Leadership Advice for New Tech ManagersBy Guest Author | Posted 2015-01-22 Print
When supervising workers with different personalities and work ethics, you must find a leadership style that's comfortable for you and works well for your team.
By Shravan Goli
For new tech managers, being in charge of your own team can seem daunting, particularly if it’s your first time to the leadership rodeo. You are no longer responsible for just your own work product; you are responsible for an entire team’s.
When you're supervising professionals with a variety of personalities and work ethics, you need to find a leadership style that feels comfortable for you and works well for your team. Here are some guidelines that can help.
Understand your role.
Your job is to lead and to manage. While this might seem obvious for some tech professionals, it isn’t for others. Tech professionals who are transitioning into a managerial position need to remember that their new role is centered on supervision and showing the way for others.
If you're a programmer moving into a senior role, you need to focus less on writing code and more on delegating tasks. Although it's important to keep your programming skills sharp, your primary focus is to bolster your team’s skills and productivity.
Listen and absorb.
With every new job, there is a learning curve. So, as a new tech manager, take in everything you can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or shadow fellow team members.
Different functions within a technology organization will require different ways to approach this. As an example, for a product manager, it’s particularly crucial to soak it all in. You need to know the company’s vision, strategy and product lines inside and out in order to successfully lead your team and create fresh new products.
Come in with a flexible plan.
You were chosen to be a tech manager because of your ideas and strong work ethic. Thus, it would be foolish to begin a new role without any plan of action. Create an outline detailing your team’s direction. Once you have a better understanding of your role, you can tailor that strategic direction.
Project managers working on a product development team might find a formulated plan particularly useful. It can help them determine what product areas need additional attention, and it's also valuable for time management purposes.
Serve as a mentor.
In a recent Dice survey, eight out of 10 tech professionals said that their relationship with their manager weighed heavily on their decision to stay or leave a company. Yet, despite the tremendous influence a manager has on the longevity of his or her team members, more than half (61 percent) identified their managers as graders versus teachers (26 percent).
To be a good tech manager, you must be a good mentor. Whether that is by instituting an open-door policy or setting quarterly goals, you need to make mentoring a priority—particularly since tech professionals have no qualms about leaving their positions if it isn’t the right fit.
In November 2014 alone, 428,000 professionals in the professional and business services sector (which includes tech pros) voluntarily quit their positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With that said, your managerial style can make all the difference in recruiting and retaining top tech talent.
As a new tech manager, you are bound to make mistakes. Simply learn from them and move forward.
What’s most important is to familiarize yourself with the position and collaborate well with your team members. That is what separates the good leaders from the great ones.
Shravan Goli is the president of Dice, a respected career site that brings together in-demand technology professionals and tech-powered companies. An internet and media veteran, Goli is responsible for executing the growth strategy for Dice.com, ClearanceJobs and the Slashdot Media brands. Before joining Dice, he served as CEO of Dictionary.com, general manager of Yahoo! Video and head of products for Yahoo! Finance.
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