Force yourself to communicate

Are you aware that over 70% of us in IT are shy and more introverted as opposed to being outgoing and extroverted? I’ve been studying IT personality types since 1990 and have measured hundreds of IT managers and technical resources. The results are so consistent it’s almost scary.

If you work in IT, I can guarantee you that there is a 70% or better likelihood that you are shy.

You may not appear to be shy around your immediate network (your pals), , , but when it comes to socializing with people outside your network it is a struggle for most IT people.

Doesn’t matter if you are the CIO, a seasoned IT manager, a programmer, project manager, or desk top technician. If you work in IT, the odds are high you are more introverted.

Two traits of introverted people
Before I give you these, let me just say that there is nothing wrong with being shy and introverted, , , nothing at all. What it does mean is that certain things you need to do to be successful will be more difficult.

Trait 1 – Poor communication skills. Shy and introverted people have more difficulty in social settings and being able to communicate effectively, , , unless they have recognized this problem and made efforts to develop these skills.

Trait 2 – Lower desire to communicate. This may be a bigger issue than actually being a poor communicator. This lack of desire to communicate with people outside your immediate network can be a big problem for any IT manager. To succeed you must communicate effectively with several groups of people:

  • Senior management
  • Department managers
  • Employees
  • Vendors

Put things in motion
I’m one of the majority of IT managers who is introverted and shy. If you were to attend one of my classes or meet me in person, you probably wouldn’t believe so or recognize it in me, , , but I can assure you I am. My wife of almost 40 years would also verify this for you, , , and she certainly knows me, even better than I know myself I think.

Because I know I’m shy and introverted and I understand the challenges this trait creates, , , I put some things in motion that will force me to communicate as soon as I start managing an IT organization.

Let me repeat, , , FORCES me to communicate !!

  1. Monthly IT Support Status Meetings with key clients
  2. Monthly IT Staff Meetings with my IT employees

These monthly meetings require me to prepare and to communicate with clients we support (viewed as senior managers and department managers of the company) and the employees in my IT organization.

Communicating with your clients and employees on a regular basis is critical in keeping them informed and giving you the opportunity to coach and manage expectations. When you fail to communicate you lose credibility and essentially lose touch with the people you need to be close to.

When you know one of these meetings is coming up, , , you will prepare for it and communicate with the group you plan to meet with.

Make it simple for yourself. When you join a new IT organization, create a schedule to meet with your staff for 1-2 hours the first week of every month. This schedule will take the guesswork out and also eliminate your procrastination. If you don’t schedule it, things will come up and you won’t get around to it.

Do the same with your clients by scheduling monthly status meetings to cover the support issues and status of key projects that impact your client.

Schedule your communication events and make it happen.

3 responses to “Force yourself to communicate

  1. Joseph,
    Good question. I see part of your job as the manager to learn what’s going on in the company at the senior management level and also at a client level (department managers), , , and to share this information and how it impacts your IT organization with your IT team. Much of the communication in a staff meeting is one-way but also a time for collaboration on some specific issues. I tend to use these meetings for coaching opportunities, awareness events and training. For the most part, it’s an opportunity for you to deliver information to your team more so than getting information from them. My list of discussions usually includes:
    – company level information
    – client department information and insights
    – my agenda (coaching on improvements needed)
    – project updates and upcoming challenges/opportunities
    – recognition
    – training event
    Hope this is of help.

  2. Mike – any tips on what topics to include in team meetings? I share information received from the higher-ups, but our company doesn’t do such a good job on communicating. It also seems like our team meetings are one-way discussions most of the time. Getting input from the team just doesn’t happen very much during the meeting, although it does when I meet with somebody individually.

  3. Siany Atmavidya

    Dear Mike,
    When I read your statement this morning about “to force yourself to communicate”, I do not feel alone anymore, It’s look likes I relief from my burden. I just realized that this kind of problem is not only happened to me. The best part of it is your solution!!! thanks so much to get another enlightment from you.

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