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IT teams have a lot of their plates, as most organizations rely heavily on their skills to keep everything running. They deal with frequent disasters, sometimes get called in the middle of the night, and can make or break the productivity of the rest of the company. You need a special set of management skills to get the most out of your people and keep them engaged.

Be Upfront With Your Team

Many managers try to avoid ever showing ignorance of a subject to their team. However, even if you got promoted from a front-line IT team, you still won’t know everything there is to know about technology. It’s okay to admit that something is new to you. You can learn a lot about how that employee responds. People who have a deep understanding of their talents can often convey it in a way that makes perfect sense, even if you don’t have a technical foundation to fall back on.

Make It Easy to Communicate With You

This tip may sound like common sense, but some managers try to separate themselves from their team as much as possible. When you’re hard to approach or reach, you don’t put yourself in the position of leadership that your IT team expects. Look for ways to streamline the communication process to foster good communication. For one-on-one conversations, quickly replying to email and texts, loading up an instant messenger and having a private space for sensitive topics helps. Group communication may involve a chat room with the full team, scheduled meetings, and collaborative work platforms.

Understand Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses

You utilize your people the best when you understand where they truly shine. You don’t want to end up with a team that’s disengaged because they’re rarely put into positions where they’re doing the work that they’re most interested in. For your top performers, identify areas that give them room to grow and provide a challenge that’s befitting their high-level skills. For other team members, focus on the talents that they do best, even if they don’t necessarily fit into the original job description.

You also want to keep an eye out for cross-training and professional development opportunities. When you bring in the resources necessary to help the team grow, you show that you value them as more than just workers and you’re willing to invest in them.

The IT team has a tough job, but you can help them meet and exceed expectations with the proper engagement and approach. If this is your first time working as an IT manager, you’ll quickly find that it’s an environment you rarely find anywhere else.

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