The Accidental IT Leader

The Accidental IT Leader

By Jim Anderson
Managing an IT team is not just a job, it’s a science. Nobody knows more about the science of managing IT teams than Dr. Jim Anderson.

“I don’t embrace excuses for why IT teams aren’t being successful, I embrace solutions.”

Over the last 25 years, Dr. Anderson has transformed failing IT teams worldwide. Dr. Anderson will turn these lost teams into department champions.

Dr. Jim Anderson understands what it is like to both work in an IT department as an employee as well as a manager.

Welcome to the premier podcast for learning how to attract, motivate, and retain top IT staff.
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Hey Manager – Could You Be Too Much Into This Team Thing?

The Accidental IT Leader

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Managers Need To Become A Leader That Their Team Can Trust
If there is one workplace problem that managers want to find a way to solve, it would most definitely be the challenge of disengaged employees.   What managers would like to learn how to do would be to understand how  to use our manager skills to better motivate employees and how to get  more manager training on how to build better relationships with those  employees. So the big question is what is the manager factor that is  most closely linked to employee engagement? Interestingly enough, the  answer turns out to be when employees feel they can trust their manager.  As managers, how can we make this happen?
January 16, 2020
What The U.S. Army Can Teach Managers About Becoming Better
Ok, so I’m willing to admit it – I’m not perfect.  Yes, I  am always working to try to become perfect, but so far I have not been  able to even get close to that goal. Most managers would say that they  are in the same boat as me. It’s a bit depressing to set out to try to  accomplish something and then despite using your manager skills you  basically fail at doing it. When this happens, because there is no  manager training for dealing with failure a lot of managers tend to  throw their hands up and say  “oh well”. It turns out that this is not  the right thing to do.  Instead, we should all be doing what the U.S.  Army does when they have a failure.
January 9, 2020
Manager Tips From Google On How To Make A Great Team
Let’s think about your team for just a moment or two.  The people on your  team most of the time don’t do things by themselves. Instead, they work with other people on the team in order to accomplish tasks. However, it’s that working together thing that can cause problems.  Interpersonal issues can crop up, personalities can clash, and managers  (that’s you) despite all of our manager training can provide unclear  directions. The result of all of this is that your team members can be  left with conflict issues and this can end up stifling your team’s  productivity.  What’s a manager to do?
December 19, 2019
What Do Managers Have To Do In Order To Become A Great Team Leader?
Let’s face it, the job of a manager is very much both team- and  direction-focused.  Managers are the ones who need to use their manager  skills to set the course, ensure consistency and develop and reinforce  core values for their teams. After you get that part of the job taken  care of things become considerably easier. The rest of the job is simply  to hire great people and get out of their way. In order to be a  successful manager, it’s going to take a great team standing behind you.  What can you do to make this happen?
December 12, 2019
Hey Manager – Could You Be Too Much Into This Team Thing?
Yea! It’s time to work on a team!  How many times have you heard someone  say this to you? As managers of a team, we are expected use our manager  skills to lead by example and so we are the ones who are supposed to be  able to show our team what it means to work successfully as a part of a team.  We’ve all been to the manager training courses where we’ve been taught  about the power of working in teams. Sure seems like we should do this  all the time, right?  Well, actually not…
December 5, 2019
What Should Managers Do About Hugging?
How about if we agree to talk about a touchy topic: hugging.   Yep, even in this #Metoo era, the concept of opening your arms up and  then enveloping a coworker in a big hug is something that is still done  in the workplace. You’d think that all of this would be going away in  our ultra-sensitive political climate; however, that is not the case. In  fact, there appears to be even more hugging going on at work these days.  What do managers have to do in order to make sure that our embraces are going to be welcome?
November 21, 2019
What’s The Best Way For A Manager To Switch Jobs?
No job that any of us have will probably last us for our entire career.  What that means is that we’re all going to be packing up our manager skills and switching jobs at some point in time.  This is where things can get a bit tricky because none of us have had  any manager training in how to do this correctly. Yes, we may be willing  to jump to a new company to take on that shiny new job. However, we  need to realize that there are a whole bunch of ways that that a job  switch could go wrong.  What’s the best way to change jobs?
November 14, 2019
Managers Need To Learn How To Deal With Dead-End Conversations
Let’s face it.  A big part of the job of being an effective manager is the art of conversation.  During an average day, we end up talking with a lot of different people  about a lot of different things. It would be fair to say that our  conversations have a lot to do with our ability to get things done.  However, then there are THOSE conversations. You know the ones that I’m  talking about.  Dead-end conversations.
November 7, 2019
What To Do When That New Job Is Not What You Thought It Would Be
Ah, a new job!  When we take a new job we’re doing so because a lot of promises have been made to us.  We may have been told that we’ll have a fancy title and they’ve  promised us a lot of pay. We’ve been told that we’re being placed in a  position of power and that we’ll be able to use our manager skills to  have a big influence on the direction of the company. However, when we  show up, we discover that what we were told does not match reality.   Should we stay or should we go?
October 31, 2019
What Should A Manager Do When Your Peers Are Doing Better Than You?
So here’s something that can be difficult for us to deal with: what do  you do when you are not #1?  At work, I’m hoping, we all try hard to use  our manager skills and do our best. However, there will be times that  the people that we are working with, our peers, just simply outperform us.  When this happens and when we become aware of it, what is a manager to  do? Let us assume that giving up and going home is not an option.  We’d  like to hang on to our job, what should we do in this type of situation?
October 24, 2019
How Managers Can Reinvent Themselves
So is there any downside to becoming a manager?  One possibility is the  simple fact that it takes time. By the time most of us become managers, we’re not as young as we used to be.  What this means is that we find ourselves in a workplace filled with  younger people trying to use our manager skills to manage teams made up  of younger people.  All of sudden it can be very easy for us to start to  feel as though we might not be keeping up. How can a manager deal with  this situation?
October 17, 2019
How Managers Can Become Less Anxious
When we signed up for the job of being a manager, we may not have  realized the other things that came along with this job.  One such thing  might be the anxiety that being a manager can cause in us.  This, of course, bring up the question about just exactly what anxiety  is. The dictionary tells us that anxiety is a feeling of worry,  nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something  with an uncertain outcome. As managers, no matter what manager skills we  have, this pretty much describes every day of our lives.  What can we do to deal with the anxiety that our job creates?
October 10, 2019
How Managers Can Bridge The Instant Messaging Generation Gap
How the members of your team communicate with each other is changing.  There is a new wave of instant messaging applications that is in the process of changing how the members of your team communicate with each other.  This change may be causing the older members of your team to scramble  in order to keep up.  As a manager, you are going to have to take steps  to use your manager skills to make sure that everyone on your team can  stay ahead of the changes that are being caused by instant messaging.
September 26, 2019
How Can Managers Get Workers To Stop Looking At Their Phones?
So here’s a quick quiz for you.  How many times each day do the members of your team take out their phone and look at them? It turns out that the answer is 2,617 times per day that we all tap,  poke, pinch, or swipe our phones. From a manager point-of-view, just  exactly how much time does all of this take? The answer is 2 hours and  25 minutes each and every day.  The bad news for you is that most of this  is happening while your team members are at work!
September 19, 2019
Can You Become A Better Manager By Doing Less?
As a manager, your goal at work is to get ahead.  You want to be seen as a  star performer who gets things done. You want your work to be viewed as  being of the highest quality and you want your management to come looking for you when they have a slot open up for promotions.  The big question that you are facing is the same one that we are all  trying to answer: just exactly what do you have to do at work to be  successful?  It turns out that the answer may not be what you think that  it should be.
September 12, 2019
Getting Along With The Boss: How To
As a manager you are in charge of a team of people who have to do what you tell them to do.  However, at the same time you work for a boss who can tell you what to do. What this means for you (and your career) is that you’d like to be able to use your manager skills to create the best working relationship with your boss that you can.  However, the mystery here is just exactly how to go about doing that.   It turns out that it’s pretty easy, you just need to know what steps you need to take.
August 29, 2019
Managers Need To Know How To Mange Up
What’s your plan for getting promoted from the manager position that you currently have?  You’d like to get kicked upstairs, but just exactly how are you going to go about making that happen? A lot of us hope that the quality of the work that we do will speak for  us and our bosses will notice us and our manager skills and will then  promote us. Good idea; however, all too often it does not work out this  way. We need to learn how to “manage up”.  This one skill is the one that will shape your career. Do you know how to do it?
August 22, 2019
How Managers Can Achieve A Sense Of Calm
Let’s face it: being a manager can be a very stressful job.  People are  always asking us for things and we are trying to do our best to use our  manager skills to manage our team. If we are not careful, the stress  associated with the job can become so much that it starts to affect our  relationships and potentially even our health. Managers need a way to  deal with all of this stress and our manager training does not tell us  what we need to do. In the past, managers have tried various activities  such as skydiving, mountain climbing, and going to the gym.  However,  lately a new approach has shown up that can be done in the office: meditation. 
August 16, 2019
How Should Boys And Girls Interact In The Workplace?
Just in case you had not noticed it, the world has changed.  Sexual  harassment has been going on in the workplace for a long time and thanks  to the #MeToo movement  it’s been brought out into the light. There is currently a big uproar  going on with new allegations of improper workplace behavior being  announced almost every day.  As a manager who is both responsible for  using your manager skills to manage a team of both boys and girls as  well as working with boys and girls in other departments, the new rules for working in the modern workplace can appear to be quite confusing. 
August 8, 2019
How To Stop Interruptions In The Office
So has your office gone to one of those “open office” floor plans?   According to the really smart people, there are a lot of advantages of  this kind of open office design. However, one of the downsides to it is  that it can be all too easy for someone to show up unannounced at your desk and interrupt the work that you are doing  no matter how good your manager skills are. We want them to go away and  just leave us alone to do our work.  In this kind of open office, what  can a manager to in order to tell the world that we just want to be left  alone? 
August 1, 2019
Managers Need To Ask Themselves If They Talk Too Much
How much do you talk? Do you talk enough? Or perhaps, do you talk too much?  A key part of the job of being a manager is using your manager skills to deliver good communication.  There are a lot of different ways for us to communicate;and talking is  one of the most important. However, it turns out that it is entirely  possible for us to to do too much talking. When this happens, the people  that we are talking to, just start to shut down and stop listening to  us.  Do you talk too much? 
July 25, 2019
The Problem With Setting Goals
Every year when New Year’s rolls around we are all encouraged to use our manager skills to set goals for the upcoming year.  Most of us actually do this and then we use those goals to guide us  as we plan our work. The best part of all of this is occasionally we  just happen to achieve one of our goals! The big question is how does  this success make you feel? Sometimes achieving a goal can leave us down  in the dumps, feeling blue, not happy at all.  What’s up with this and  what can we do to prevent it? 
July 18, 2019
How Managers Can Gain Power At Work
When we start a new manager job, things can be quite frustrating.  Where  we were previously had probably allowed us to occupy leadership roles.  When we now find ourselves in a powerless position at  the bottom of the organization ladder no matter what manager skills we  have, it can be all too easy to start to think about switching jobs.  The  question that managers need to be able to answer is how can we gain power when we are starting out with none? 
June 27, 2019
What Managers Need To Do Before They Quit
So what’s the worst thing that could happen to you as a manager?  The  list of things could be quite long, but I think that we could all agree  that finding yourself trapped in a job that you don’t like would have to  be close to the top of the list. We can probably make this just a  little bit worse if we made it so that you had just accepted a new job  only to discover that despite your manager skills, you didn’t like it.   What’s a manager to do if you find yourself in this unfortunate  situation? 
June 20, 2019
Managers Struggle To Recruit The Right Workers
In order to manage the best team, you have to have the best team.  What  this means is that one of your responsibilities as a manager is to use  your manager skills to recruit the best team  possible.  During times when the job market is tight, this can be a real challenge. 
June 13, 2019
Managers Have To Deal With The Challenge Of First Impressions
As a manager, we meet a lot of people.  What this means for us is that we are responsible for a lot of first impressions. Although we may not spend a lot of time thinking about it, it turns out that those first impressions often shape how people choose to interact with us.  We’d like all of our first impressions to be positive, but our manager  skills really don’t give us all that much control over them.  One of the  biggest problems that we run into is the simple fact that most people’s  first impressions are wrong. 
June 7, 2019
How Can Managers Get People To Work Together?
More and more companies are starting to realize that if they want to get the most out of their employees, they are going to have to get employees from different departments to work together.   It turns out that this can be difficult to do. How is a manager going  to use their manager skills to get extroverted sales people to work with  introverted IT staff? How can creative types work with detail  orientated budget types?  Making this happen is a new task that managers are going to have to get good at. 
May 23, 2019
How Should Managers Handle Office Romances?
It goes without saying that the #metoo movement  has resulted in the downfall of many formally powerful men: Harvey  Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, and Matt Lauer.   Clearly there were a lot of very bad things going on in the  entertainment industry. As managers we need to understand what the  impact of all of this is going to be on our work environments. Is it  going to result in tougher polices towards office romances or changed  attitudes?  What’s a manager to do? 
May 16, 2019
How Should Managers Deal With Workplace Suicides?
So let’s face it. Talking about someone ending their own life is never a  pleasant discussion. However, as a manager you need to be prepared to  deal with this kind of event if someone on your team decides to take  their own life.  If we can step away from the hard and cold fact that you  will now have to replace someone on your team, you need to understand  that when somebody commits suicide, it’s going to have a ripple effect on your organization.  Just about the only thing that could make this even worse would be if they decided to end their life while at work. 
May 9, 2019
How Managers Can Get More Done By Doing Less
How’s that manager job going for  you? Are you finding that you can use your manager skills to have  enough time to get all of the things that you need to get done, done? If  you are like most of us, the answer is no.  You  go into the office each day with a well made “to-do” list and then you  come home at night with most of that to-do list still undone. What’s  going on here? What’s going on is that life is knocking you for a loop.  It’s all of the little things that need to be done every day that are  preventing you from doing the bigger things that need to be  accomplished.  How can a manager get more done?
May 2, 2019
What Managers Can Do To Make Employees Stick Around
So here’s some bad news for managers: right now employee turnover  (employees who leave) is currently at an all-time high. What this means  for you is that your team is at risk.  If you don’t find  a way to use your manager skills to keep the members of your team happy  and engaged in their job, then guess what – they are going to leave.  If they leave, then all of a sudden your life just got a lot more  complicated as you are going to have to spent a great deal of money to  try to replace them.  There has to be an alternative to all of this. 
April 25, 2019
The One Skill That All Managers Must Master
As a manager, you will always be asked to do more things.  On top of what you have already signed up to do, people will drop by  your cube, catch your arm in the hall, and corner you in meetings and  will come up with additional things to add to the already full plate of  tasks that you have in front of you.  It can be all too easy for us to  deal with these situations by simply saying “I’ll do that”. Do this  enough, and all too quickly you’ll discover that you are now juggling  too much for any one person to get done.  When this happens, you need to  start to use the greatest skill that a manager has: focus. 
April 11, 2019
How Bad Managers End Up Driving The Best Employees Away
With a little luck, most of us spend our time trying to become good  managers. However, we realize that the world has a number of different  types of managers in it and this means that there are both good managers and bad managers out there.   It turns out that one of the main reasons that employees leave a firm  is because they find themselves working for a bad manager.  Although we  don’t want to become bad managers, it might be useful to take a close  look at what manager skills bad managers use to drive employees away so  that we don’t find ourselves doing these things. 
April 4, 2019
How Managers Can Make Sure That New Employees Don’t Quit
Oh my goodness – can you believe just how hard it is to find the right person to join your team?   I mean think about it: we craft the perfect job description, wade  through a pile of resumes, use our manager skills  to interview far too  many people by phone, invite a few in to take up our day and meet with  us, and then finally make someone an offer. If we get lucky and they are  still available and are still interested in working for our company,  then perhaps we’ve found the next person to work for us.  However, then  comes the most difficult part of the process which is the one that we’ve  had no manager training for: convincing them to not quit. 
March 28, 2019
Managers Need To Start Dealing With The Problem Of Bullies In The Workplace
Can anyone remember going to kindergarten? Way back then life was a lot  simpler. We all had a set of rules that were given to us on how to  behave (say “thank you”, be kind to others, listen to what the teacher  has to say, etc.). Now perhaps not everyone followed each of these rules  all of the time, but at least we all knew what the rules were  and could always refer back to them.  Now move forward into the future  in which we are now living. Incivility and it’s close cousin bullying are becoming a bigger issue in the workplace.  What is a manager to do? 
March 21, 2019
3 Ways That Managers Can Improve Their Leadership Skills
So congratulations, as a manager you are already a leader. However, if you are like most of us you could probably become a better leader.  If you took the time to take a look at all of your manager skills, where do you think that your biggest leadership challenge lies?   The way that you can identify this is by spending some time thinking  about where you’ve had the biggest challenges – communications? Hiring?  Team performance?  It turns out that there are three traits that define  managers who are good leaders. Perhaps we should be working on getting  some manager training and improving all of these…? 
March 14, 2019
Managers Need To Learn How To Humblebrag
As a manager, you are responsible for using your manager skills to  manage a team of professionals. This means that you have to spend time  with each member of your team in order to make sure that they have a  good understanding of where they want their career to go and how they  are going to achieve it.  At the the same time, you need to have a good  understanding of where you want your career to go.  Likewise, once you know what you want, you’re going to have to know how you can go about making it happen. 
March 7, 2019
Managers Need To Know What Makes A Workplace Toxic
So what kind of workplace do you work in? No, I’m not asking about the  kind of furniture you have, what the view out the window looks like, or  how comfortable the chairs are. Instead, what I’d like to know is just exactly how toxic is it?    Surveys have been taken that reveal that 64% of people reported that  they were currently working with someone that they considered to be  toxic. A whopping 94% said that they had worked with someone who was  toxic at some point in their career.  It looks like we may have a problem that has to be solved by a manager here using your manager skills. 
February 28, 2019
What Can Google Teach Managers About Teams?
The way that most work gets done is when we create a team of professionals, tell them what needs to be done, and then send them off to accomplish it. However, that is not always what happens.   We’ve all had experiences with teams that we’ve used our manager skills  to build that have struggled to accomplish their goals, have fought  with each other, and generally have not gotten along very well. We know  what failure looks like.  What can a manager do in order to boost the chances that a team that he or she is responsible for will be a success? 
February 21, 2019
How Can A Manager Know When They Are On Thin Ice?
So how are things going for you at work? Are you getting along with  everyone – especially your boss? Or are you starting to get left out of  meetings that you used to get invited to? Are the people that you work  with starting to become cool towards you? Has your boss stopped having  conversations with you?  Bad things may becoming your way and you may not even realize it… 
February 14, 2019
Why Is Company Culture Important To Managers?
 In the day-to-day activities of a manager, most of us really don’t spend all that much time thinking about our company’s corporate culture.  However, it turns out that it really does matter. If your company has a  bad corporate culture, then it’s going to have a negative impact on the  company’s bottom line results, its reputation, and in the end,  recruitment. It sure seems as though managers need to start spending  some time using their manager skills  to look into how they can improve the company’s culture.  
February 7, 2019