What Supervisory Skills Does An IT Manager Need To Have?

by drjim on April 11, 2013

This is NOT a good way to supervise IT employees

This is NOT a good way to supervise IT employees
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Being an IT manager is all about knowing a lot about IT stuff, right? Well, no – as an IT manager your real job is to get the most out of your IT team. In order to make this happen you are going to have to have good IT manager skills. The most important of these is to have good supervisory skills. That, of course, leads to the question: just exactly what supervisory skills does an IT manager need to have?

6 Supervisor Skills That Every IT Manager Must Have

What skills should every IT manager have? That’s actually a good question. I think that we all picture the perfect IT manager moving amongst his or her team and magically getting them to do their best work. Sorry, real life doesn’t work that way. Instead you’re going to have to identify and work on some practical supervisor skills. Here’s 6 that you can start with:

  1. Hiring: What your IT team is going to be able to accomplish is going to be determined by the quality of employees that you have on your team. We’re not just talking about technical talent, but rather how well they communicate, get along with others, and multitask. Making the right choices about whom you hire to join your team is where your eventual success starts.

  2. Coaching: Just having the best employees is not enough. It is your job as an IT manager to move them to the next level in their careers. This is not something that is going to happen overnight, instead it will happen because of the coaching that you provide them with every day. IT managers who give their team members this customized, personalized guidance is what sets the great managers apart from all of the others.

  3. Delegating: This may be the single task that is the hardest for most IT managers to do. When you become an IT manager, your ability to get things accomplished no longer rests on what you can do, but rather on what your team can get accomplished. The ability to assign the right task to the right person on your team and then to follow up and make sure that the work gets done is the key to successful delegation.

  4. Setting Goals and Objectives: Ultimately your team will be looking to you to tell them where to go and what to do. This means that you are going to have to be the one who comes up with workable goals and is able to communicate to your team the objectives that you are going to want them to achieve. This can be a key part of any IT team building program.

  5. Directing: When we think about directing, generally we think about how movies are made and the role that the director plays there. It turns out that in the day-to-day life of an IT team, an IT manager plays the same role. It’s up to you to tell people where to go and what to do on a daily basis. Yes, we’d all hope that you have a team of self-starters who will take care of this by themselves, but you’ve got to be there just in case they need a bit of a shove.

  6. Assessing Performance: Everyone can do their job better, they just need to be told how to. This is one of the key job responsibilities of any IT manager. You need to be the one who sits down with each member of your team and explains to them what they are doing right and where there is room for improvement. No, this is not an easy thing to do, but it is very, very important. Do it often, do it right.

What All Of This Means For You

The best IT managers are not judged by what they are able to accomplish. Instead, it is what their team is able to accomplish that determines the status of the IT manager within the company.

What this means for you is that you are going to have to find out how to maximize the productivity of your team. This is going to call for you to use a number of different supervisory skills including hiring, coaching, delegating, setting goals and objectives, directing, and assessing the performance of members of your team.

None of this sounds like the things that you may have studied while you were in school. In fact, there is a very good chance that you’ve never received any formal IT manager training in how to be a good supervisor. However, now you know what you need to know so go out there and develop your supervisory skills!

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

Question For You: What percentage of your time do you think should be spend doing supervisor activities?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

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…

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