IT managers are always searching for the “silver bullet” of IT manager skills that will transform them from average managers into super managers. You know, the ones that their IT team adores and would follow across burning coals if that’s what they asked them to do. It turns out that you already have what it takes in order to make a giant stride closer to being this ideal manager. In fact you have the two things that you need: ears.
It’s All About Active Listening
If you really want to connect with the members of your IT team, then you’re going to have to get good at this listening thing even though there is no IT manager training that covers it. In fact, you are going to have to become what we call an “active listener”.
What this means is that when you are listening to someone, you need to be involved in the conversation and show it by asking questions, making clarifying statements, providing vocal and visual cues, and summarizing what you believe that you’ve heard.
When we first become IT managers, we may have some misguided thoughts. We may think that now that we’re a manager, everyone will all of a sudden treat everything that we say as being something special. Sorry, the world doesn’t work that way. Instead, we need to spend some time learning how to listen actively.
Why Active Listing Is So Valuable
It turns out that developing your active listening skills is actually quite hard to do. When someone else is speaking, often what we’re thinking about is what we are going to say next, not what they are currently saying. This is the behavior that you need to change.
There are a couple of benefits that will come along with being an active listener. The first of these is that the more that you listen, the less that you’ll talk. All too often we IT managers can be seen as a being a pushy know-it-all. Spending more time listening and less time talking can change this perception.
Finally, the more time that you spend listening to you team, the better you’ll understand them. All too often when we are the ones who are doing the talking we can miss important pieces of information about how our teams are operating. Do a better job of listening and you’ll know what’s going on and what you really need to be doing.
What All Of This Means For You
We are all striving to become better IT managers. What this means is that we’d like to find some sort of magic potion that could transform us overnight into the kind of leader that every IT team would want to follow. It turns out that this is not that hard to do if only we’d take the time to listen to our team.
Developing our active listening skills is the key to winning our team over to our side – it’s almost as effective as really good IT team building. If we can learn to do this well, then the members of our team will feel as though we have really heard what they wanted to say. The true value of active listening happens when you gain the insights into what is really going on with your team.
It seems silly that something as simple as doing a better job of listening can be so valuable. However, in this case it’s true. Take the time to listen to your team and you just might be surprised at what you hear…
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that taking notes while you listen to your team members would be better than just listening?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
So here’s a quick question for you: what is the most pleasant thing that anyone on your IT team can hear? If you guessed “their name”, then congratulations, you got it right! t turns out that we all like to hear our name – it’s basically music to our ears. This is nice to know, but it hints at a big problem with our IT manager skills that most of us IT managers have – we talk too much!