In the workplace you will definitely encounter a number of types of people with all different types of work ethics and personality types. These types of work ethics range from those who will work on a problem and will essentially fight it to death, exercising all of their knowledge and resources available. Then then there are those who will look at a problem and if they don’t know the answer when the problem or issue is presented to them; will give up. I work with both types, and I consider myself closer to the former.
What’s happened to today’s IT staff? As a low level manager (the lowest level in my company, one step above worker bee) I often feel like a shepperd. I’ve got to contantly have to move my staff into the right direction on projects, problems, and assignments. I do realize that this is essentially one of my responsibilities as part of management, however I feel like I have to do this too much, in my opinion too much for working with paid professionals. As part of the IT department, we are all expected to have a certain knowledge level with respect to our field, however at times it feels like I’m playing the roll of parent rather than manager. I can safely say that I don’t know everything about everything, but when it comes to work if I don’t know something, I will attempt to find the answer. I often know where to look for answers, and know what resources I have at hand. And that’s my primary complaint, when my staff doesn’t know something or how to proceed, rather than trying to find the answer they come to me and ask me what should they do. With the internet today, there’s so much information at your fingertips; it’s almost infinite. There are knowledge bases and discussion forums for almost all software and hardware vendors, there’s Google, where if you type in an error code, it will return results with websites that may have the answer, and that’s just to name a few of the resources we have at hand. If you have access and use these resources, it’s can be considered an advantage, whereas you could potentially have someone else do your work for you, all you’re doing is seeing how someone else had done to address this issue. Instead, what I get are questions on what to do within seconds of assigning the task or assignment. When I first started to get these quesitons, initially I would go through the steps of where to look, what to try, finding the answers, all they needed to was the execution. I had done steps 1 through 4, and all they needed to do was step 5 and they had gotten credit for fixing the issue. What I’ve found is that doing 80% of the work for this person, it’s taken away from the my time during the day, not allowing me to get done what I need to get done, also they’re not building up their research skils. As a result, what I’ve started to do is limit my input in these types of situtations. Instead, when I’m asked what they should do is layout the guidelines of what the end result should be, and explain to them that they need to find the answers. I had a manager many years ago, while in a meeting, made a statement that we’re as a department are essentially getting paid to make decisions, but we would need to be prepared to defend those decisions. It was as simple as that, in our department where our daily workload consists of problems, assignments, and projects were getting paid to make decisions, and then execute based upon the decisions. One of the measures I’ve taken during our annual review periods is brought this complaint to my staff’s attention, and made it clear that this was a change I expected to see going forward. It worked…for a brief period of time. Then everyone went back to their comfort zone. It’s unfortunate, I also see this in another IT sub department, same concerns, same reluctance to move forward on their own. The manager in that department spends so much time walking his staff through their projects, that he has little time to work on his own. I’ve even witnessed while he was working with one individual, and two others in his department were asking him at the same time what they should do next. It’s unreal. I’ve brought up my concerns regarding my staff to him on this subject, he also expressed his concerns with his staff. It’s frustrating, and things have got to change.