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Comment Managing technical people (Score 5, Insightful) 345

I have been a manager in different capacities for the past 5 or so years and here is my take on this:

1) Treat people the way you want to be treated. Nobody likes working for a taskmaster or driven to the point of burnout. Treat people (especially people you are responsible for!) with respect and they in turn will respect you and the organization.

2) Make goals, plans, project, expectations, etc clear. Vague, mushy, "changing target, shifting paradigm BS" does not encourage or motivate people.

3) Be flexible in what you do and your people will be as well. If you want someone to fix something at 2 AM, offer them the opportunity to work business hours from home, or from another suitable remote location on a regular basis.

4) Train, educate, teach. Send people to offsite classes. Buy them books and software if they request it. Subscribe to magazines and journals. Send people to conferences and conventions. Invest in your people and they will bring back knowledge and stay for more. If you are worried that CCNA you just paid for will leave after certification than you either hired the wrong person or you have a crappy workplace. Good people stay at good places for more good training and investment.

5) Be honest. If things are bad at the company and there will be layoffs or bancruptcy, let your people know as soon and with as much information as soon as possible. People have mortgages, families, bills. Show some respect.

6) Remember personal lives. Tech workers are no different than other people. What we have all found out in the past few years is that tech workers don't want to sleep under their desks for 10 years. Send them home. Let them spend uninterrupted time with friends, family, and other non-work beings.

7) Free cokes, toys, games, and other fluff is just that - fluff. In today's "Enroned", recessionary times, people want stability, reliability and honesty more than a foozeball table, rollerblade court and hiking trips. Tech workers (for that matter all workers) should not have to worry if paychecks will bounce or be non-existant, if their 401k or pension scheme is solvent, or if their payroll taxes are being filed correctly.

8) Finally, have technical people with leadership qualities lead. I was a sysadmin and network admin before being tapped for a management role. I understand what my people are talking about from experience, not from a book or training class.

Just some thoughts from the last few years. All lessons learned from experience.

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