Getting out in the field

One of the factors that comes into play quite often in managing techs is the requirement to actually have some idea of what you are talking about.

Last week I spoke about asking dumb questions.  As a manager there’s a responsibility that you have to your staff to provide guidance and leadership and act as a role model for them in their own career development.  expressing a lack of interest in their role or the things that they do that make them useful to the organisation is not going to be beneficial to them.  It makes them feel that what they are doing is ‘grunt work’ and that if they want to succeed they should not be doing it.  This perhaps flies in other parts of the corporate world where ‘detail’ can be considered a dirty word.  That’s not to say getting ‘down in the weeds’ is always a good thing.

 

I know I am guilty of focusing on the detail too much.  That said one of my idols, Field Marshall General Sir John Monash was a heck of a detail guy.  As best I can tell though he managed to do this without being remembered as a Micro Manager and I’d like to think that I have managed to get away with the same thing.  So the trick with techs is to show them that you understand where they are coming from and value their contribution, but at the same time you are adding value in your own way.

This in mind I resigned myself to go out in the field with a couple of my team the other week to help with the move of a regional office into a larger facility.  I made a point to let them plan the event and went along mainly to manage the relationship with the business unit owner on site.  The move went quite well over all and the  team appreciated the extra set of hands (I made a point to make sure I wasn’t counted on the resource plan for the event as I knew I wasn’t going to get a full days work done so I didnt want to make the day for the guys that were there harder. ) All in all the move was a success, the guys appreciated having someone to keep the business under control and informed and they realized their manager had some idea of what they go through on a daily basis.

So some points for those of you playing at home if you are thinking about the same thing

DO:

  • Make sure you know whats going on
  • Let your team run their own show
  • Add value by supplementing the skill gaps in the people present
  • Show that you have a vague idea of how to complete the task at hand
  • Show you can take direction from the Project lead on site
  • Finish the task you are given.  Do not wave off a task because its ‘beneath’ you
  • Act as a sounding board for the Project Lead

DON’T

  • Make everyone else s job harder by not pitching in
  • Fail to participate fully, leave early, slack off
  • Over ride the Project lead
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