What if it’s you?

One of my favourite reads is Tech Republic.  It regularly addresses topics and conversations dealing with the professional edge of information technology.  It’s not an educational publication but it’s pretty difficult not to see the information technology structure in education as just much of a business function.

Recently, there was an article called IT Managers:  Stop making excuses for the jerks on your team.  It was one of those articles that, when you read the title, figure that it’s written by someone just recently done wrong and has a big axe to grind.  The article, short as it is, just boils down to regular common sense and use of manners.  Things that, unfortunately, you don’t see universally appreciated these days.

I would encourage you to read the article and picture it within your organization, whatever that might be.  Don’t just read the original posting – take the time to read the comments.  With any good thought provoking message, there are some first person thoughts from the field.

Let’s face it though…those of us who work with technology and excel can be an odd lot at times.  Frequently, you get so engaged or puzzled by the problem at hand that you can be oblivious to the world around you.  The behaviour, at times, might even be described as eccentric.  Those elements probably go right to the top of your department.

As I’ve told my own kids, when it looks like everyone around you is a jerk, maybe it’s time to step back and look at yourself.  Maybe it’s you that is wrong this time around.  So, what if it is you?

In the article, the author makes reference to a restaurant.  Very clearly there are workers who serve the clientelle.  We all know the restaurant model.  Are we ready to accept the same model in an information technology department?  Should members exist to serve the clients?  Or, are members supposed to be tucked away in their cubicle doing their tasks.  I sure hope that your model is the former.  But, for every call to the help desk, or every plea for help, or every seemingly silly question, do you ever take the time to find out how you did today?  For every department meeting, does the leader get some feedback to find out how it went?  Do the current intiatives make sense both in functionality and the ability to serve your clientele?

So, what if it’s you?  Are you prepared to be professional enough and confident enough to recognize and adjust when someone comes to you and lets you know that you were a little out of line today?  It’s easy to send out edicts when you’re at the top of the organization.  In fact, you probably got there because of your leadership skills.  But, are you always right?  Are you always on your game?  Are you big enough and professional enough to take the advice when someone lets you know "It was you…"

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