Is Showing Concern A Sign Of IT Manager Weakness?

by drjim on July 17, 2014

Is showing concern a form of showing weakness?

Is showing concern a form of showing weakness?
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Hey, big tough IT manager. Do you ever show concern about members of your team? Should you? Is this one of those IT manager skills that we’re supposed to have? A lot of us struggle when it comes to showing genuine concern for the people who are on our teams. Deep down inside we’d like to, but we are terribly afraid that if we do so, the rest of the team is going to see us as being weak and an easy mark for manipulation. It turns out that this is not the case…

The Case For Showing Concern

So just exactly what is “concern”? I like to define this as being when an IT manager shows empathy for what’s going on in the lives of the members of his or her team. What’s important is that concern has to be genuine, you can’t fake this stuff. How to do this correctly is not something that is ever covered in IT manager training. New IT managers think that they have to put on their “tough guy” face and can’t show concern because they may be seen as being weak. It turns out that nothing could be further from the truth.

As an IT manager you need to understand that you have a responsibility towards your team just like they have a responsibility towards you. Ultimately it is going to be your responsibility to make sure that the company’s objectives are accomplished via your team. In order to make that happen, you are going to have to get the most out of your team and you won’t be able to do that if you don’t take the time to show some concern about them and their situation.

As an IT manager you need to work with your team in order to help them to understand how they are going to be able to achieve their personal objectives. You need to find a way to tie those objectives back into the company’s objectives. Only by doing this and convincing your team that by making the company successful will they be successful will you achieve what you need to as an IT manager.

It’s Really All About Good Communication

Before you team is going to be willing to accept any concern from you, they are going to have to first see you as their leader. Your role in the team structure is to act as a communication channel between the larger company and your team.

What this means is that your team is going to be looking to you to provide them with information on what is going on both inside the company and outside of it. The one thing that you don’t want to do is to withhold information from your team.

If the members of your team can’t get the information that they need from you, then they will turn to other sources to get it. The information that they will be able to obtain from other sources will be different from what you would have told them and may not be correct. Additionally, by withholding needed information from your team you will have created a sense of distrust between you and that will prohibit you from being able to show concern for them when it is needed.

What All Of This Means For You

As the leader of a team of IT professionals, you have the responsibility to know what is going on with your team. One way to make this happen is to show genuine concern for the members of your team.

Don’t get this confused with showing weakness. Just because you show concern for what’s going on in a team member’s life does not mean that you are a push-over. Ultimately, a key component of showing concern for your entire team is to do a good job of keeping them informed. Consider this to be part of your IT team building responsibilities. You need to be the one that provides them with the company information that they need to know – you can’t have them learning about things first from other sources.

Showing respect for your team by showing concern for them is what a good IT manager does. Take the time to make sure that your team is always properly informed about what is going on at the company. Do all of this right and you’ll not only be seen as a compassionate manager, but also as a strong one.

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

Question For You: Do you think that it is possible to show too much compassion?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

On top of all of those budgeting and staffing things that you have to do each and every day, your company is pushing you to become more innovative. Oh great, and just how is an IT manager supposed to go about doing that – have you had any IT manager training on how to innovate? Being innovative can be very hard to do if you don’t know how to do it. The first step in pulling this off is making sure that you understand what true innovation looks like.

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