Yea! You are an IT manager. This is a great position to reach in your career, but now what? We all want to become better at what we do and improve our IT manager skills, but just exactly how to make that happen can be quite confusing. If only there was some wise person who could show us the way. Well, it turns out that there is such a person. Ok, so it’s not really a person in this case but a company. Google.
Over at Google they spend a great deal of their time collecting data. Not only do they collect data about how you and I use the Internet, but they have also been collecting data on their managers in order to discover who the best managers are so that they can use this data to provide IT manager training to the others. What they’ve discovered is that the ability to do a good job coaching your team is a critical skill to being a good IT manager. How good of a job you do helping the members of your team become better can have a big impact on how your team views you as an IT manager.
In order to be a good coach to your IT team, you need to provide feedback that is both specific and constructive. As you tell your team members what you think of their job performance, you’ll have to make sure that you balance your negative and your positive statements. A key part of being a good coach is making sure that you take the time to have regular one-on-one meetings with your team members. During these meetings you are going to want to present them with solutions to the problems that they are currently facing. You’ll need to be careful to make sure that these solutions are tailored to each employee’s specific strengths.
As an IT manager, you have a lot to do. Your management has a lot of expectations for what you are going to be able to get your team to accomplish. What is means for you is that you are going to have to find ways to get your team to do the work that you need them to do even when you are not breathing down their neck. What you are going to want to do is to empower your team while at the same time not micromanaging them.
In order to empower your team, you are going to want to balance how you give freedom to your employees. You need to make sure that they know that you are still going to be available to provide them with advice. Your teams are going to be presented with big challenges. In order to help the team come up with ways to break these big problems down into smaller problems that can be solved you are going to want to assign them goals. Specifically, you are going to want to assign them stretch goals that will help them to tackle the big problems.
If you want to be a good IT manager, then your team is going to have to feel as though you care about them. In order to make this happen, you are going to have to express interest in their success. You’ll want to make sure that they know that you are interested in their well-being.
Sure, we all spend time together when we are at work. However, how well do you actually know the members of your team? In order to be a good manager, you are going to have to show your team that you really care about them. In order to do this, you are going to have get to know them as people – people who have lives that have nothing to do with work. All of this connecting with the members of your team starts when they first join your team. When they join your team, you need to take the time to make them feel welcomed and include them in our IT team building. Joining any team is a transition, you are the one person who can help to ease this transition for them.
What All Of This Means For You
Reaching the status of being an IT manager is a significant career achievement. However, things don’t stop here. Once we’ve made this far, we now need to be searching for ways to move our career even further along. The good news here is that over at Google they want to help their IT managers do the same thing. The difference is that they have the ability to collect data on what works best to make this happen.
What Google has found is that there are three important characteristics that help to make us a better IT manager. The first thing that we need to do is to be a good coach to the members of our team. This involves providing focused feedback and making sure that we provide employee specific feedback when we have discussions. Since you can’t possibly get everything that your team needs to do done, you are going to have to empower your team. Make sure that you don’t mircomanage them and give them stretch goals to achieve. You need to understand that the people on your team are real people, and this means that you need to find out what’s going on in their lives outside of work.
What we need to understand as IT managers is that this is not a static state of being. As managers we always need to be striving to become better. This means that we need to be searching for ways to improve ourselves. The good folks over at Google have studied what good managers do and they are telling us to improve our coaching, empower our teams, and be interested in what they are doing outside of work. Get busy doing these things and everyone will start to view you as being a better IT manager.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
Question For You: How can you empower your team while still making sure that they complete their work on time?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
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?