Managing Well: What the Best IT Supervisors Know

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Effectively managing and motivating your staff can be challenging, even in the best of times. However, developing a positive relationship with each person on your team is essential to your success as a supervisor: In a recent survey by our company, 43 percent of executives polled said employee job satisfaction is most impacted by the manager-employee relationship.


Top supervisors today entrust staff members with decision-making authority and encourage them to take risks in their day-to-day duties. They’re also interested in team members’ career growth and find out what each person needs to excel at his job. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways you can make the most of this pivotal work relationship.


Lead by Example
Not surprisingly, your behavior serves as a role model to your staff. If your actions don’t match your words, you’ll lose credibility. Make sure you arrive at work on time, consistently meet deadlines and offer help to co-workers overwhelmed with large workloads. Your staff will know the same is expected of them. An upbeat ttitude can also help alleviate tension and inspire others to see the glass as half-full.

Be Clear About Responsibilities
Clarify each person’s role in the department and explain how it relates to the company’s objectives. When staff members know how their work affects the business—whether it’s troubleshooting computer problems or fielding customer calls at the help desk—it creates a feeling of connection to the company’s bottom line that can increase pride in their work.


Share Responsibilities
As a supervisor, it should be one of your goals to help your staff develop professionally. Whenever possible, assign challenging projects to individuals in your group and give them the authority to make decisions on their own. Your trust will inspire their best work, and you’ll have more time to focus on strategy and other higher-level duties.


Focus on Your Team’s Strengths
You don’t need a group of “cookie cutter” employees for a group to be successful. In fact, playing to each person’s strengths is often more productive for everyone on the team. One person’s strong suit can compensate for another’s weakness. Consider carefully how you can best utilize your staff’s talents. For instance, if one employee prefers research and another enjoys customer interaction, let each person focus on what he or she does best, if possible.


Encourage Feedback
Solicit honest, regular input from your staff. You might ask if they feel they’re receiving the training and resources they need to meet department and company objectives. Also, maintain an open-door policy—or designate certain hours you’ll be available to employees—so they know you are willing to listen and help provide solutions to problems.


Recognize Achievements
In any business environment, employees need encouragement and feedback. Look for ways to acknowledge your staff, such as highlighting their achievements in the company newsletter, taking them to lunch or writing a sincere thank-you note. You could also praise someone during a meeting if the person enjoys public recognition. Make sure you give specific examples of how individual strengths and efforts have contributed to the success of the business.


By fostering teamwork and helping your employees achieve their professional goals, you can help maintain your team’s morale and boost productivity—not to mention retain your best employees, in good times and in bad.


Katherine Spencer Lee is executive director of Robert Half Technology (, a leading provider of IT professionals for various initiatives, with more than 100 locations in North America and Europe.

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