DAILY INSIGHT: The human side of IT management

By Steve Young, CIO Advisor

There are so many times in technology where our teams are under immense pressure; there is the start of school with what seems to be an insurmountable mountain of work orders, the stress of a system failure, or the worries for a smooth system implementation. All of this takes its toll on our employees, and sometimes I wonder if as IT leaders we do not spend enough time doing simple things to make our staff’s work lives a little bit better.

IT staff often have incredibly difficult jobs, but sometimes we need to be IT coaches and let our team members know that they did a good job and give them a pat on the back. It’s the little statements that we make that can show our human side and help make our employees feel valued. Maybe school's IT departments can’t offer free employer-provided meals, ping pong tables, and break rooms with TVs and sofas, but we can show our human side now and then.

Employees need encouragement and praise when things are done well. Don’t forget the value of a simple good morning, a thoughtful hello, or a chance to laugh with our coworkers. Sure, I wish I had some of the flexibility for rewarding my staff that my colleagues in the private sector have, but we do have things we can offer too. As school leaders we can often offer better work hours, a generous set of vacation and days off, and what can arguably amount to a better work/life balance than the private sector.

In the end I know that I always need to work on letting my employees and coworkers know that we are on a team, that I value them, and that I am here to work with them and for them. This is not an easy task, nor is it one that ever ends. So this coming year, hopefully all of us can strive to show our fantastic IT staff how much they mean to us by being just a bit more human and taking a moment to show we care.

Steve Young is CTO of Judson ISD in Texas and founder of the San Antonio Area Technology Directors group. He blogs at CTO Technotes, where this is cross posted. Follow him on Twitter as @atemyshorts.