I.T. Manager as Champion March 24, 2007Posted by Matsu in Business, Information Technology, Management.
The best managers do many things right. One of the things they do right is understand their role as champion for their department. The main reason to champion the department is to make sure your staff has the resources they need by communicating those needs to upper management. It almost doesn’t matter how you do in hiring the best people if you don’t give them what they need to do the job well.
1. a person who or team that competes in and wins a contest, competition, or tournament
2. something, for example, an animal or plant, that wins first place in a show
3. somebody who defends, supports, or promotes a person or cause
4. somebody who exemplifies excellence or achievement
5. a hero or warrior, especially a knight who fights in behalf or or in defense of a monarch (archaic or literary)
Being a champion means getting the right resources for the department. Not just the usual budget items like equipment (hardware, software) and data communications (networking, Internet, servers, phones), or office and work space, but also professional development (books, training, conferences) and opportunities to be better connected to the organization where they work.
Another way to be a champion is to protect the department from unfair or incorrect criticism. There are times that misinformation about your department can find its way through an organization and the manager’s job is to set the record straight when it happens. Now, that is not the same as being defensive or making excuses.
If there is accurate criticism of your department, you need to deal with it and learn from it, not attack the person who is the source of the criticism. Listen to the critic and work with them to address the problem. If you handle it well, you may gain a supporter that knows you are working in the best interest of the organization (you are working towards the best interests of the organization, aren’t you?).
Finally, the best managers champion a vision and set the direction for the department and then get out of the way. After all, if you have hired the right people and provided the right resources, then you need to get out of the way and let them do their job. When they do well, it becomes your job to inform upper management of their progress and success.