the technical aspects of your IT manager job. I mean after all, this is probably an area of IT that you’ve been working in or around for years. Where I find a lot of IT managers struggling is when it comes to connecting with their teamsthey don’t seem to have the personal touch.

What’s The Right Way To Connect With Your IT Team?

The idea of forging a connection with each member of your IT team is a great idea. However, coming up with a way to make this happen can be quite difficult to do because most of us have never had any IT manager training.. The easiest and quickest way to go about making this happen is to take the time to schedule personal one-on-one meetings with each member of your team.

The goal of this meeting is just to break the conversational ice with your team. Your real goal for this meeting will be to do as little talking as possible (without appearing to be too creepy). What you want to have happen is to open the lines of communication between you and the people who work on your team.

Try to keep the discussions focused on their job. Getting off on personal life stories can quickly get messy. Focus on their job, the people that they work with, and where they see themselves going over time. You can see that in answering these types of questions they’ll end up doing most of the talking and that’s exactly what you want to have happen.

How To Have A Conversation With Your Team

So let’s say that you’ve scheduled your meetings with the members of your team. There they are – they’ve shown up in your office or your cube or whatever. Now what? You need to start to have a conversation with them. Your goal here is to use this meeting to start to open lines of communication between the two of you that you’ll be able to use going forward.

What you are going to want to do is to find out what they’d like to be getting out of their job – where do they see it taking them? You’re going to need to put your cell phone down and not look at it during this conversation. You need to show a genuine interest in your team member. Let them know that you are interested in what they have to say and you do want to know more about them.

Having this type of meeting / conversation with each member of your team is going to require you to invest some serious time and effort into the process. It turns out that it will all be worth it if you go about doing it correctly. The result of holding these meetings is that your team should start to view you as a manager who is willing to listen to them and who is genuinely interested in having them be successful. Once you’ve established this type of relationship with your team, almost anything will become possible.

What All Of This Means For You

If you want to have any hope of successfully managing your team and guiding them to accomplishing the goals that have been laid out for you, you are going to have to develop the personal touch. This means that you are going to have to do more than just be good at the technical aspects of your job.

In order to connect with the people who are on your IT team, you are going to have to take the time to meet with each of them one at a time. The purpose of this meeting is not to have a chat about what’s going on in their personal lives, but rather to talk with them about their jobs. Providing them with an opportunity to talk to you will provide them with a way to vent and will provide you with insights into how your team operates.

In today’s hurry up world, taking the time to sit down and have a talk with everyone on your team may seem like it’s going to take a lot of time. The answer is that yes, depending on the size of your IT team it could take a while. Think of this as a form of IT team building. Forming that connection with each member of your team by using the personal touch is what is going to allow you to be a better IT leader. Take the time to do this right and you’ll find that the rewards make it well worth the effort.

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

Question For You: How much time do you think that you should budget for each of these meetings?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I’ve got some good news for you, IT managers are allowed to have friends just like everyone else in the world. Where things can get just a little bit tricky is when those friends are members of the IT team that you are managing. This can happen when you get promoted to lead a team or when a friend transfers into your team. In both cases, you are going to have the IT manager skills to handle this situation and know how best to manage a friend.

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