It can be hard to learn how to manage IT service people. If your company relies on IT professionals, however, you need to do it. here’s how.
Cultivate a Culture Of Openness and Alignment
One of the hardest things to do in the IT industry is cultivate a culture of openness and alignment. According to some experts, newly promoted technical managers have difficulty in building alignment, consensus, and teams. They also have trouble being a visionary evangelist, and they have trouble executing managerial decisions.
Managers frequently get themselves into trouble when it comes to building cohesiveness within their team. They have a hard time keeping their workers informed, because they can’t build relationships. The result is often confusion, anxiety, and tension within the team.
This doesn’t stay confined to the team, however. It bleeds over into customer service, and is one reason why many IT teams suffer from severe customer service problems. Many IT managers also tend to be autocratic taskmasters who are reluctant to allow subordinates in on the decision-making process.
Often, this translates into the manager believing that he or she does not need input from staff – a sort of authoritarian ruler of the team. Dissention in the ranks is dealt with swiftly and fiercely. Delegating authority doesn’t come easily for these people, and it’s easy to understand why they have a need to micromanage staff.
One thing that would help is to institute training and management acceleration programs. For example, ITIL certification at Simplilearn would be one way to incentivize IT staff to become more competent. For “control freak” IT managers, that increased competence might initially feel threatening, but ultimately it makes the team better.
Managers tend to be introverted and uncomfortable relying on others for help. They’re also conflict avoiders, so they don’t want to create situations which they perceive as being emotional and out of control.
But, the solution is rather simple. First, IT managers need to define their own role within the company. Their job isn’t to do everything. It’s to focus on:
- Directing the team
- Coaching those with performance problems, and;
- Helping competent team members advance in their career
Balance Work And Life
While management can often be the source of problems, employees aren’t always saints either. Sometimes, employees call in sick or otherwise don’t want to come to work. CareerBuilder lists some of the worst excuses people use for calling into work every year.
Among the top most-ridiculous include an employee who called in because he claimed his grandmother poisoned him with ham. Yes, really. Another employee claimed he was stuck under the bed.
Yet another claimed he broke his arm trying to grab a falling sandwich.
Oh, but it gets better. Number 4 on the list was an employee who said the universe was telling him to take a day off.
Other notable excuses include:
Employee poking herself in the eye while brushing her hair
Employee on the beach because doctor said she needed more vitamin D and;
Employee said her cat was stuck inside the dashboard of her car
How To Deal With Negative Attitudes
It’s unfortunate that we all have to deal with negativity, but it’s also a reality. Some signs of negativity include engaging in gossip, being overly critical of others’ mistakes, and undermining supervisors.
As a manager, your job is to confront the employee, but focus on five things.
First, focus on the outcome. Rather than shaming the employee, focus on what you need to have happen in the workplace. This diffuses the situation fast because it presents the problem as impeding workflow, not as a problem with the employee, per se.
Since the problem becomes a business one, and the solution is increased productivity (which precludes negativity), the solution is for the employee to “shape up or ship out.” You never have to actually give an ultimatum, since the solution is highly suggestive.
Focus on the benefit of dropping the negative behavior will be.
Don’t soften the blow. You should be truthful with the problem employee, but you shouldn’t sugarcoat anything either. Finally, use the word “we.” That’s more unifying than “I versus you”-type talk. Using “we” focuses on the fact that you are all on the same team.
Dealing With False Resumes
Sometimes, job candidates stretch the truth on their resumes, but you don’t catch it until after they’re hired and it becomes obvious that they were fibbing.
Honesty is, of course, the best policy and there’s good reason to believe most employees are or intend to be honest. But, at the same time, you can’t have underperformance because of a lack of competency on the job. Blind tests can often be a better way to interview employees and weed out candidates regardless of their resume writing skills.
Chandana is a Senior Content Writer for Simplilearn.com. She has a M.A. in English Literature from Gauhati University and is PRINCE2 Foundation certified. Her unique and refreshing writing style continues to educate and inspire readers from around the world.