So I read this article when it was first published but didn't get a chance to blog about, been really busy, just read it again to refresh my memory. The article highlights management of Geeks, err, IT Staff, nope Geeks, definitely Geeks. No matter how you look at it, nor how much you don't believe yourself to be, there is a fairly high likelihood that if you are in IT you are a Geek, and just because you are not in IT does not mean that you are not a Geek.
Managing a Geek can be complicated, because they don't see, nor do they exactly interact with, the world in the same way that non-Geeks do. Also there are many types of Geek, and while there are some broad generalizations which can be made between the types there are some subtle differences that can make a big difference in how to manage the type. The article really highlights the management of one type of Geek, the logical.
It is logical that the logical Geek would be attracted to IT. What other job function in virtually any vertical market that you may possibly have an interest in working in is guaranteed to be both logical and mentally challenging? There are logical Geeks that do decide to take a path other than IT, which is great because who else would make the toys that the rest of us logical Geeks want to play with at work and at home? IT benefits the logical Geek that is not satisfied with doing just one thing, it gives them the ability to pursue their hobby to make a living, and the opportunity to learn about any and all professions that they desire.
All the points in the article apply to all ranges of logical Geek. Any manager, or aspiring manager, over IT should definitely evaluate to ensure that they keep these points in mind. And don't be afraid to convey them up the chain so that everyone in the management path is aware how to best manage their IT staff. The list is not exhaustive, but should be used as your base. You may find that managing your team does not require anything beyond this, but involve your staff to see if there is anything which you are currently doing which is rubbing the team the wrong way, or which the team believes to be a good idea to do. Your management style needs to be adaptive, just as your team must with the rapid pace of change in our industry.
Most managers in IT organizations also tend to be logical Geeks. This means that the manager should also be a member of the team, actively assisting with the workload. Not only does this help the manager gain and retain respect from those whom he is managing, but it helps him to lead by example which is truly the best way to manage logical Geeks. Additionally this will assist the manager in staying up to date with the technology currently in use as well as in the pipeline. When managing logical Geeks you and your team will be better off if you are seen more as a team lead instead of a manager by your staff.
What type of Geek are you?
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