The 3 Things That Your Team Really Wants From You

by drjim on April 9, 2015

IT managers really only have to provide their teams with three things…

IT managers really only have to provide their teams with three things…
Image Credit: Hubert Figuière

So what is your job as an IT manager? What is it that your company is really paying you to do? There may be many different answers to this question, but at the end of the day it’s your job to use your IT manager skills to convince a group of IT professions to all work on what you tell them they need to do and to do a good job. Although on the surface this may seem easy, as we all know it’s fairly difficult to do well. However, it turns out that all your IT team wants from you is three things…

A Sense Of Purpose

As a company or even as an IT manager it can be all too easy to think that what the members of your IT team really want is more money. Don’t get me wrong here, yes – everyone would like more money. But, if we’re talking about what is going to give the members of your team a long term sense of motivation, then what you are going to have to provide them with is a sense of purpose. What this means for you as an IT manager is that the people on your team don’t just want a job. They want to work for a company that knows what it is trying to accomplish and where what is right and what is wrong is well understood.

Some Autonomy

Now this is where things can get just a little bit tricky. As the leader of an IT team, you basically know how you want things done – that’s what your IT manager training has taught you. Because of that, it can be all too easy to create your own solutions to the challenges that your team is facing. Once you do this, you no longer really need your team’s inputs on how best to solve a problem. This can be a fundamental problem. The reason is because in any technical job, the freedom for the members of your team to make their own decisions about how to solve a problem is what is going to make them fall in love with their job over and over again.

Empathy, Please

Your team members are never going to love the company that they work for. How can they? The company does not have the ability to love them back. Instead, with a little luck they will love having you as their manager and they will love working on your team. In order to make this happen, you are going to have to take the time to create a work environment that everyone is going to want to be a part of. Can anyone say IT team building? This means that you need to welcome them in a big way on the day that they join your team, you are going to have remember and celebrate every anniversary, and when it comes to team members asking for time off, you are going to have to be flexible.

What All Of This Means For You

Managing a team of IT professionals is hard work. These are sophisticated people who all have different needs and wants. Because of their skill sets, they can pretty much leave and go get a different job tomorrow. What this means for you as an IT manager is that you are going to need to find out what they are looking for from you in order to get them to stay and do productive work.

The good news for you is that there are just three things that every IT team member is looking to get out of their current job. This starts with working for a company that can provide them with a true sense of purpose. Next they’d like some autonomy to create and implement their own solutions to problems. Finally, if you as their IT manager could show them some empathy then they would be able to return the feeling.

As an IT manager you have a great deal on your plate. Your management has expectations of what your IT team is going to be able to produce and you need to deliver. However, at the same time you are going to have to work to make sure that each member of your team feels that this is the right job for them. Follow these three tips and you’ll have a happy and productive IT team.

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

Question For You: Do you think that it is possible to give the members of your team too much autonomy?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So do you have a mobile phone? I’m willing to bet that yes, you do. No matter if you have decided to go down the iPhone route or if you’ve taken the Android path, once you get past the pretty screen that your phone came with, what probably attracted you the most were all of the applications (“apps”) that you could run on your new phone. I wonder if the IT managers who are responsible for those apps would be willing to share any of their secrets with us that would help us to boost our IT manager skills?

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