Essential Soft Skills for IT Managers
A background in technology isn’t the only experience that will make a person successful as an IT manager. There are a variety of skills that are necessary for someone to succeed in a leadership role. Before you decide to advance your career into the management arena, here are some personal skills you need to cultivate.
- Relationship building. Leadership roles depend entirely on how to build interpersonal relationships with employees, vendors, and customers. The IT industry has a reputation for being introverted, but this doesn’t mean that everyone lacks the ability to build relationships. Nor does it mean leadership roles are only for extroverts.
- Communication skills. A critical component for developing relationships is effective communication. It is important that you are able to convey ideas verbally as well as be able to write effectively. Communication starts with good grammar, so a basic letter writing refresher course is a great way to begin. Then add on clarity and you’re in the right direction.
- Customer service and sales. To that end, much of the success of great leaders comes from their ability to work well with outside business sources like vendors or contractors. While it is important that you learn to communicate with the people in your office, you need to be able to provide excellent customer services and sales, even if those aren’t your primary roles.
- Ability to follow up. A good leader also has the ability to follow up on all aspects of the business whenever appropriate. It is essential that everyone within the chain of communications feels that action is always taken in a timely manner. Follow-up skills go along with the other forms of communication, but are also necessary to develop on their own.
- Have business value. Lastly, as a manager you need to prove to your company, and the head of the technology department, that you have value for effective operations. By being responsible for your team and establishing good relationships inside and outside of the company, you can demonstrate your overall business value and prove that you are a good investment for the long term success of the company.