As IT managers we spend a lot of time thinking about what we need to do in order to manage others. We understand that this requires a special set of skills and so we spend time trying to develop and refine those IT manager skills. However, do you ever spend any time thinking about how you can grow and develop as an IT manager? What skills will you need in order to make this happen?
Self-Management Skills That Every IT Manager Must Have
It’s very easy for us IT managers to get caught up in trying to determine how best to manage our IT team. When this happens, we often forget that in order to do a good job of that, first we need to have developed the set of skills that will allow us to be an effective manager. This all comes down to developing our own self-management skills. This kind of skill development needs to be part of any IT manager training. Here are 5 of the most important self-management skills that we all need to take the time to work on:
Self-Awareness: This may be the most important of all of the self-management skills. Becoming aware of who we are and what we are trying to accomplish is where everything has to start. This level of self-realization is the critical first step in being able to successfully manage any IT team.
Emotional Intelligence: In order to connect with the members of your team you are going to have to develop your emotional intelligence. As humans we are all driven by a set of constantly changing emotions. Being able to determine someone else’s emotional state and then being able to adjust how you interact with them in order to match their current state is a critical self-management skill.
Time Management: Let’s face it, you will always have too much to do and not enough time in which to get it done. This means that you are going to have to be able to make some tough choices – what are you going to work on and when are you going to do it? Time management skills will provide you with the tools that you need in order to make the right choices about how you spend your precious time.
Balancing Work & Life: Although it may sometimes seem as though you spend all of your time at work, you don’t. Instead, you have a life outside of work and that life plays a big role in who you are at work. In order to make sure that you are a whole person (work AND life), you need to be able to balance your time and make sure that both sides of your life get the time and attention that they both need.
Career Development: In the 21st Century, you are the only one who will be managing your career. What this means is that you need to develop the skill set that will allow you to evaluate where you currently are in your career and what your next step needs to be. Yes, mentors may play a role but ultimately it all comes down to your skills to manage your career.
What All Of This Means For You
IT managers face a dilemma every day. We are responsible for having the skills that it takes to manage a team of IT professionals while at the same time we need to have the skills that are needed to develop ourselves at the same time. We can’t hope to engage our teams in any IT team building until we know ourselves. The key is to know which self-management skills we need to develop in order to maximize our effectiveness.
In order to become better IT managers we first need to develop our own self-awareness skills. This should lead us to have deeper emotional intelligence while will allow us to connect with members of our team better. Once we can do a good job of managing our time, we’ll be able to achieve a successful work & life balance and, taken all together, this should help us to move our career forward.
In this day and age we all need to remember that our IT manager career is our responsibility – nobody else is going to manage it for us. It’s up to us to identify what skills we need to have in order to manage ourselves. Once we identify those skills, that’s when we’re really going to be able to shine as great IT managers!
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
Question For You: Do you think emotional intelligence is important when you are managing a distributed team?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
One of the most important IT manager skills that IT managers need to master is how to interview candidates who would like to join their IT team. As important as this job is, very few of us have ever received any IT manager training on how to properly conduct an interview. Is it possible that you are doing a poor job of interviewing and have been turning away good candidates and hiring the bad ones?