How to become an effective IT manager: How to manage a tech team

Traditionally, effective managers were defined by their ability to monitor, control and discipline employees. Today however, we’ve moved away from the autocratic stylings of yore and towards a more collaborative approach. With management structures evolving at a rapid rate, look out for these 8 things that effective IT managers do well.

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1. Provide the tools needed

No talented techie will be satisfied working on substandard infrastructure so make sure you’re investing in the necessary IT. The best tech employees are always looking to stay ahead of current developments so ensure you’re providing adequate training to keep your tech team invested (and competitive).

2. Facilitate creativity

Developers, engineers, designers and product managers are problem solvers first and foremost. To be effective in their roles they need to be given the space to be creative. That not only means you’re giving them autonomy over their work, it means you’re providing collaborative workspaces for them to explore the problem in further detail.

3. Delegate

You don’t need to share the technical expertise of your IT team to manage them effectively. Recognise your own shortcomings and be honest about them. Acknowledging that a subordinate is better at a certain task or aspect of the job leads to increased productivity and strengthened working relationships.

4. Offer feedback

Technical employees process feedback better when it’s factual, not emotional. Your IT team will be passionate about making things work more efficiently, show them how to do that through data. For example don’t tell them customer reviews have been poor, show them the stats around customer engagement and satisfaction. You should also ask for your team’s input. The most creative tech environments are those where employees feel comfortable offering their feedback and suggestions.

5. Support don’t surveil

Successful leaders don’t micromanage their staff. They trust their team to perform efficiently and then give them the freedom to do so. Dee Murphy, Organisational Psychologist and Expert in Residence at Jobbio says this will become a core issue for younger generations beginning their career in IT.

As managers, Millennials will fully embrace non-linear promotional paths and encourage fast-paced innovation. These leaders will have to effectively communicate to manage virtual teams. Gen Zs (their successors) will be the most independent employees yet – needing complete autonomy to control how they take in information and get things done."

6. Give credit where it’s due

Nothing motivates people more than recognition for their work and reward for their accomplishments. Bonuses or holiday days won’t always be appropriate but never underestimate the value of a simple "thank you".

7. Communicate

Regardless of how stacked a manager’s workload is, it’s important to make time to update and listen to employees. This will actually save time in the long run as everyone will have a clear idea of what they’re doing.

Grace Looney, CMO at Jobbiosays: "In fast-paced environments, internal communications and keeping the team updated can sometimes be the last thing on a manager’s mind but really those are the exact circumstances when speaking with the team and bringing them along with you can be most important."

8. Deal with conflict

Managing any team will inevitably lead to clashes and conflict. When this occurs, it’s important to face it head on. Avoiding or underplaying a dispute in the workplace will only prolong the problem. Bring the aggrieved parties together and facilitate an open discussion.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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