Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I.T. is about the Management

Last month I graduated from GW and the celebration was on the mall. It was awesome, now what do I do with this piece of paper? True I learned some new skills and I've sharpened others. But now what?

Well let’s figure out how to use it. As I often say, IT is about the people --true the technology is cool. Yet the people will MAKE or BREAK the technology and in the end, the CIO will pay the price. The challenge in any field is managing your people. I've have come to find out there are 2 types of managers --micromanagers and hands off managers. Both of these can be successful, but often times they are not. Here is why.

Let's look at the "micromanager". The micromanager has his/her hands in everything. All decisions come from the top. If the micromanager heads a small department, this concept will work. Granted they will upset their employees and may find a revolving door in terms to staffing. I believe the cause of micromanagement is the fact that the manager does not know how to trust their staff. They believe that they know everything and they are the only one who can do the job. The micromanager finds himself/herself spread too thin. Projects fail and the CIO’s shop looks incompetent. Maybe the micromanager should be an employee, not a manager! A true manager can motivate and empower their people to get the job done!

Now here is the dilemma. Is this staff incompetent? If so how to get them competent? Is the manager competent, i.e. can he/she see the big picture and explain it and delegate it to their staff? I could go on all day about the cures. Bottom line is that the manager cannot be everywhere and must be more hands off. The manager needs to empower the employees to be his/her representative.

The hands off manager will empower their people. Empowerment will allow employees to own the process. I use empowerment to grow my employees. My focus is on being the best manager they can be. When they shine, I shine. Empowerment is awesome, and it has its draw backs.

The draw back is if the manager doesn’t understand his/her people and their required skill sets. Just a micromanagers getting too involved, hands off managers who do not understand the limitations and motivations of employees will cause projects to fail. Gather up enough failures and the manager will be unemployed or forced to become the dreaded Micromanager!

To avoid becoming the micromanager, interview your employees and most importantly, understand their career goals. If a person you manage wants to do your job, don’t be threatened – you have the opportunity mentor and train your replacement!

Micromanagement in any industry is bad! It stretches a manager too thin and it exposes weakness – i.e. projects fail. Empowerment without knowledge is worse than micromanagement –often it leads to micromanagement. When managers understand the wants and the needs of employees and then use empowerment to build employees --projects will succeed and organizations will flower!