Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 1st 2015 Contents B4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, December 1, 2015
For many people, moving into management is a
sign of success.
It means more money, more responsibility and
a greater chance to have an impact on their com-
pany's long-term plans.
But if climbing out of the trenches is your goal,
it's important to have a realistic idea of what's
The Manager's World
Becoming a manager isn't just about growing
your current role to its next logical step. Instead,
it means drastic changes to the work you'll do, the
way you'll interact with others, and the scope of
issues you'll be responsible for.
For many professionals, such dynamics are simply
part of the territory that comes with an advancing
career. But others may not be prepared for the sud-
den shift in priorities and approach that's required
when you become the boss.
It's a tough change to negotiate. As a manager,
you're not just a part of the team -- you have to
lead the team. People will look to you for direction,
for advice, for coaching and to resolve conflicts.
Where before you were only responsible for your
own work, now you'll be judged on how well the
work of others gets done.
As if that's not enough, your relationships are
going to change. Your peers aren't your peers any-
more. No longer can you vent about a colleague or
wonder out loud if the CEO knows what the heck
he's doing. When you're in the manager's chair,
your opinions and behaviour take on a whole dif-
Managing in IT is a complex proposition and
requires skills that go far beyond the technical. The
ability to communicate, to organize, to present and
to listen become more important than your knowl-
work in the same building and with the same people
as you did before, in many ways you're entering a
whole new world.
The Work of Others
As a tech professional, you were judged on your
skill and ability to contribute as a team member.
As a manager, you'll also be judged on how well
your team performs under your supervision.
No longer will you be a technical professional
responsible for coding assigned portions of a project
or troubleshooting the network's firewall. Now you'll
be on the hook for delivering the whole package -
- the final product, the secure and functioning net-
work -- on-time and on-budget.
The personnel issues, conflicting priorities and
endless questions that used to be someone else's
problem? Well, now they're yours.
It's All About... Them
By definition, a manager is someone who directs
or oversees the work of others. That means that
what you do every day will involve keeping track
of what your subordinates are up to and making
sure they're on course to meet their deadlines, stick
to their budgets and, in general, keep all the promises
they've made to clients or others in the company.
Doing this involves more than asking for status
updates. In the course of talking to people about
their work, you'll have to help them identify and
solve problems that involve everything from code
to non-responsive co-workers.
Effective managers are good leaders, and leadership
is about more than checking off boxes on a to-do
list. It means motivating your team, understanding
the obstacles they face and looking for ways to help
get past them.
You'll need to build a level of trust that allows
you to know when you should leave people to their
work and when you should get involved in an issue.
And, you should be able to make each individual
feel as if their work is more important than a single
assignment and a paycheck.
Tools to the Team
When it comes to putting your arms elbow deep
into the kind of technical issue you excel at, well...
That's not your job anymore.
One of the manager's responsibilities is to provide
their team with the tools necessary to get their work
done, meaning the direction and resources that lead
to clear responsibilities and adequate time for a
project to be completed. Making
sure timesheets are properly filed
is now your headache. When HR
mandates that new training be
conducted, you're the one who
has to make sure the team signs
up. And when that technical
issue crops up? It's your job to
assign the right person to handle
it so you can focus on what
you're supposed to be doing.
Ear to the Ground
Communication is an impor-
tant part of the manager's job,
and that includes information-
gathering as well as sharing
what you've learned.
Just as executives need to stay
up to speed on the status of
your department's work, your
team wants to know about the
company's plans for facing new
competitors or marketing its
In both cases, people will
depend on you to collect infor-
mation from different sources
and put it together in a logical
way. Where, before, your com-
munications were focused on a
few projects, now you'll be in
touch with a wider range of
people on issues that go beyond
the status of certain deliver-
It's a sensitive area. Your boss
will be curious about what peo-
ple are saying when she's not
around, and your employees will
want to know the story behind
the latest feature in the com-
pany newsletter. A good man-
ager knows how to share intel-
ligence in a way that helps
people see context and under-
stand how their concerns fit
into the greater whole.
Good managers spend most
of their time thinking about
their teams and making sure
they've got what they need to
get their work done. Succeeding
requires both the ability to step
back for a wider view and the
knowledge of how technical
parts fit together. Many IT pro-
fessionals love the challenges
that come with moving up, but
more than a few have realized
that their first love is the hands-
on work that managers often
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