Bill Detwiler: Even if you've always excelled in a technical role, you'll need to develop some different skills to succeed in a management position.
I'm Bill Detwiler, and during this episode of TR Dojo, I'll show share five tips to help you succeed as an IT manager.
Some criteria for succeeding as an IT manager are obvious, such as completing projects on time and on budget.
But often, being a good manager is more about how you interact with your staff than how smoothly various projects go. And unfortunately, many tech-savvy IT pros find the necessary interpersonal skills more difficult to master than PowerShell scripts or Cisco IOS commands.
So, that's why the first item on our list is learning to listen to your staff and take their recommendations seriously.
And while you don't necessarily have to follow every recommendation, at least hear your employees out. They are the ones in the trenches, and they will often have insight into aspects of your company's operations that you might not have.
And not only can your staff give you valuable guidance, but taking the time to listen to them shows that you respect them and that you value their input, which is always good for morale.
Tip number two, be accommodating whenever possible.
IT pros often work really long hours and sometimes have odd work schedules. Because of this, your direct reports may need to leave for a little while during the workday.
For example, someone might need to go to the bank before it closed or pick up their kids or come in a bit late because they had to drop something off at the post office.
As an IT manager, always tried to accommodate these types of requests so long as they don't interfere with IT operations.
Number three is a tip that's not specific to IT, but is critical to succeeding as a manger, and that's knowing when to get outside help.
No IT employee knows everything. Everyone has his or her strengths and weakness. Sometimes, a project may come along that falls outside of your employees skill sets. As an IT manager, you must not be afraid to acknowledge that some projects simply can t be handled in house and to outsource projects when necessary.
Now, just because you've transitioned into IT management, don't forget to maintain your technical knowledge, and that's tip number four.
IT managers (and especially Directors and CIOs) often spend more time in meetings than they do configuring servers or troubleshooting problems. As a result, it's easy to let your technical skills become outdated. But there are at least three good reasons why you should maintain your technical skills, even if you don't use them on a regular basis.
First, if you don't have a minimal level of technical knowledge, your staff may not respect you.
Second, you never know when you may need to temporarily handle the duties of an employee who's out sick or left the company. Even if you don't have sufficient time or technical knowledge to complete their projects yourself or permanently fill their role, you should know enough to help those who are will.
Third, vendors will constantly try to sell you things. Having good bit of technical knowledge will help you defend you budget from fast-talking vendors pitching inferior products.
Lastly, IT can be stressful. Being a manager can be stressful. So it's critical for IT managers to regularly take time to do something to relax and de-stress.
Otherwise, you will become apathetic toward your job as you get burned out, and you will become irritable toward your staff. Which will do nothing but sink employee morale and ruin your department's and your chances for success.
Whether you've recently become an IT manager or are considering such a transition, these five tips, from TechRepublic blogger and veteran IT manager Brien Posey will serve you well.
I encourage you to check out the TR Dojo blog for links to more IT practical advice on becoming a great IT manager.
And as always, for more teachings on your path to becoming an IT Ninja, visit trdojo.techrepublic.com, or you can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/billdetwiler.
Thanks for visiting the TR Dojo.