Magazine article Management Today

First-Class Coach

Magazine article Management Today

First-Class Coach

Article excerpt

You need to make a shift in your mindset so that you start seeing your new role as a challenge.

Q: I'm head of an IT department now and I'm not enjoying being a manager. I spend all my time sorting out people problems when I could be doing more important things. I don't want to step down and lose pay and privileges, but I'm miserable.

A: Matthew Graham-Hyde is chief information officer for the United Business Media Group. Responsible for overall IT systems and support provided by more than 300 IT people, he spends much of his time establishing IT services in India, where he has a further 150 staff. He concedes that a lot of technical people find it difficult moving into a management role. 'They are used to dealing with inanimate objects and short-term problems. There's no instant gratification in management like there is in cutting code. If they're introverted, it's even harder.'

But he doesn't sympathise. 'Management is all about people. You've got to understand your organisation and then deliver what it needs. You can only do that if people want to work with you. That means lots of interface with them.'

The only exceptions are the very few who are great technicians and can become chief technical officers, architects of major systems, running big budgets. These rare individuals, he says, can be excused from day-to-day management responsibilities and need to be well rewarded for their talents. The rest, having reached the pinnacle of their technical specialism, have to accept people management as a major part of their future role, or decide to stay at that level.

Of course, other options are to leave or to remain miserable in your job - although, as a coach, I would never recommend that a client resign themselves to continuing unhappiness. I'd prefer you to explore the possibility of staying put and developing your skills so that you begin to perform well in the role and, as a result, start to relish your job rather than hate it. For this to happen, you need to make a shift in your mindset so that you start seeing your new role as a challenge rather than a problem.

Think back to when you learnt about computers and software. There was a lot to get to know, in both theory and practice, and it must have taken some time before you were technically competent. But my guess is that you undertook this learning willingly, as a means to an end - a job you wanted - and quite enjoyed the learning process on the way. …

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