Spike Jones may have said it best: People are funnier than anybody.
People are our biggest challenge, and we should know this. Let’s help everyone – Business and IT alike – understand the special nature of the IT challenge when managing people. Not just their management of “IT people,” but the effective management of IT’s relationship to everyone around them. We’ll also get around to looking at the special challenge from a Business perspective. For now, let’s talk about the IT leader’s challenge – be that person a vice president, chief technology officer, chief information officer, director, helpdesk manager, network manager with administrators, etc. – any IT leader will benefit from this discussion. Just as importantly, each Business person will benefit from the awareness we establish here.
Any organization and each supervisor requires proper management of those around them to achieve ultimate success. Let’s look at that in a little detail. Here, we’re going to propose that IT manages three classes of people – of equal contribution, of equal importance: These are people that IT works on, those they work with, and those they work for. Classifying people this way will yield some interesting relationships. We’ll also talk about a “power-prism” – a device we can look through and rotate. The prism will have facets that expose how different issues or circumstances appear to change the class occupancy for any given individual – by exposing the dynamic of their power and ability, or lack thereof, in each of those circumstances. In the continuum of change, this prism is a powerful, virtual, “device.” The resulting awareness (that regardless of an individual’s formal standing, circumstances can cause the individual to shift class on an informal basis) will allow us to recognize a person’s behavior, reasons for it, and any negative influence on engagement.
Behaviors can be influenced by feelings of fear, vulnerability, or power, for example. If we can recognize these feelings and their cause, we can then adjust our treatment of persons for ultimate outcomes. Too, we can assess ourselves for these shifts and protect ourselves from imprudent behavior or action. Recognition of these shifts can be a powerful tool in managing your relationships in the Business-Technology Weave.
Upcoming, we’ll classify people for you, the IT manager, so as to match their formal standing in the organization’s hierarchy: The WorkOns, the WorkWiths, and the WorkFors.