Although we all know that being an IT manager is a people job, sometimes it can be a bit of an effort to remember that. There are so many different things that we are called on to use our IT manager skills to do: time cards, year-end performance reviews, setting goals for the team, etc. When it comes down to taking care of the little things like our relationships with each member of our team, it can sometimes seem as though it’s just too much – we have not had any IT manager training for this stuff. We’ve got to ask ourselves: do I really have to be nice?
The Power Of Being Nice
I guess if you really take a step back and look at the relationships that you have with the people who make up your team, there are only really three different states that they can be in. The first is good – we’d all like our relationships to be here, the next is don’t care and we’re here if we really don’t have a relationship with the team member, and finally there’s bad – we don’t want to be here.
So if we want to have a good relationship with the members of our team, how can we go about being nice to them? The first step in this process is for us to take the time to understand what they are trying to tell us. This is actually harder than it might initially seem. What we need to do is to use what we hear from them to validate what is important to them. Finally, we need to express both warmth and affection towards our team member – make them feel like they really belong.
All of these actions on our part taken together generate what is called responsiveness. If we can do this well, then it will generate a deep feeling in our team member that they feel that we both know them and understands them. The end result will be that they will feel both unique and special. As an IT manager, this is exactly what we want them to be feeling.
How To Go About Being Nice
The challenge that we IT managers have is that we have to realize that part of our job involves developing a relationship with each of the members of our team. It can be all too easy to look at the team and view it as being a collective whole – sorta of a single unit. It’s really not that way. Every team is made up of individual members who each have their own hopes, dreams, and desires. As an IT manager we need to be aware of what these are and let the members of our team know that we care about them.
The first thing that we need to do when we realize that we want to do a better job of developing individual relationships with the people on our team is to decide to start now. This can seem like a daunting task and it’s all too easy to decide to put it off, but you need to decide to do it right now. Next, you are going to have to practice listening to the members of your team without judging them. This can be very hard to do because normally when we’re listening, we just planning on what we want to say next. You need to stop doing this and instead provide your team member with an ear that will listen to what they are saying.
In order to successfully come across to your team members as being a nice person, they are going to have to be left with the impression that you have heard what they have told you and understand what they are trying to say. In order to make this happen, you are going to have to pay attention to the details of what they are telling you. Doing this will show your support and understanding. Keep in mind that being responsive is often shown as much by your behaviors as by your words.
What All Of This Means For You
The job of being an IT manager has many different parts to it. There is, of course, a great deal of paperwork, planning, tracking, and IT team building. However, it turns out that we are also expected to take the time to be nice to each member of our team. This of course brings up the question of just exactly how an IT manager can go about being nice to the people who work for him or her.
Being nice to the members of your team means that you have to take the time to show them some attention. This starts by you trying to understand what they are telling you. Use this information to validate what is important to them. Then go ahead and express warmth and affection to let them know that you’ve understood them. Being nice is not easy. Even though it may seem hard to do, we need to start trying right now. We have to develop the ability to listen to the members of our team without judging them. Ultimately this all comes down to having you pay attention to the details of what they are telling you.
It turns out that being nice to the members of your team is not an easy thing to do. The good news is that if you are willing to make the effort, you can do it. You are just going to have to take the time to have individual conversations with each member of your team and during those conversations you are going to have to take the time to really listen. You just might discover that being nice pays some very nice rewards.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
Question For You: How long do you think that the conversations that you’ll have with team members to find out more about them should last?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
The hiring of workers to join our IT team is arguably one of the most important decisions that an IT manager will make. We’ll be potentially living with the results of these decisions for a very long time. What this means is that we don’t want to make a mistake – we only want to have the right people join our team. Just what makes someone the right person is a bit of a mystery: is it technical skills, is it past experience, or is it something else? More and more companies are starting to believe that it is something else.