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How to kick those bad IT management habits!

October 2011

After years on the job, a few bad habits are as inevitable as a desk full of knick-knacks and a nickname or two. IT managers aren’t immune to subtle ruts in behavior that can befall even the best-intentioned and dedicated professional. But identifying and understanding how those unconscious behaviors can undermine career growth requires some serious reflection.


Brave managers have stepped forward to discuss not only their bad habits, but the conscious changes they made to turn those negatives into positives. What follows isn’t just a confessional—it’s a recipe for change that can help employees in nearly every field:

1. Bad habit: Overloading on technology

IT managers are often expected not only to know about the latest and greatest technology, but to embrace it. This approach will keep you tied to your desk and overwhelmed by the very tools that should be simplifying your work. Be selective about the technology and the resources you leverage at work. One or two new tools at a time, fully understood and effectively deployed, is a more strategic approach.

Choose judiciously. HP ProLiant Servers are industry standards for performance and reliability. Specific machines like the HP ProLiant ML350 G6 Server combine the latest Intel® Xeon® processors with QPI technology and unsurpassed flexibility. It’s great for growing businesses or for companies with several satellite offices. Check out HP’s SMB storage solutions and the Servers and Storage expertise center for other great options that can help you manage technology, instead of letting too much technology manage you. 

2. Bad habit: Easily distracted

Who isn’t interrupted 10 times a day by calls, impromptu meetings, employee questions, and little emergencies? The whole idea of multitasking is born out of managing competing requests simultaneously and still being ready for more. But is this really the best way to work?

Since the tasks of tech professionals usually require a more linear thought process, interruptions are actually derailments. Learning to carve out space for the task at hand is essential, and for those moments when distraction is unavoidable, the ability to refocus quickly is key.

Products like HP MSL Tape Libraries can give IT managers one less thing to think about. Automate your data protection with unattended backup, disaster recovery and archiving ability. If a tape is lost or stolen, library-based encryption protects it from unauthorized access. How’s that for distraction free?

3. Bad habit: Not learning new skills

Learning never stops, but some IT managers let it take a back seat to the daily demands of the job. Good IT pros go beyond the obvious requirements of staying on top of technology and master the art of managing people. Tuning in to the goals, challenges and motivation levels of employees, and being able to use that knowledge to lead, separates good managers from bad. Resources like HP’s Learning Center and quick how-to guides can help keep your technical skills and management knowledge current.

4. Bad habit: Skipping the details

Programming, administering networks, managing tech support, supervising and motivating staff—these are all time-intensive tasks that keep IT pros running at full speed. Often, your reflex is to begin solving a problem before you’ve heard or fully understand all the details. Since you address multiple critical issues every day, a “mental short-hand” develops that can work against you.

How do you turn this bad habit upside down? Fight the urge to react immediately; focus on process and objectives. Take a step back, listen to the full scope of a problem or project to save time and resources later.

5. Bad habit: Failure to delegate

You’ve been there: an issue comes up or a project is announced and you dive right in. This bad habit could be considered the result of habits one, three and four. Failure to delegate appropriate tasks to qualified and eager team members short-changes everyone. It prevents you from focusing on the big picture and can eventually erode confidence and pride in your employees.

Begin each new project or duty by asking yourself, “Is there a qualified member of my team who can take the lead or work with me on this?” and “What other priorities can I focus on by delegating?” You’ll be surprised at how quickly proper delegation can build employee morale and free up more of your time to learn and lead.

Bad habits are just that—habits. They can be unlearned with awareness and a little determination. Whether you’re just starting your IT career or are a senior-level manager, bad habits can impede your progress. Leverage the resources all around you to reshape them.

For more information
HP ProLiant Servers
HP MSL Tape Libraries
HP ProLiant ML350 G6 Server
Servers and storage expertise center

Intel and Intel Xeon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the US and other countries.

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