Managing IT people is easy, right?
If only! Although IT has now been with us for many years, we still have a number of misconceptions about how to manage it effectively. You may THINK you understand what IT people need, but you probably don’t understand as well as you could.
How many of these Myths do you believe?
What will you do differently?
Anyone can manage IT people
We’re all familiar with IT, after all, we all use Facebook, word and excel. You are almost certainly familiar with email too. The problem is that IT may look simple, but it isn’t. It’s highly complex and changes frequently. IT requires a certain kind of person to do it well – someone who is pretty smart, pretty focussed and not terribly interested in other parts of your business or organisation.
- IT people respect other IT people, so their manager needs to have a good understanding and experience of IT.
You need an IT expert to manage IT people
Well ok then, why not just promote your best techie? Well, just because someone is a brilliant techie, they won’t necessarily make a great manager. IT software development or support requires different skills e.g. focus, attention to detail and concentration. A manager needs to see the bigger picture, be empathic and know how to motivate.
If you promote your best techie and they don’t have the management skills, you will lose a good techie and probably demotivate the rest of team. Not a good idea!
So what to do? Well, IT people are smart and learn fast, so train them!
- Select your IT Managers carefully, and expect to train them
Techies are only motivated by money
One of the key management skills any manager needs is to be able to motivate their team. One of the general management myths is that the most effective way to motive is by a pay rise. Many IT staff are contractors, so it is often assumed that they are only motivated by money. While some are, most are primarily motivated by security and keeping their skills up to date. When working in a fast moving technology environment, it is vital to an IT person’s future employability that they stay up-to-date.
- Agree a personal technology development plan for everyone
IT people are naturally disruptive
We’ve all had the experience where some enthusiastic techie guy bounds into your office and announces that all your PCs will be upgraded to the new operating system this afternoon. Or, more probably, they sent you an email. You are tearing your hair out because your sales figures are due tomorrow, and you need your PC working 24/7 until then.
The probability is that no-one told them when the critical dates and times were. IT people are often so focussed on the technology; they forget that IT is there to do a job, so they don’t think to ask. But did you think to tell them?
- Talk to your IT Managers about critical times and dates
IT Managers don’t understand the business environment
While, I have to say, that many don’t understand the business environment, this is often because they are relegated to the ‘techie table’. If you involve your IT Managers in the day-to-day business level decision making, you may be pleasantly surprised but how much they understand about how the IT technology can be utilised to the benefit of the business. They are also pretty smart people who are used to picking up new concepts, and will learn fast.
- Involve your IT Managers in the business
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