Anyone who has worked closely with me or been a member of my staff will tell you to get along with me you only need to adhere to my three golden rules. My rules are very simple, straightforward and quite reasonable. They are easy to follow and have served me well for many years throughout my career.
First, when something, anything goes wrong I want to be the first to know. Email me, call me, text me, send a telegram or message on a carrier pigeon. Always make sure I am fully aware of any major issue as soon as possible. There is nothing worse for me than to hear about a systems related issue from someone outside of my department. It puts me on the defensive with no idea how to respond. So, I ask my staff to advise me when they know something has gone awry so I can be prepared to reassure people we are on top it, and perhaps even contribute to the resolution.
“My rules are very simple, straightforward and quite reasonable. They are easy to follow and have served me well for many years throughout my career”
There is never a fear of reprisal. They know, even if they inadvertently did something to cause the problem, there will be no screaming, yelling or gnashing of teeth. My focus is always on understanding what happened, fixing it and, importantly, devising a means of ensuring it can never happen again. The only fatal mistake you can make is trying to hide a problem from my sight.Second, don’t get in the way of the business. Often, we can lose sight of the fact that technology is important to the business, but it should rarely be considered a higher priority than operations. We can easily get caught up in the need to reboot a server or upgrade a piece of software and overlook the impact it will have on the business -- and its ability to generate the revenue that pays all our salaries. So, whatever we are doing, no matter how “critical” we think it may be, we should always be certain it will not somehow adversely affect the operations of the company.
Usually this is just a matter of careful testing, coordination and scheduling. If the need for a disruptive activity is explained and communicated effectively, no one will object or stand in the way.
Finally, I have a third golden rule. Your opinion matters. I fully embrace the concept that the entire department is a team working together towards common goals. No one works for me. Everyone works with me, and with each other. I may be the senior manager and head of the department, but I don’t want to be surrounded by lemmings who will follow me happily as I lead them over a cliff. As the saying goes, the buck stops here, and, yes, I will likely have the final say. But that should never inhibit anyone from expressing their view. Any sound, fact-based argument can and should be put forth respectfully, and I assure you I will listen.
These rules have always been key to my success as a manager. Follow them and you too may be golden.