The Blog | BT Business Direct - Part 108

People management: What does it take to become a top IT manager?

While most posts on this blog will concentrate on the ‘IT’ part of ‘IT Manager’, we have to remember that IT Managers are just that – managers. Beyond their IT stack, they often have people to manage too. People are far more complicated to manage than machines, so we thought this little guide might come in handy. Whether you’re looking for new ways to motivate your team or just refresh some of your management skills, the following list highlights and describes some of the more important qualities of an IT manager and how to achieve them.

  • Communication Skills.
    • Be open and easy to talk to. You want to be approachable by your team so that you’re kept in the loop on any issues or problems that may arise.  Leave your door open (physically and/or metaphorically)
    • One of your key responsibilities in management is communicating about new initiatives and strategy changes. The worst thing you can do is surprise your staff members with a fully formed idea about a new way to do something that will drastically alter their day-to-day work. When you spring it on them, people will naturally be defensive and sceptical. Whenever possible, give people an informal heads-up that a change is coming and let them know some of the reasoning involved.
    • Listen more than you talk. Don’t be too proud to ask for advice. Explore ideas with other people and learn from your team. Ask for feedback.
  • Prioritise:
    • Stop and think before you start a new project. Identify the important tasks and tackle them in the appropriate order.
  • Believe in your team:
    • Get to know their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you bring their skills to a higher level and improve on their weaknesses.
    • Have confidence in your staff. One of the best things you can do is to let your employees know that you trust them and that you have faith in their ability to do the job, solve the problem, and/or meet the deadline.
    • Take responsibility for the performance of your team
  • Delegate tasks actively
    • Teach your team how to complete the tasks that are given and trust them to carry these tasks out without constantly checking in.

  • Share your goals and expectations
    • Do this with your team so that they have an opportunity to work towards them. Create a culture of performance by setting aggressive goals and holding your employees accountable for regularly reporting on their progress. However, the goals shouldn’t be so aggressive that your employees quickly fall behind and feel like they can never realistically achieve them. This might cause them to quit stretching to reach the goals.