What constitutes “manager material” within your organization? For some people, it means choosing the person with the most experience in the given field, in this case in IT, because having those years under their belt gives them a unique perspective and the ability to seamlessly guide others.
Then again, you have the natural cheerleaders, people who have seemingly endless bounds of enthusiasm that help teams thrive even when the toughest of projects come along.
Although most will agree that a manager is a relative term incorporating a slew of qualities, it’s safe to say that you can teach and grow most of those skills in your IT managers.
Helping them develop those skills will benefit them as professionals and it will certainly empower your entire organization to move forward.
The simplest portion of being a manager is organizing team-building sessions that help build up company morale. The hardest, however, is being open to criticism when you’re meant to be the role model of the company.
Still, exchanging ideas should include team suggestions on better leadership strategies. That’s why you should enable your IT managers to have scheduled meetings with their team to talk leadership, not projects and deadlines.
This change of pace will create more of a level playing field for all, allow greater transparency, and show your future leaders that managing others starts with managing yourself.
Although leaders need to be built one day at a time within the process of actively managing their teams, you need to keep in mind that there are entire swarms of courses designed for the IT industry to help aspiring leaders bring out their best qualities.
As a leader yourself, you should recognize the limits of what you can pass on to your managers, and let them participate in corporate IT training to further develop their skills and knowledge.
By becoming better at their core job and by keeping up with the latest, most cutting-edge IT trends and solutions, your managers will be better equipped to handle their leadership roles.
IT enthusiasts are curious by nature, so this will be a rewarding opportunity to encourage their professional and personal growth, as well.
Employee engagement extends to your managers, and when you run a hectic IT business, the corporate structure should be based on through-and-through engagement among all of your departments and staff.
That said, encourage your managers to show interest in executive-level meetings, topics, and decisions. In addition to assigning tasks, working on evaluations, and similar issues, managers in the competitive world of IT have that added crucial role to help with employee retention, which is where engagement allows them to do just that.
When your leaders are engaged, your team members will be far more likely to share the enthusiasm, too. This should be the overarching motto of the entire business, since engaged people are more likely to be innovative, avoid burnout, and feel valued in a team.
It’s vital to transcend the notion of collaboration in its basic sense as simply using the same desk, the same project management tool, and working together on the same project.
Collaboration in its truest sense entails several, much more profound characteristics, including the mutual trust of the people involved, avoiding linear thinking, and cooperation over the competition to claim more “ownership” over any single aspect of a project.
It’s in the hands of your leader to inspire trust, ensure cooperation, and to nurture creativity. Give your IT manager a smaller project with their new team. Let them hone those skills to perfection as you prepare them for the full extent of their leadership role.
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When your IT guru learns you’re about to promote them to a whole new managerial role, they might feel pressured to reach for an even greater workload, more responsibilities, more hours at the office, more of everything.
For starters, let them know that taking on this new role means they actually need to do the opposite and learn how to delegate tasks so that they can effectively lead their team better.
Also, they need to learn that leadership isn’t synonymous with micromanagement, quite the opposite, and that helicopter-managing is out of the question.
Collaboration is encouraged, as we’ve already mentioned, but do help your leaders with those nuanced behavioral patterns and choices they make daily that sometimes reflect their desire to simply not fail.
On that note, let them know that being a manager involves making mistakes just like any other job does and that a strong leader knows how to own up to those mistakes and learn from them rather than ignore them.
Leaders are rarely born, they need to be cultivated. Nurturing a leadership-based culture in your business means that you’ll always have room for people who clearly have the needed prerequisites for becoming managers, but you’ll also always be prepared to listen to their own aspirations and preferences.
Giving them the means to then pursue those managerial aspirations is half the battle, and choosing the right strategies is vital, which is why you need the listed methods in your own arsenal to ensure proper growth in your ranks.
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