Each month, we ask HDI’s Top 25 Thought Leaders a question, and ask them to share their wisdom. This month’s question is, “What is the one piece of advice you would give to a new, first-time IT service or support manager?”
Here is what they had to say:
I would say listen to your staff and be open to different answers and solutions. There are many different ways to resolve an issue, and this shows that you are willing to interact with your team.
KCS Program Manager, Motive
Remember your ABCs - Always Be Curious. One of the greatest things about the IT service and support industry is the network of resources available to you. Get involved and learn from everyone you can. Whatever you or your organization is struggling with, someone else has likely been there already and figured it out. Know that what worked for them may or may not work for you, but it is a great place to start. Your organization is never too big or too small to learn from someone else. Reading blogs like this or listening to podcasts are valuable resources, but get to know people, too. Build a network of other people in the industry, within your company and outside your company. Learn what they do, what is working well for them, and where they are struggling. Learn about the best practices in the industry and what technologies are available. Ask questions, be open to new ideas, be humble, and share what you learn.
Supervisor - Help Desk, Mayo Clinic
Focus on your team members—the people who are providing the service and support. Get to know them, their strengths and weaknesses, their current and future goals, their preferences and motivators, and their stories as to why they have chosen a career in the IT Service and Support industry. This information will help you make your team members successful through development, listening, coaching, mentoring, and keeping them engaged and motivated. An engaged and motivated team will not only provide excellent customer experiences, but will also result in a team that will understand and be supportive of changes made to improve your environment. Don’t do it because you have to, but do it because you want to.
Principal, Tedder Consulting, Inc.
Keep in mind that IT service and support is about the business first, and not the technology. Technology is only a means by which the business does business! Therefore, the first step toward providing excellent service and support is to know your business. What are the products and services offered by your business? How does technology enable the delivery of those products and services? Who makes the strategic decisions about those products and services? What are some things that you can do to ensure that the business meets its business goals and objectives in providing those products and services?
Having the answers to these questions will put you on the right path for providing the level and quality of service that your business needs from IT. If you don’t have the answers to these questions – asking these questions is a great way not only to learn more about your business, but also for building your internal professional network!
CXO & Principal Consultant, Bold Ray Consulting
A piece of advice that I've given most people I've promoted to a first leadership role is the importance of getting out of the weeds. Whether right, wrong, or indifferent, most in IT get promoted to a leadership position because of the work done at the individual contributor level. It's essentially performance recognition and (when done right) tied to leadership skills and a desire to lead others.
The peril here is that it's very easy as a recently promoted top contributor to fall victim to a couple common pitfalls.
First is the belief that your way is "the right way" - or worse still "the only way" to do the job. It's important as a leader to allow others to spread their wings and try different ways of doing things. As a new leader, you'd be surprised what you can learn from your team members... if you just let them show you.
Closely tied to this is the second pitfall - being a perpetual doer. New leaders are often so accustomed to doing it all that they can't get out of that habit, so they just keep going. Learning to identify the various skills of your team members and effectively delegating to those strengths is a key skill to adopt. The transition to leader means allowing others to execute while you remove obstacles and provide coaching insights.
Simone Jo Moore
CEO HumanisingIT, SJM
Be comfortable with the core of your why - the reason you chose to be in this role, and how it fits with the values of the organization. Let your curiosity and excitement of the challenges help you explore, adapt, and build resilience so you remain fluid in the way you approach needed changes.
CEO and Managing Partner of MetricNet, LLC.
The job you are in won't exist in 5 years. AI and machine learning will make it obsolete. This is not a dire prediction, it's a fact. But much like hunter/gatherers evolved to become farmers, and farmers evolved to create the industrial revolution, the next step in the evolution of your career is not something to fear. Rather, it is something to embrace and prepare for. By rising to the top of your profession now, you can emerge as a Support Engineer in the IT landscape of the future. Rather than be displaced by AI and machine learning, the support engineers of the future will manage and direct the AI bots, just as the production line engineers at the major auto companies direct the welding, painting and assembly bots. Study everything you can; learn everything you can; and you will stay ahead of the bots. A bright future awaits those who invest in themselves and learn how to stay two steps ahead of the automation that will consume most of this industry.