IT Employment

10+ questions to help determine how well you're performing as an IT manager


External feedback and performance reviews can only go so far in helping you discover your shortcomings, set improvement goals, and build on your strengths. Sometimes, you also need to take a hard, honest look at your performance and ask, "Would I hire myself for this job?" Knowing yourself, your skills, and your experience -- and knowing the job (since you're already doing it) -- you're well positioned to ask, "Am I the best, practical choice for the job I have or could my organization do better?"

For this strategy to work, you have to ask yourself the tough questions and answer them truthfully. Although those questions will vary from job to job, here are some that might work for you. If nothing else, they will give you an idea of the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself if you're serious about excelling in your work.

Note: This list, which is also available as a PDF download, is drawn from the article "Be Honest: Would you hire yourself?"

#1: Technology changes everyday. Can you list three examples of things you're doing to keep your technical knowledge current?

#2: Your boss has a family emergency that's going to keep him or her out of the office for a week. Your boss can call only one person to keep things running until he or she returns. Are you the one who gets that phone call? If so, why? If not, why not?

#3: What specific steps have you taken over the past six months to either increase the performance of the bottom 20 percent of your staff or to move them to positions where they can be successful?

#4: When was the last time you talked with the account reps for your three largest vendors?

#5: What specific steps have you taken over the past six months to keep your star performers on board and motivated?

#6: If your group services internal clients, what do they think of the work your department is doing? Are you guessing or have you actually asked them in the last 30 days?

#7: If you suddenly get sick, do you have a subordinate you could trust to keep things moving until you get back?

#8: When was the last time you checked on the financial stability of the outsourcing firms you use?

#9: Do you know which of your department's projects is furthest behind schedule? Do you know why?

#10: Consider your direct reports. Does each of them know what your top three priorities are for them?

#11: Consider your boss. When was the last time he or she asked you to take over a special project? If it's been more than six months, why do you think that is?

#12: Can you list three things you're doing to help HR with recruitment or retention?

#13: Personal networking is important for you and your organization. What professional associations do you belong to, and how active are you in them?

A continuing process

For this self-interview to be worth the time you spend on it, you must not only ask tough questions but also make the necessary improvements. On the other hand, the only person who knows the results of this interview is you. If you're relentless in uncovering and correcting your own management weaknesses, you'll find it much easier to land the next job down the line.

5 comments
zoredache
zoredache

Isn't 2, and 7 the same point, from slightly different perspectives?

AristonCC
AristonCC

Now here's an interesting question. I'm the systems engineer and pretty much the lead in a small 8 person IT department. I know that my manager is missing several of these questions. How would I go about showing him this list without fear of retribution. Our department has no clear goals and it feels stagnant so this is the perfect questionnaire to ask. Any recommendations?

Kirk Webber
Kirk Webber

11. When your colleagues need something from your team, do they come to you, or directly to one of your staff? Why? 12. If your peers drew up a list of people they considered dependable and responsible, would your name be on it?

MikeGall
MikeGall

If you often work closely with vendors, do they try to recruit you away from your current position. I work in the medical field, a lot of the training courses I go on are the same as their internal engineers. I always seem to hear subtle things like, this company is great to work for, or we are hiring like crazy, or I've been following your posts on our user groups closely. Like Cuba Gooding, show me the money :)

mandersen
mandersen

No, #2 asks if YOU would be the replacement. #7 asks if you HAVE trained/mentored someone well enough to cover in case you are out.

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