May 162016
 

Since we’ve looked at reasons someone can be a bad IT manager, let’s look at reasons for good ones.

1. You ask staff opinions about technical concerns before trying to make a decision

This is relevant if you’re less technical/current than your staff.  It shows you respect them and are a team player. It’s also smart because it avoids exposing you to the risk of making decisions by yourself.  You might make a final decision, but if it’s with the help of trained, highly paid staff, then your chances of success are that much greater.  Your staff will respect you.

2. If a staff member is making mistakes, you ask if everything is okay or if they understand requirements

This really shows you look out for people and care about them and their careers.  Someone might be having personal trouble, or be under stress.  Maybe there’s something you don’t know about that’s affecting their job performance.  Or maybe they’ve made some honest mistakes.  Treating people like a real person goes a long way to acting like a decent human yourself.  You’re the kind of manager everyone loves.

3. You’re flexible about time off

Everyone likes a manager who lets them make up time for appointments or work extra hours for the same reason.  As long as your staff are getting their work done, being cool this way earns loyalty, but making sure they’re working covers your butt.  Being civil and helpful says you’re a cool manager

4. You give kudos to those who do a good job

When staff work overtime or just do a great job, a good manager thanks them and shows appreciation.  Most people want the approval of their manager, so give it to them when they deserve it!

5. You recognize that small issues are just that, minor

Not blowing things out of proportion is one sign of a good manager. As a case in point, I once left my laptop on my desk overnight against company policy, but it mostly wasn’t my fault, as I was forced offsite with little notice and thought I’d be back later, but ended up going home from the other location.  I was actually fired for this and a few other minor things blown out of proportion.  This sort of thing says terrible things about management and a company.

6. You try to find staff work they’ll enjoy

It’s a given that sometimes people have to do tasks they don’t want to.  Recognizing this out loud (“Hey this kind of stinks, but…”) shows that you’re aware of their skills and what they want to be doing and recognize this isn’t it.  If you can toss them a good project later to compensate, then “taking one for the team” is a little easier to take – and smarter for you to manage their upset about a lame task.

7. You try to find staff work that fits their skills

It’s an unfortunate reality that IT managers have tasks that need to get done that don’t fit with anyone’s skill sets.  Even so, it’s better to tell people they have some options, like one project or another.  If there’s only one, tell them you’d understand if they don’t want to do it but that it’s all you have.  Just forcing it on someone and acting like you’re unaware it sucks for them will make you look indifferent and callous.  Don’t act surprised when they quit, either.

8. Reward initiative

If someone steps up or otherwise volunteers, show appreciation for this.  If they offer to help, recognize their desire to be useful.  Your staff are your greatest – and likely only – resource besides yourself, and smart managers learn to make their people want to work for them.

9. If a new policy – or an old one – is suddenly enforced, your understanding of an adjustment being needed is good

No one likes change, so if it comes, being fair to staff earns respect and cooperation.  People must adjust.  Giving advance warning and feedback on whether people are doing the right thing is not only right, but just and fair.

10. Give fair performance reviews

This sort of goes back to recognition, but if the company allows, sit down with each staff member before a formal review and ask them for reminders of all the good things they’ve done in a year.  It will help you not forget and be fairer.

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