Take The Test: How Good Are You At These 5 IT Manager Skills?

by drjim on August 8, 2013

It's test time: how good are your IT manager skills?

It’s test time: how good are your IT manager skills?
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We all want to become better IT managers, but the big question is always how? Sure, sure – we could attend yet another online technical training program in order to get some IT manager training and boost our IT manager skills, but those never seem to really change how good of an IT manager we are. We’ve all been hearing that IT managers need to become better at working with the rest of the company, but there never seem to be any details on just exactly how to go about doing this. Perhaps it’s time for you to take a skills test.

5 Skills That Every IT Manager Needs To Have

As IT managers we generally feel very comfortable with our technical skills. After all, these are the skills that we’ve spent a career sharpening and enhancing. In order to move our career forward now, we’re going to have to move in a different direction. On top of the technical skills that you already have, you now need to add several business related skills. Here are 5 such skills that you should be actively working on right now.

  • Trade Show Skills: Every company goes to some sort of trade show. Although it is generally the sales and marketing teams that take care of this responsibility, IT managers are often asked to come along when what is being shown is very technical or complicated. Keep your eyes open and learn how to dress, talk, and behave at these events in order to fit in with the rest of the team from your company.
  • Consumer Marketing: Not every company sells their products and services to consumers, but the firms that they sell to probably do. Learn who the end users of your products are and what problems they are trying to solve. Understanding this will help you to guide your IT team to make sure that your company’s offerings best meet your customer’s needs.
  • Business To Business Marketing: Unlike when you are trying to sell to millions of consumers, trying to sell to a few hundred businesses is just a bit different. What motivates a business to buy your company’s products is a bit different from what would motivate a consumer. Learn what these differences are and then you’ll be able to determine how IT can make the buying process for these business customers.
  • Competitive Analysis: Your firm is not the only firm that is offering solutions to a particular problem. Using your IT background, you are uniquely positioned to be able to help your company evaluate other competitive offerings and to determine how your products and services stack up against them.
  • Forecasting: In order to know what your IT team should be working on today, you need to know what will be happening tomorrow. Assuming that you don’t have a crystal ball that you can use to see what will happen in the future, working on developing your forecasting abilities will provide you with the insights that you can share during your next IT team building session in order to make sure that your IT team is spending their time wisely.

What All Of This Means For You

As IT managers we are always looking for ways that we can become more valuable to our company. The old way of doing things, boosting our technical skills, no longer seems to be doing the trick. It now looks like we need to work on developing the skills that will help us to work better with the rest of the company.

These skills are not easy to classify. Some relate to sales such as trade show skills and different types of marketing such as B2C and B2B. Others are more inward focused such as competitive analysis and forecasting.

The good news is that you already have each of these skills. You may not have enough of any one of these skills, but in improving them you won’t be starting from nothing. Take the time to evaluate where you are at and then focus your development efforts where they’ll do the most good. Good luck!

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

Question For You: What’s the best way for an IT manager to develop your trade show skills?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Some people believe that being an IT manager is a glamorous job. However, these people don’t know about all of the complicated personnel related issues that IT Managers have to deal with. One such issue is rather unpleasant – the firing of IT team members. Sometimes it has to be done, but when you do it, you need to do it correctly.

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