An IT Manager takes on a diverse role that encompasses technical challenges, analyzing information, staffing, conflict resolution, strategic planning, developing budgets, and even data center management. Both the technical and management components require your attention. It is crucial to both your success and the success of your team that you balance these responsibilities.
Our managers at ITAMG have provided 5 tips to help you succeed:
#1: Time Management
Do this: Make the most of every minute. You have two hats to wear – technical and management. To achieve success you must make a daily plan. Written or electronic, it doesn’t matter. Record all of your responsibilities and schedule them in time blocks. Be diligent and stick to this schedule whenever possible. According to this article in US News & World Report, “set specific time limits for routine tasks. Work tends to fill whatever amount of time you happen to have.” When emergencies occur, handle them, and then get back on schedule.
Don’t do this: Go into the day without a plan. Without a plan seemingly “secondary activities” such as getting input from employees, giving feedback, providing training will go by the wayside when inevitable technical issues arise.
#2: Build Relationships
Do this: In an an article on Monster.com Richard Hagberg, the president of the Hagberg Consulting Group, a company that develops training programs for the high tech industry is quoted, “First, carefully define your role. Then audit your time so you're spending time on building relationships and improving communication with everyone around you. Schedule appointments with subordinates and listen to their ideas. Initiate group problem-solving, particularly on real issues, rather than trying to solve everything yourself. Deal with substandard performance by coaching and holding people accountable." To build a strong, loyal force it is imperative to have an open line of communication.
Don’t do this: Have a closed door policy. When possible include employees when making decisions. Let them share their ideas to create a mutually respectful relationship.
#3: Keep Your Skills Sharp
Do this: You are likely a manager because you have exceptional technical skills. Continue to stay on the cutting-edge through research and training. Demonstrate those skills, jump in when complex problems are at hand. Respect is gained in this manner. Education for you and your team is critical to everyone’s success.
Don’t do this: Let your technical skills wane. Consider the importance of the respect of your technical subordinates and your ability to lead by example.
Do this: One of the keys to successful delegation is to know each team member’s strengths. You cannot successfully do everything yourself. Your company is best served when your expertise is devoted to finding solutions to critical issues and delegating accordingly.
Don’t do this: Do everything yourself. You and your team will suffer. The members in your group will see this as a lack of confidence in their abilities.
#5: Roll Up Your Sleeves
Do this: When matters arise that require multiple resources from your team, jump in when you can. Maybe next time your firm is getting ready for a computer disposal help the team take an inventory of the surplus computer equipment. Roll up your sleeves whenever possible and you will gain immeasurable respect form your team.
Don’t do this: Sit back and let your team do all the work. Make sure to always be a part of the solution. There’s no substitute for a boss that understands what it’s like to still be in the trenches.
By devoting the proper amount of time to each task, keeping your skills sharp, and demonstrating your willingness to be a part of the team, you will gain the respect and loyalty of your team. Master these 5 areas and you will soar as an IT Manager.
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