Being a good IT worker doesn’t mean you’ll make a great manager. The step up to management is a big one, and without the right skills and outlook, you could find yourself floundering. Here are five tips to help you on your way.
According to research by consultancy firm Hay Group, there are six different styles of management: directive, authoritative, affiliative, participative, pacesetting and coaching. The group’s research found that effective managers don’t stick to one style, but slip in and out of all of them as the situation calls for it. In times of crisis, for example, it makes sense to motivate using threats and discipline, but act that way all the time and you’ll soon find yourself with a dispirited workforce. Learn the different styles and apply them when necessary and you’ll not only get results, but morale should get a boost too.
At the same time, don’t come in acting like a new person every day. Employees need stability, and to know where they stand. If you’re erratic and prone to mood swings, your workers won’t know what to expect, which will lead to problems. Taking a disinterested view and hearing all sides will help you stay objective, and not allow your emotions to get the better of you.
The worst thing you can do is come in and completely overhaul the business from day one. If you’re new to the company, take time to learn how it works, what the mix of personalities is like and what each person does on a day-to-day basis. If you’ve just been promoted, what looked so simple might not be now you’re on the other side of the desk. Stay patient, ask questions and learn before you make any big changes.
According to the Hagberg Consulting Group, which develops training programs for the high tech industry, IT professionals are, generally speaking, not particularly good at managing people. The evidence unfortunately suggests that they tend to be rigid and inflexible, and don’t listen to their colleagues much. Make sure you get to know everyone on the team and build relationships that will last. Ask them their opinions regularly, and don’t be afraid to use their ideas to solve problems. Give credit where it’s due, and your colleagues will respect you for it.
You need to prove why you’re here. Get involved in tasks and show your colleagues you can step in and do their job if need be. Cultivate a confident, composed persona and you’ll establish real credibility. Without it, many will question why you were put in this position in the first place.
Use these tips, and you’ll be the boss people want to work for.