There Is No Such Thing As A Perfect IT Manager – Or Perfect IT Team

by drjim on February 27, 2014

Perfection is a nice idea, but it really doesn't exist…

Perfection is a nice idea, but it really doesn’t exist…
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One of the biggest challenges that any IT manager faces no matter how much IT manager training they’ve had is to determine just exactly how much they should expect from their team. They don’t want to be seen as being a “hands off” manager who just lets the team do whatever they want to do; however, they don’t know how far they can go. The one thing that they don’t want to do is to become one of those IT managers who demands perfection from their team – that never works.

What Happens When An IT Manager Demands Perfection From Their Team

Your IT manager skills make you perfect so it certainly seems as though it wouldn’t be too much to ask your team to be perfect also, right? Well, actually it turns out that it is too much to ask of your IT team. We are often tempted to use perfection as the bar that we use to measure our team against even though we know that they’ll never be able to achieve it.

It turns out that this is a bad decision on our part. The reason is because of what our demand for perfection will do to our team. As we make it clear that no mistakes will be tolerated, our team will react by slowing down. The thinking is that they slower that they work, the less likely it is that they’ll make a mistake.

However, there is a ripple effect that will happen here. As our workers slow things down, their productivity is going to start dropping. When this happens you’ll probably start to demand more and more from you team in order to boost productivity. Things will quickly go from bad to worse.

What Requiring Perfection Does To How Your Team Views You

Demanding perfection from your team will change how your team views you. Very quickly everyone on your team is going to start to resent you. Your demands for perfection from your team means that you are going to be seen as being impossible to please and so everyone will stop trying.

When your employees start to understand that their best will never be good enough, their self-confidence will start to go downhill. Everyone understands that you want to make the team perform better, but it’s how you are going about doing it that is turning everyone off.

A much better way to have your team view you positively is instead of demanding perfection from your team, work collaboratively with them. The team will never be perfect; however, it can always be improving. Work with the team to pick the areas to work on and then work together to make the team function more smoothly in those specific areas.

What All Of This Means For You

Perfection is a beautiful concept. Your team would always have their work done on time and under budget. You’d get complements from your management and working with other teams would be easy because you’d always be giving them what they wanted when they wanted it. Too bad this perfection thing does not exist.

If you demand perfection from your IT team, you’re not going to get it. Instead you’re going to kill their productivity as they slowdown in order to minimize the number of mistakes that they make. Additionally, they will quickly start to resent you and all of the IT team building exercises in the world aren’t going to fix this problem.

As an IT manager you are going to have understand that your team is not perfect. Instead of wishing that they were, a much better approach is to work with your team to determine how they are going to improve. Making progress together towards being more perfect is a lot better than being disappointed that they aren’t perfect today.

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

Question For You: How do you think that you could find out if your team believes that you are demanding perfection from them?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

IT managers can’t do it by themselves. In order to be successful, they need the support of their team. If this is going to happen, then the team is going to have to be willing to support their manager. The only way that all of this is going to happen is if the manager has found a way to win the trust of his or her team. Therein lies the big question: just exactly how do you gain the trust of an IT team?

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