IT managers need to know more than the tech side of a business. And while administrative skills might seem counterintuitive to the IT professional, there are some non-technical skills you must have in order to successfully manage your IT team.
As an IT leader, you serve as the bridge between your team and upper management or business users — ensuring projects are cleared, tasks are assigned, everyone stays motivated, and the work gets done. Having or developing the following10 indispensable administrative skills will help you do just that.
1. Clearly defining projects and goals
Most IT professionals are creative and resourceful, and will find a way to complete any type of project — as long as they fully understand the project’s objectives and desired outcomes. To keep your team productive, you must be able to define requirements, goals, and expectations to a detailed level. This may mean rejecting sandbox work or project prototyping if there is no definable objective, or identifying the right point to cut off work before it enters unproductive territory.
2. Relationship building with upper management
Like it or not, IT is inextricably linked to the politics of business. Your team’s ability to progress hinges on a solid working relationship with mid-level and upper management throughout the organization. Great IT managers are able to build trust with other management personnel, which gives their own team the leeway they need to undertake projects without interference.
3. Fighting for the budget
Nearly every IT team has experienced the frustration of stopped work because it’s “not in the budget.” IT managers must be able to sell the work to management convincingly, with project justifications, detailed returns on investments, and the hard numbers to back everything up.
4. Serving as a political shield
While there are some exceptions, most IT pros would rather stay in the world of technology, and avoid the world of office politics. In addition to relationship building with management, a successful IT manager will take on political pressures and battles for their team, whether the conflict is with management, shareholders, or other departments — ensuring a clear path to progress.
5. Addressing problems proactively
No project goes off without a hitch, but small snags can often become major roadblocks if they’re not addressed quickly. IT managers should be able to spot problems in any area — technical, strategic, political, or operational — and diffuse the issue before it becomes a full-blown situation.
6. Promoting teamwork
A cooperative and committed team is essential to the success of your projects. However, if there is a competitive environment in your organization where everyone feels the need to outdo everyone else, this atmosphere can adversely affect your team and cause them to work at cross-purposes. Effective IT managers must not only encourage, but practice teamwork — and demonstrate that assisting others is just as valued as individual contributions.
7. Employing the power of praise
Encouraging teamwork, along with productivity, job satisfaction, and loyalty, can be fairly easy to accomplish through the simple method of praising your team. Studies have shown that recognition of an employee’s efforts — even if it’s nothing more than a spoken thank you — can drive engagement and boost a company’s bottom line.
8. Demanding accountability
In any given team, you’ll find at least a few people who are adept at passing the buck. They’ll refuse to accept responsibility for mistakes or problems — and when that happens, the whole team loses. As an IT manager, you need to be familiar with the everyday situations and responsibilities of your team. This way, you’ll know exactly what went wrong with who, and ensure that no one is blamed or demoralized for someone else’s mistakes.
9. Being accountable
As the saying goes, you can’t talk the talk unless you walk the walk. Everyone makes mistakes, including IT managers. If you want your team to practice accountability, you need to own up to your own responsibilities and admit when you’ve gone wrong.
10. Spotting employee burnout
Many IT professionals are highly driven, willing to work hard and put in extra time to solve a problem or complete a project on deadline. But this relentless pace can sometimes lead to burnout — a dangerous situation, and one that the most driven of your team will never let on about. As an IT manager, you need to be able to recognize the signs, and step in to reward hard-working team members with a day off to recharge.
At The Armada Group, we recognize what it takes to find great IT professionals, and are adept at picking out top talent in every facet of IT. Speak with a member of our team today, and learn how we can quickly fill vacancies at your facility with the best talent across the nation.