Transitioning from techie to manager

This posts wont be for everyone but its something that I wanted to share some thoughts on and it will the first in a series of posts around management and my experience of making the step change.

I have been working in IT for 14 years and during that time I have led project teams, been part of a team and worked alone, but the one common theme was that I was full-time on the tools. You know how it goes, Clicking buttons, tearing your hair out late at night over cryptic error messages or taking phone calls from users who just don’t get it at all.

About two years ago I was offered a new role to lead a small team of 5 infrastructure engineers. It was still considered a hands on role, but I would also coach, mentor and be the escalation point for the team. I figured that this was  a chance to try something a bit different, and so my career as a manager took its first steps.

Over the past two years I have learnt a hell of a lot about myself and people in the work place… and I have learnt a lot the hard way as well. Which got me to thinking that I could actually write a few posts on some of the step changes that I have seen since being responsible/accountable for more than just my own work load and maybe share some of the tips that I have around the following subjects.

How your day changes

Mentoring and Coaching

Giving good and bad feedback

Becoming the boss of peers

Project Management

Managing Upwards, sideways and down

Interviewing

One to Ones

Goal setting

Performance reviews

Appraisals

and the list goes on. Some of you maybe thinking that is all easy stuff but I didn’t find it all that easy and maybe I can help someone else deal with the step change a bit quicker whilst making fewer mistakes in the process! On top of all that I still have to keep my hand in on the technical aspects but at a slightly higher level, which is good as I still like to click the odd button and flex the technical muscles!

For those thinking about making the change I would say go for it, especially if you like working with people and helping them to achieve their goals. One of the biggest change for you as a new manager is realising that your success is no longer installing and configuring a new vSphere Cluster, or migrating your user base from Office 2010 to 2013, your success is realised though others doing these things. You help them to do it and advise, guide and teach along the way. Sure you will get the chance to click a few buttons but you wont be measured on that any more, or maybe not so much.

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