Secret Manager Skills IT Managers Need To Have In Order To Be Successful

by drjim on April 18, 2013

Things they won't tell you about how to be a successful IT manager…

Things they won’t tell you about how to be a successful IT manager…
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Congratulations – you now find yourself as an IT manager. Guess your career is over now – you’ve reached the top. Oh wait, you think that there’s more? That maybe you might be able to be promoted someday and go on to do bigger and better things? Well, ok, but just exactly what IT manager training do you think that you’re going to have to do in order to make that happen? It turns out that I know and I’m going to tell you…

6 Secret Skills That All Successful IT Managers Have To Have

Trust me when I tell you this: there are a lot of IT managers out there who will go no further in their careers. They had the skill and / or luck to get to where they are today; however, they don’t have what it takes to reach the next level.

What this means for you is that if you don’t want to get stuck where you are now, then you had better make sure that you develop the skills that you’re going to need in order to move on in your career. On top of all of the basic skills that every IT manager needs to have, there are 6 additional “secret” IT manager skills that the really good IT managers have. Here they are.

  • Leading: This skill sounds easy to do right: you move off into one direction and tell the rest of your team to come along. Ah ha! That’s where things get tricky. Leading doesn’t mean a thing if your team is not willing to follow you. Not only do you have to be a good leader, but at the very same time you have to be good at making your team want to follow you as a leader.

  • Motivating: We all know what motivating is – getting someone to want to do what we want them to do. However, here in the 21st Century this has become much more tricky to do because the members of our team have so many other distractions that just getting their attention, let alone convincing them to do what we want them to do, can be a major undertaking.

  • Training & Support Development: Unless you are the luckiest IT manager in the world, your IT team is not perfect. There are things that they don’t know and skills that they don’t have. What that means is that as their manager you need to take a look at where the gaps are and create individualized training programs for each of your team members. Done correctly this can become a key part of your IT team building program.

  • Analyzing Work Flows And Processes: If there is any single phrase that makes me angry, it has to be “… but that’s the way that we’ve always done it…” As a successful IT manager you need to be able to take a look at how things are being done right now and identify ways that things can be changed for the better.

  • Recruiting and Retention: Good IT managers can attract high-quality employees who want to work on their team. The best IT managers can keep these employees around year after year. You need to be able to do both.

  • Administrative Management: The rest of the company is going to want you to do 1,000 small tasks as part of your role as a manager. As a successful IT manager you are going to need to get this work done and then get on to the stuff that really matters. What you don’t want to do is to blow off the little things because they’ll come back and bite you hard eventually.

What All Of This Means For You

As an IT manager you have clearly been identified as being able to manage a team of IT professionals. However, if you don’t want this to be the spot where your career stalls out, then you are going to have to find out what it’s going to take to allow you to move on to the next level. It turns out that there are 6 “secret” IT manager skills that you are going to need.

To move ahead you are going to need to learn to both lead and motivate your IT team. You are going to have to take the time to create individualized training and support plans and you are going to have to constantly be on the lookout for ways that business processes can be improved. Finally, as a successful IT manager you are going to have to be able to recruit and retain the best IT workers all while taking care of all of the little tasks that every manager has to do.

Clearly this is a lot to ask of any IT manager. However, if you really do want to move your career to the next level then you are going to have to make sure that you are good at each of these “secret skills”. Take the time to develop these skills and it will be no secret that your career is taking off!

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

Question For You: Which of the 6 IT manager secret skills that we discussed do you think is the most important?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

What does it actually mean to manage something? I mean our title says that we are managers, but have you ever really given it much thought as to just exactly what that word really means? Lots of IT managers just think that it means that we now have the right to tell the members of our team what to do. However, if you take a close look, it turns out that to be a manager actually means a lot more…

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