In the tech industry, managing is a delicate balancing act. Of course, you need to “manage up” to meet your supervisor’s expectations. But you must balance the needs of upper management with those of the individuals that work for you. How can you accomplish that and succeed on the job?
Your employees need to know that you understand their job and have their backs if trouble should arise. Don’t jump to conclusions if there is a complaint or problem. If you remain calm and hear them out, they are more likely to come to you with small issues before they become big problems. While you don’t have to be capable of entirely performing their job, they should be confident that you understand the responsibility and stress associated with it.
Be an advocate.
In the tech industry, employees frequently need to work long hours, sometimes with little warning. This can impact their work/life balance, It’s essential to recognize this, and take steps to manage stress levels. Consider comp time that will allow employees to take an extra day off or go home early to offset those extra-long days. Managers who don’t pay attention to potential for burnout or the impact on personal lives will not get as much out of their employees.
Successful managers will communicate openly with their employees to learn what their goals, ambitions and fears are. Do they have their sights on a management role? Are they worried that their skills will become obsolete? Are they looking for development opportunities? Being aware of these things and putting together an action plan is a big contributor of your success as a manager.
Your employees are not your friends. While you should be cordial and friendly with them, it’s important to maintain a professional distance between them and yourself. If you become excessively friendly with a particular employee, when the time comes that you need to discipline or correct that employee, it will be difficult. Also, other employees will perceive favoritism even if it doesn’t exist.
Respect their skills.
Too often managers in the tech industry come from hands-on tech jobs themselves and tell employees that they could do their jobs as well as they do or better. Even if that’s true, check your ego. It’s not something that’s going to foster a positive working relationship.
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