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I have always been an IT tech guy, currently with 25 years experience.

Now I got a job in a company as an IT manager.

I have no prior experience in management.

I have problems knowing when to call for a meeting, how to approach other managers.

And for sure lack of confidence even with younger managers who do not have half of my experience.

Is there a method to learn how to become a manager and if so how? Or this is something you are born with and I should go back to the tech work?

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    You have worked for a few - take what was good and copy that. Avoid the stampy shouty bits...
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 6, 2021 at 5:28
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    When you say you got a job in a company as an IT manager with no prior experience in management, does that mean you were hired in a new company as a manager, or that you were promoted in a management position in your current company?
    – Bogdan
    Jun 6, 2021 at 10:50
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    The fact that you have these reservations is a good sign. The worst managers are the ones who pretend to have all the answers. They think it inspires confidence when in reality it undermines it. Ask questions and listen to feedback from your peers and from your team. Try out different approaches to find what works. You’ll be fine! Jun 7, 2021 at 7:34
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    Note in this question OP says they have an MBA (as well as a PhD): workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/173737/… Jun 19, 2021 at 14:37

2 Answers 2

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If I had to sum it up in three words, it would be: Listen, Evaluate, Decide. Repeat and rinse. Don't forget the "listen" part. All actions you take serve these purposes, this includes meetings, for instance.

Further tips: learn to distinguish minor issues from major ones. Decide minor issues fast. Give yourself time to decide major ones, but decide ahead of time on the order of magnitude of how long you will give yourself for a decision. Say "a week", that may become "two weeks", but it should not become "a month". [Exception: if important new information comes in that forces you to reevaluate.]

Protect your team from trouble, especially from the levels above you. Your team is your right and left arm. Treat them loyally and fairly, and they will go through fire for you. Help them develop themselves. Even if they leave or go to a different department, you will have gained an ally and people will want to work for someone who helps them go further.

You can reprimand your team members in private if absolutely necessary (which is very rare; use it only as emergency button), but never, ever publicly. Praise, however, when you give it, should be public. It should be specific, not generic.

The rest, as they say, is simple common sense and you'll pick it up with time.

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I talked to some managers and gave their views here.

Remember your core purpose. You need to enable your team to succeed at their tasks, to impress the business enough that you are doing well.

This is why you became a manager. You need to achieve enough success that the business is happy with you. You should work out what you need to do to achieve that by looking at at your direct reports, superiors, and equals in the hierarchy.

You should talk to them and look at the data and see how well things are going. Is the department profitable in terms of goals desired and ends met? Are the people within motivated and skilled? Are the superiors reasonable in their goals? Is there any friction with other departments? Are the systems functional and effective? Is the equipment up to date and well funded?

Talking to people and looking at systems will be a lot of what you do early on, in the early stages. Unless you know what's happening and who is doing what it's hard to make your plans. Get a bunch of one to one meetings with people and ask them what they want you to do to be successful at your job, what they think of the company and other people and stuff, and what they do.

Ideally, your company would have an onboarding plan and another manager to help guide you in finding out this, and you should ask about that.

Whatever you do after that will depend on what you find. If your department is doing amazing and fine, you'll have a different strategy to protect the golden goose than if your department is a dysfunctional mess.

You should work out the company cultures and the people with power.

Every company has ways that it works. It has ways you talk to people, schedule meetings, dress, behave, ways you get things done. You should watch people to see what is expected of managers. The better you conform to group expectations the better you can deviate from them when needed and get stuff done.

In terms of how to meet with other managers, look to see how respected managers treat other managers in group meetings. If you want something from other managers arrange one on one meetings with them, talk to them, and ask them. If you need more in depth advise for how to persuade them, look into persuasion manuals, like How to Win Friends and Influence People or Start with No. The general advise is let them talk about themselves, be interested in people, don't say rude things to them.

Anyway, you should spend a few weeks scouting out the place before you push anything too controversial. Do your tasks, have meetings, try to work out what's going on and build trust. You need to embrace the situation as it is before you do anything.

Look for early wins.

The success of a manager is often measured in succeeding in visible and interesting ways. This is where the issues often come. The new manager comes in, looks around, and then tries to do things, but they go against some aspect of company culture or try to stop the pet project of someone high up.

That said, if you don't actually do anything of note, you'll have some issues in your career. So, you should find ways to achieve things if you can, early on.

Can you get new equipment to replace old equipment? Automate annoying processes? Get in a proper ticketing system? Get dead projects back on track? Negotiate frictions with other departments? Push the pet project of someone senior? Reduce meetings for employees who need to focus? Handle bureaucracy and company issues for those who don't like politics?

Be aware of the common downfalls- don't micromanage people, don't jump to any quick conclusions, don't intimidate others, accept criticism with grace, and don't just retreat to familiar territory like IT stuff.

Be aware of the roles you could play.

Manager could mean a lot of things. It could mean the person who organizes what work each person does. It could be whoever promotes the careers of the employees. It could mean whoever understands the business vision. It could mean inspiring your direct reports to work hard. It could mean fighting senior management for resources and support. It could mean interpreting the desires of senior management for those below.

Different roles require different skills and aptitudes. For some roles your 25 years may put you in a good place to manage people, for some they would not.

If to succeed at your company as a manager you need to manage a complex net of influence among departments to push a harsh and unforgiving leadership for resources and you lack social skills, you may be poorly suited to leadership.

If you need to understand IT issues with your experience and get the team what they need to succeed, you might do great. Understand what you need to do, and see if you can do it.

Some extra help.

https://www.amazon.com/Challenges-Managers-Face-Step-Step/dp/1501200453

https://www.askamanager.org

https://jockopodcast.com/

These are a few helpful resources for common issues you might face. Most of the issues you face as a manager will be things you can google. As an IT expert you should be used to googling it. It's good to learn the management resources to google to solve problems as well.

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