Why are IT managers, often perceived as unapproachable? The competitive nature of IT has vastly improved, meaning that the quality of an individual in this field has also improved; however, the stigma surrounding the average “IT Person” has not. Your IT manager should display the same level of professionalism you would expect from any other employee. As taught in Sesame Street, if “one of these things is not like the other, one of these things is just not the same.” Professionalism extends into an array of behavioral and aesthetic qualities, such as social mannerisms and proper attire. One distinctive quality that should be considered is an “appropriate office appearance.” Initial indicators include: a clean shave, fresh haircut, and unwrinkled clothes. A disciplined professional should take pride in his appearance and be conscious of how others perceive him.
When evaluating a potential IT manager, it is important to examine their knowledge level of your product because software and hardware solutions that exist in the market are commonly geared toward a particular industry with specific needs. Consulting with executives about selecting software and hardware solutions requires an innate knowledge of the industry. Your prospective IT manger should know basic types of electrical equipment and the wholesale distribution industry, as well as Windows, Linux, database management, and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.
In addition, it is important to note that the market will dictate compensation. A college degree and experience are also imperative, but perhaps the most important factor in hiring any employee is the basis of his or her motivation for taking the position. For example, you would not hire a salesperson whose life ambition is to become a photographer; because you may end up with mediocre sales and a workstation cluttered with thousands of photos. The proper motivation for an IT manger should be the same for any other position in the company–money. The salesperson is there to make money, the accountant to save money, and the warehouse employee to facilitate making money. Thus, an IT manager’s focus should be to make money for the organization as well. They should look for ways that technology can be adapted as a profit generator.
Always keep in mind “red flag” characteristics. Anti-social behavior is never a good fit for any company because it prohibits the team effort. The “hobbyist” is only concerned with entertaining oneself and conducting experiments with the company’s computer assets and the company’s dime. The insistence on a strange title such as, “Inter Galactic IT Emperor” is an indicator that the individual is motivated by a sense of power, which leads to overly complex IT infrastructures. There should be no visible or behavioral distinction that would set an IT manger apart from any other professional employee in the company. The only difference between your accountant and IT manager is their college degree and experience. If your IT manager came in one morning and sat in the accountant’s chair, an outside observer should be none the wiser.