Great managers practice great management skills. Here are a few suggestions for what to work on when you step into a managerial role.

by Pierre Bernard
Date Published May 24, 2023 - Last Updated February 20, 2024

You are managing a Service Desk. Congratulations! If you arrived at the position straight from a management program, there is a wide chasm between the books and the real world. You may not have learned everything in your program, no matter how good it is. Do not blindly apply what the books say, it is only the basis. You now need to practice various skills.

If you were promoted from the rank-and-file, you may quickly realize that you are not part of that group anymore. You can still be friends. Do not play favorites though.

Regardless of the path taken above, the following applies. To become as good a SDM as one can be, one needs to practice various skills. I suggest:

Strategy skills

An organizational strategy refers to the overall strategy made up of multiple units, possibly operating in multiple (geographical/market) areas. A strategy determines how the whole organization supports and enhances the overall value within it by creating synergy instead of individual value.

There are different levels of strategy. There is the overall organizational strategy, which is then broken down into the various regions/countries/units/departments/teams. Each of these strategies has a different focus that supports the previous level, even if they require different tools and skills.

What are some of the sub-skills required to manage the lifecycle of a strategy?

  • Know about and understand how to use strategic tools.
  • Know about and understand organizational design.
  • Prioritization, executing, sourcing & purchasing, and communicating the strategy.

Leadership skills

I am a manager; therefore I am a leader, yes? NO!

A leader is not necessarily a manager, while a manager is not necessarily a leader. A good summary for a definition of leadership tells us it is a process of influencing people, to maximize their efforts towards the achievement of a goal. The line between the two is often blurred. Although we expect senior roles in an organization to lead, some people do not know how to lead. They are simply managers telling people what to do.

Being a (good) leader has nothing to do with:

  • One’s seniority, age, tenure, or position within an organization’s hierarchy
  • One’s title
  • One’s personal attributes

To be a good leader, you must learn to positively influence, motivate, set common goals for people to rally around, develop charisma, communicate effectively, and be a great listener.

Team management skills

Managing a team is easy. You tell people what to do and they do it, right? NO!

In today’s reality, people are bombarded with requests from various sources, especially when working at a service desk. People are not robots. They have emotions, feelings, and shortcomings. Nonetheless, people have passion, desires, skills, and knowledge. Get to know your people.

A good manager is one who knows how to organize, motivate, communicate, and, especially, listen. A good manager knows how to delegate effectively and knows how to develop team members.

A good manager does not let a bad situation fester. If a team member displays an incorrect behavior, a good manager addresses the issue immediately. If this requires disciplinary action, so be it.

Problem solving skills

It seems managers are too often handling problematic situations. We are not talking about ITSM’s definition of a problem, rather the more mundane day-to-day use of the word. While some problems are simpler, hence easier to address, others are quite complex and require more time, skills, and knowledge. Regardless of the problem, there is a process to follow. Before applying a resolution, as an SDM you will have utilized a problem-solving approach. The approach to use depends on the problem, your familiarity with the approach to use and your preference regarding which method to use.

Communication skills

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, shy or outgoing, as an SDM you must communicate verbally, communicate in writing, and communicate via body language. Communication requires a target audience, a desired outcome, the message, a media to deliver the message, a feedback mechanism, and a verification process.

In the next article, we will explore 5 additional key skills to start developing and mastering. These skills will help you not only as an SDM but in other management or leadership roles in your career.

Tag(s): supportworld, support models, best practice


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