Most of today's managers in the IT sector do not have the training or the aptitude to properly do their jobs.
I know that's a contentious statement - especially for readers of this blog.
But I am convinced that the majority of managers in this sector do not spend enough time focused on developing or upgrading the skills necessary for competent management. My assessment seems to be shared by some of the top executives.
A reporter for a magazine that has CIOs and CTOs as its primary audience recently interviewed me. I noted in that interview certain behaviors which cause otherwise good IT managers to fail or wreck their careers. My email basket was very soon getting responses from those readers saying they agreed.
Most people who are in management today learned management theory and concepts using books or courses which were created for different times and less challenging environments. Many didn't even have the benefit of those now-out-of-date educational tools. They are in management roles because they were good at what they did and then were promoted. Because they were savvy at IT issues, someone decided they'd be great at managing human beings.
Some are. But from what I see and hear, most It managers are not great when it comes to managing other people. And that puts them (you?) at risk. If your job is to do something which you are not trained or otherwise equipped to do; the likelihood is that you will ultimately fail. You can be able to get by for a while as long as the company is doing fine; but if the market gets tighter your performance is going to be more closer assessed. And you may find yourself out on the street.
People don't care how you got to become their boss. But they do care how you deal with and manage them; and their performance is a reasonable indicator of your abilities. If you don't have a good solid grasp of the fundamentals, it's going to catch up to you. And if you do have a good foundation in management skills and tools, then you should be upgrading them continually to remain state of the art. Otherwise, you can probably be replaced by a new model which can perform better, cheaper, or faster.
It may not be that you'll ever get fired, but perhaps your company will flounder and downsizing will occur, or it will get purchased and changes will be required, or it will be forced to resort to using outsourced individuals to improve the bottom line. However it happens, you may find yourself without a paycheck and writing to me for guidance about how to figure out the next steps for your career. In the last few days alone, I've heard from people between 34 and 55, based in North America, Europe, and India looking for guidance. In a worldwide job marketplace things like these only going to become more prevalent.
When you're choosing your next skill upgrade - give this serious consideration.
John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion dollar organizations and launching start-ups in both the U.S. and Canada. The author of two published books, he is frequently seen providing advice on TV, in magazines, and newspapers.