People management in IT - how do we prepare managers?

  • 26 September 2022
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I’ve just been reading the ITIL 4 Workforce and Talent Management practice guide and it got me thinking about people management per se. 

It has been 15 years since I managed anyone but I did manage various teams for 15 years before that (inside and outside IT). However, I can’t remember ever being given any (line) management training to equip me.

Just wondering if I’m alone in this or whether we as an industry should be doing more to create better managers.


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I guess I tried to apply what the managers I thought highly of did, but this assumes they were doing the right things for everyone and not just me (and I assume I missed any “personalisation” they did).

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@manns Most of my management training came from the military, and it was a learn on the job out of necessity learning experience. In the realm of IT, I also simply learn techniques from those I think highly of and have seen be successful. But I also think one of the necessary skills of a successful manager is the ability to find ways to keep learning. It would be beneficial if we did more to groom the types of managers necessary for the organization to be successful. There may be hidden talents in our employees that we are not seeing due to the lack of investment into their growth. I am sure there is always room for improvement in the IT Industry.

What ideas do you have to make those improvements?

Userlevel 7
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@manns Most of my management training came from the military, and it was a learn on the job out of necessity learning experience. In the realm of IT, I also simply learn techniques from those I think highly of and have seen be successful. But I also think one of the necessary skills of a successful manager is the ability to find ways to keep learning. It would be beneficial if we did more to groom the types of managers necessary for the organization to be successful. There may be hidden talents in our employees that we are not seeing due to the lack of investment into their growth. I am sure there is always room for improvement in the IT Industry.

What ideas do you have to make those improvements?

@zachary.king I think a good and easy start is something simple that reinforces the importance and potential complexity of people management.

I’d like to think that we all try to be good managers but how many managers have the freedom time-wise to truly invest in finding the best way to get the most from the people in their teams (both now and in the future)? 

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Pattern I’ve seen in my career.

We have a star performer, a staff member that excels at their individual job. We promote them to manager to manage the work of others. We provide no manager training. Everyone flags star performer with low scores as they are not performing the way they where nor meeting unwritten expectations of the new role. Star Performer is now unhappy and failing as a manager, they get frustrated and leave.

I have served small start-ups to large conglomerates, some of the larger companies spend money on employee training and helping you reach a new rung in your career ladder with providing training, mentorship programs, etc.that help teach the mechanics of being a manager team meetings, touch points, evaluations, time off requests, managing difficult personalities, when to call for help or involve others.

Your culture can influence this more than training and skills. Are you an agile company do you empower employees, etc as a manager needs to fit into that culture and be trained on those topics as well. Otherwise you have a manager (for better or worse) not aligned to the company which could create issues at the employee level.

 

Userlevel 7
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Pattern I’ve seen in my career.

We have a star performer, a staff member that excels at their individual job. We promote them to manager to manage the work of others. We provide no manager training. Everyone flags star performer with low scores as they are not performing the way they where nor meeting unwritten expectations of the new role. Star Performer is now unhappy and failing as a manager, they get frustrated and leave.

I have served small start-ups to large conglomerates, some of the larger companies spend money on employee training and helping you reach a new rung in your career ladder with providing training, mentorship programs, etc.that help teach the mechanics of being a manager team meetings, touch points, evaluations, time off requests, managing difficult personalities, when to call for help or involve others.

Your culture can influence this more than training and skills. Are you an agile company do you empower employees, etc as a manager needs to fit into that culture and be trained on those topics as well. Otherwise you have a manager (for better or worse) not aligned to the company which could create issues at the employee level.

 

What a great example/scenario @PatrickMurphy

Add to this that employees often leave their manager not the company and it’s an unwanted gift that keeps on giving.

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