IT Managers Want To Know What Makes The Great Managers Great

When it comes to IT managers, what does it take to be #1?
When it comes to IT managers, what does it take to be #1?
Image Credit: Karyn Christner

Sure it’s great to be an IT manager, but we all want to become better at this job. We want to be the manager that everyone in the company wants to come work for. We want to be the manager that all of the other managers seek out when they need advice. These are all great things, but what do we need to do in order to become this type of IT manager?

Be All About Results

As an effective IT manager you are going to want to have the IT manager skills that you need in order to be both effective and results orientated. In order to make this happen, you are going to have to work closely with your team. What you don’t want to find yourself in is a role where you are the person who is barking orders for what your team is supposed to be working on. Instead, you’ll want to include them in the process. You are going to have to talk with the members of your team in order to find out what they want to accomplish. Once you know this, you then need to work with them to come up with plans for how you will achieve these goals.

As with every IT team, your team will have been assigned more work than they will ever be able to accomplish. What this means for both you and your team is that you’ll need to work together to prioritize your work. This then becomes the spot where you can step in and really shine. You’ll need to use your position as an IT manager to remove any roadblocks that the company throws up that might prevent your team from accomplishing their goals.

Get Good At Speaking And Listening

All too often when we go off to IT manager training we get taught how to talk to our teams. It turns out that in order to be a truly effective manager, you also need to be an excellent listener. We need to understand that communication is a two-way street and that we need to both talk with our teams and listen to what they have to tell us. What you are going to want to be doing is encouraging your team to engage in open dialog with you. You want to hear their issues and concerns so that you can talk about them and find solutions.

Not only do you need to do a good job of communicating with each member of your team, but you also have to do a good job of communicating with the team as a whole. In order to accomplish this, you’ll need to hold all-hands meetings with the entire team. During these meetings it’s going to be up to you to be straightforward with the team about what your goals for the team are. Ultimately you need them to connect the dots and decide how they want to accomplish each of the goals that you have laid out for them.

Help Your Team To Develop Their Careers

As an IT manager, you are responsible for your team both today and tomorrow. What this means is that you need to take the time to work with each member of your team and help them to develop their careers. This can be challenging at times because it can be all too easy for team members to get caught up in their current assignments and forget to work on advancing their careers.

As an IT manager, you need to understand where each of the members of your team current stand. What have they already accomplished, what do they want to accomplish, and what kind of training are they going to need in order to be successful? You will need to sit down with members of your team and develop an action plan for how they can grow from their current position to reach where they want to go. Once such a plan has been created, it’s going to be your responsibility to help your team members take steps to put their plan into action.

What All Of This Means For You

I’m pretty sure that we’d all be willing to admit that no matter how good we are at being an IT manager, we can always become better. Just exactly how to go about doing this is a bit of a mystery to most of us. When we look around our firms we can see the good managers that everyone wants to work for. How can we become more like them?

The goal of any IT team is to produce results. As an IT manager you are going to need to work with your team in order to determine what results the team is going to be willing to generate. Since your team will probably have too much work to do, you’ll need to work with them to prioritize your assignments and decide what work will get done first. Our training generally teaches us how to talk to our teams. However, we also have to develop the skills that are needed in order to listen to what the members of our team are trying to tell us. We also have to become good at holding all-hands meetings that will allow us to talk to the team as a whole. We need to understand that the career paths of the people who are on our team are our responsibility. We need to work with our team members to make sure that they have a career action plan and that they are working on it.

Becoming a better IT manager is something that each of us has to work on each and every day. Knowing that this is something that we want to be doing is one thing, actually knowing what we should be doing is something else. What it takes to become a better manager is the ability to work with our teams, to listen to what they are trying to tell us, and then to make sure that everyone on the team has a plan to be successful through IT team building. If we can remember to do all of these things, then we can become the better IT manager that we all want to be.

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

Question For You: What do you think the best setting to listen to what your team members are trying to tell you would be?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Once upon a time, we used to have to travel to go to meetings. No matter if the meeting was just down the hall, across town, or in another city / country. We needed to leave where we were and go there in order to work things out with other people. The good news is that this is no longer necessary. First there was audio conferencing that allowed multiple people to remotely participate in a discussion and now we’ve added video conferencing to our IT manager skills which allows us to see the other people that we’re meeting with. However, as with all such things, videoconferencing comes with its own set of rules, not covered in any IT manager training, that we need to know about in order to use this new tool successfully.