Tag Archives: it manager attributes

10 skills that can help you get an IT manager job

managersYour experience and technical credentials may make you a strong candidate for an IT manager position, but the CIO may want something more. Non-technical attributes can help you stand out from the competition and tip the hiring decision in your favor.

Maybe you have the skills and experiences the CIO is looking for in a certain position — but there may be many other applicants with similar resumes on the CIO’s desk. The 10 traits listed below extend beyond the required skills and can help set you apart from the other candidates. Look at your resume and try to tie in examples and experiences to these traits in cover letters and during interviews.

#1: A self-starter attitude

CIOs want managers who take initiative and want to do a good job. Being proactive is an excellent trait as long as it’s consistent with the mission.

#2: Adaptability to change

Our IT world is constantly changing and those who are adaptable tend to achieve more. CIOs need managers who can adapt to change and maintain high levels of productivity even in uncertain times.

#3: Appreciation for good customer service

People who understand the importance of client service know that clients, or users, are the reason we have an IT career. They also know how to take precautions when working on issues that can cause downtime and loss of productivity.

#4: Team player

Too many excellent technicians lose their value to an organization when they can’t work effectively in a team environment. Demonstrating an ability to work successfully with mixed teams of IT staff and users is a tangible asset.

#5: Proven commitment

CIOs want people they know will go the extra mile when called upon to take care of a situation — those who will do what it takes to succeed individually and for the team. True performers come through under pressure.

#6: A strong desire to achieve

It’s hard to teach people to want to succeed if they don’t already have the desire. Having such a desire puts an emphasis on getting important issues resolved, and CIOs need people who recognize when a situation calls for “all hands on deck”.

#7: Problem-solving skills

Putting out fires is a big part of any IT manager’s role, and competence doesn’t necessarily mean a manager has to have all the answers. Good managers are willing to work hard to find answers and enjoy the challenges that land on their desks.

#8: Solid communication skills

Being able to communicate effectively with others is necessary in any IT management role. IT managers communicate with everyone these days — from senior management to the CIO to users. Strong verbal and written communication skills will set you apart from most of your peers.

#9: Strong follow-up skills

Nothing is more frustrating for a CIO than to have a manager drop the ball by not following up on a commitment or issue. It probably harms the credibility of the IT organization more than anything. The ability to follow up shows commitment and an understanding of client service.

#10: Low maintenance

CIOs want managers who can operate independently, solve problems and who don’t create personnel or workplace problems. No CIO wants a manager tapping them on the shoulder all day, double-checking things and seeking help. The manager who requires minimal direction and who can deal with issues while ensuring that the appropriate steps are being taken is a valuable asset.

Often, it’s the soft skills and the “warm and cozy” feeling a CIO picks up in an interview that helps you get that management job. Senior managers look for candidates they believe can and will be able to do the job, will require minimal support, and have great “can do” attitudes who lead by example.

Be sure you load up your resume and interviews with things that help demonstrate these type of attributes as well as your technology understanding, , , it can make a big difference.

IT employee work behavior – part 2 of 4

Part 2 – Who we are

If you have not read the first post in this 4-part series and completed the exercise, now is a good time to do it.  Click here to read the post.

Do you have the color combination selected of the traits you would like to have in an IT manager?

Most people who take this exercise pick one of two color combinations:

If you look closely, they are exactly the same except for the second color. In the first series, the second color is Red, , , and in the second series it is Green. The other three color options are the same in both series.

There are four personality areas I want to discuss with you. With what I’ve just laid out, you can already see that the majority of opinions select the same color combination in three of the four areas. The reason is because we are all quite a bit alike when it comes to how we approach work as IT employees, , , especially in three of the four areas.

Here are the keys that make it this way.

Traits Set #1, , , Technically oriented or social?
We want decision makers who are technically oriented managing our IT organizations. We do not want people who prefer to follow and are indecisive as managers. Therefore, RED gets the vote almost all the time.

Ninety percent of IT employees have RED tendencies in this area.

Traits Set #2 – Introverted or extroverted?
We would like our IT managers to be excellent communicators and comfortable in communicating with others. That’s what we would like but seventy percent have GREEN traits. This means most IT managers are shy and introverted.

It does not mean they can’t communicate well, but communication with people outside their immediate network like department managers and senior managers is definitely a challenge that must be overcome.  GREEN traits are where most IT people are in this one.

Traits Set #3 – High or low sense of urgency?
We would like an IT manager to have a high sense of urgency, , , not someone who is happy if we resolve a problem three days later. If a system is down, the IT manager needs to be in a hurry to get it fixed. At the same time, the manager needs to be a calming effect, , , not Chicken Little running around shouting, “The sky is falling!”.

Eighty-five to ninety percent of IT managers have a high sense of urgency, , , so GREEN traits get this vote.

Traits Set #4  –  High or low detail?
This is a tough one. As a programmer or a Systems Administrator, we need to be high detail to do a good job. Fortunately, ninety percent of us are high detail in IT. The challenge comes when we become IT managers. As a manager, you don’t want to be so detail oriented. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of detail when working as a manager, , , but now we have to delegate and let others take care of the technology detail.

Many of us have a difficult time letting go of the detail, and I can tell you this will impede your progress as a manager if you can’t make the transition from technical expert to business manager. It’s a whole different ball game when you become the manager.

So, RED includes the traits that are found in 90% of the IT staff.

Basically, you can say that 90% of all IT people are:
Self starters
Decision makers
Technically oriented
Have a high sense of urgency
Do not like repetitive tasks
High detail and knowledgeable about the job
Like to have things done accurately and their way

That’s essentially everyone in IT if it is 90%.

70% are shy and introverted. That’s also quite a majority of your people or of the IT manager community. If you are shy and introverted, it means two things:
1. You probably have weak communication skills.
2. Your desire to communicate is lower.

Not a problem too much as a programmer, , , but for an IT manager this one becomes a real issue.

In the next post, I’ll share some insights and challenges about the four personality areas that drive most of your IT staff:
– Independent and technically oriented (90%)
– Shy and introverted  (70%)
– High sense of urgency  (85%)
– High detail  (90%)