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In this weekly series, Todd Dewett, PhD, shares the tips respected and motivated managers use to improve rapport, navigate tricky situations, build better relationships, and drive the business forward. Each week, we'll release two tips ranging from avoiding the dreaded micromanagement to managing a multigenerational workforce, cultivating better listening skills, and developing an understanding of your organization's politics. Check back every Wednesday for more Management Tips.
This course qualifies for 5.25 Category A professional development units (PDUs) through lynda.com, PMI Registered Education Provider #4101.
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Given the importance of highly technical employees to the ongoing operation of most organizations, it's a bit surprising we don't recognize their unique needs. They're important. I'm referring here to any highly technical employee, but in particular, to Information Technology professionals. Be honest, have you or the team ever been shut down by a computer glitch at a very inconvenient point in time? It's moments like those when you realize their importance, and your need to cultivate quality relationships with your technical staff.
The benefits are huge and often include: faster response times when you're in need, shorter cycle times before you receive new software and hardware, not to mention their willingness to help you with your personal computer, tablet or laptop. To make sure they really have your back, be sure to remember these great tips. First, realize that once in awhile, you need to overtly say, thanks. I don't advocate openly stroking someone's ego terribly often. But sometimes, a little bit of that behavior is useful.
And your IT staff will love it. Ego surrounding technical prowess and work achievements is strong in the IT world, so take advantage of this when it's earned. Next, always look for signs of doubt or serious admissions of worry. If an IT person tells their manager they need help or don't know something, pay attention. When faced with a problem they can't solve, the average employee will quickly turn to their boss. Not the IT pro. If they go to their boss, you can bet they've exhausted every possible means of resolving the issue themselves.
Asking for help is like an admission of guilt. It's a form of defeat, and it means there's a real problem. If you see this happen, be kind and find the resource that has the answer. Next, be sure to invest correctly in your technical infrastructure and technical training. The IT budget isn't a good place to start making cuts when things get tough. Your tech team will expect most of the latest software, hardware, and gadgets. I know you can't give them everything, but do try to give them a little preference.
Training is equally important. They love to be up on the latest issues, and you want them to be. It keeps your firm safe, and the operation functioning. Last, be sure to expect a little eccentricity. I mean this with great respect, but IT folks can be a little colorful. Sometimes they have their own lingo, hilarious hobbies, or maybe even odd workplace decorations. Big deal. As long as it's not disruptive, embrace it. These eccentricities are a part of the larger diversity that makes us special.
Besides, the more comfortable you make your techies, the more they'll take care of your company. Eccentric or not, IT professionals are amazingly important. And they deserve a little special care and feeding. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll find out just how useful your technical staff can be.
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