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Help! I'm being promoted...!

By Smiegel ·
Hi all,

Having read many discussions on these forums, I know that many of you are quite knowledgeable and experienced. I'm hoping that maybe you could steer some of that my way because I am a little lost at the moment.

I have been a sys admin at a reasonably small (25 people) insurance company for three years now and I handle it quite comfortably. However, this company is about to merge with another company very soon and the other company is weak in IT. They do what they have to survive but not more. Furthermore, they do not have an official IT department or an IT Manager.

During lunch today, I was told by my CEO that he intends to establish an IT department in its own right after the merger and that he wants me to manage it. Then he tells me: "You better get stuck into those management books".

The existing IT manager is more comfortable with a set of screwdrivers and the guts of a PC than he is with the boardroom. He?s a nice guy but I have not learnt much from him. Anyway, the CEO wants to see him go.

If this all eventuates, I expect I will be questioned by upper management about my capabilities, qualifications etc. My technical skills are sound and while I do believe I am capable of performing adequately, there are some glaring holes in terms of management experience and knowledge. My obvious question is: How do I begin to learn about the intricacies of this profession and where do I go to find concise and relevant training material, if any exists? I know I can?t learn it all but how do I learn enough to get by initially?. I have about 6 months to get my act together.

This may be a golden opportunity or it may well end up as one of my most embarrassing experiences. Whether good or bad, I would appreciate any suggestions you guys can make.

Thanks

Jimmy

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Management

by Black Panther In reply to Help! I'm being promoted. ...

They have confidence in you enough to offer you the position.

I would mention that you are interested and would also be happy to help further improve your management capabilities by undertaking some further management training which hopefully they might sponsor. This way the understanding and involvement is "both ways" not putting all the pressure on you.

Management is not about dictating but more about listening and people skills.

It sounds to me like your already more than half way there.

good luck

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Management

by j.lupo In reply to Help! I'm being promoted. ...

You can't learn management from a book or leadership for that matter. There are many good books out there that are about management, but you learn by doing.

Subtropicalmist said it well about forming a 2-way street with them to get you some training. It is important to remember that management is about people, roles, and deadlines. Leadership is about people, motivation, vision, direction, and a lot more.

You can read several really good books on the topic. Some authors include Blanchard, Covey, Bennis, DuPree, just to name a few. One that I like because he has done extensive work with technology companies is Schein. He explains some of the different points of view based on the culture of companies and how IT is a subculture (not in a negative way) of the company. In fact, companies have many subcultures that make up the main culture of the organization.

Good Luck. You obviously have what it takes or they wouldn't even approach you.

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Wrong title

by amcol In reply to Help! I'm being promoted. ...

First of all, I'd change my perspective slightly if I were you. Rather than "Help! I'm being promoted..." I'd be saying "Wow! I'm being promoted...". It's OK to have some trepidation going into a new gig, especially when you're being asked to do something you've never done before, but maintain as constant as possible a positive and confident attitude and you're good to go. Act as if, even if you don't really feel it.

To paraphrase that famous philosopher, Yogi Berra, good management is 90% attitude and the other half is aptitude. You'll develop the aptitude.

You're in a small company so I'll guess your IT shop is only a few people. That's good for you on two levels...one, you'll only have a few people to manage, and two, you won't have hierarchial layers to worry about. Makes things a lot easier out of the gate and on into the home stretch. On the other hand you'll have two big issues to deal with right away...one, you're replacing an existing incumbent, and two, you're taking on a non-performing shop. I'll hope for your sake the existing manager isn't too popular, which will make your transition easier, but if he is don't try to compete with his legacy...establish your own, and quickly. After the merger, if you have people who can't cut the mustard don't be afraid to make them go find a new hot dog. The longer you let the slackers stay on the worse things will be.

Yeah, take a couple of courses, read a couple of books, but don't get crazy about that. If you don't read one single syllable about management before you're in the job, you'll still do fine. Trust your instincts...they got you this far.

Do NOT make the cardinal error all new managers make. You are no longer a techie, you are a manager. Repeat after me...I WILL NOT PICK UP A SCREWDRIVER AND FIX THINGS MYSELF NO MATTER HOW GOOD THAT MAKES ME FEEL. It's not what they're paying you for. You're being paid to deliver results, and you now have to develop a whole new set of skills to make that happen. You're no longer expected to do it yourself, you're expected to be able to marshall resources to get it done. You're the captain now, not a foot soldier. You still get to shoot but only after you've formulated and communicated your battle plan, and only after you've made sure all your foot soldiers know what to do and are actually doing it.

Speaking of communication...the one absolutely, positively, totally, no question about it skill every good manager has to have. Be terrible at everything else...nail communication. That means up, down, and sideways. Manage expectations, document results, meet frequently, converse often. If you're doing your job right the last place anyone should expect to find you is behind your desk.

The second most important management skill...execution. If you read nothing else read "Execution" by Larry Bossidy. His premise is simple...ask a lot of questions that begin with "What", but the really important ones begin with "How". Execution is the art of getting things done. Plans are great, but results are better.

You said in your post "This may be a golden opportunity". No maybe about it, this is it. This is your time. You earned it. The brass ring is being held out. Grab it, hold onto it, don't let go of it, but most of all...enjoy it.

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Hear, Hear!

by hayhuc In reply to Wrong title

Amcol hit it all on the head! I have an MBA and while it provided a great deal of business training, it did little for my management skills (or my career for that matter, but that's a whole other story).

One of two things can happen with the opportunity you are being presented:

1. You take the position, do well, and continue your career as a high-level (and high-salary) IT executive.

2. You take the position, do poorly, and step back down to your current position. Sure, you feel bad about the faileure, but you tried. AND, you are back to doing what you already know you enjoy and are good at.

Either way, go ahead and take it. The best thing to do with any opportunity is to take it and see where it takes you. You'll be surprised...

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Help! I'm being promoted...!

by NKQX57A In reply to Help! I'm being promoted. ...

The previous posts are sound advice. The question you should be asking yourself; do I really want to be a manager? Not everyone is cutout to be a manager. If it is really, what you want to do, then go for it. Do not let the politics and boardroom stand in your way.

Good Luck,
Neal

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Thanks guys

by Smiegel In reply to Help! I'm being promoted. ...

Hi guys,

I appreciate the input and references provided. The votes of confidence were also well received.

Points were mentioned that never even crossed my mind. As for whether I want to be a manager or not... I really don't know. It's a great question but I guess it is one that will be answered in retrospect.

Many thanks.

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Managing people is all about Leadership

by bsnsimo In reply to Thanks guys

Managing people can be very rewarding and personally extremely satisfying or just the reverse. There is a lot of bad dope out there and most of the well-known gurus are purveyors of it - they keep writing book after book and sell us the latest fads, but little substance. They are full of one liners.

I managed people for 34 years and had to create my own system. I proved it in effecting four successful turnarounds including a nuclear-powered cruiser and a 1300 person unionized group in New York City.

I suggest that you read these two articles
http://www.bensimonton.com/Listening-the-Doorway.htm

and
http://www.bensimonton.com/Leadership-Skills-Executive-Summary.htm

If these impress you, get the book from which these were excerpted, read it and then call me with your questions (813-634-4003) and I will coach you gratis as time permits.

Success comes from working hard at it.

Best regards, Ben Simonton
Author "Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed"
http://www.bensimonton.com

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