Many years ago, I read Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” After much yellow highlighting and dog-eared pages, I was convinced of its value to me personally. And I also gave copies to all my staff and new hires. Obviously, one blog post cannot replace a book, but reflecting on these helps focus on areas that can help IT managers steer themselves and their staff in the right direction. I have even incorporated these ideas into CGNET employees’ yearly review.
Forty years later and with 200 staff come and gone, I decided to revisit the key concepts. With Coveys’ book in mind, I have listed seven things to think about when guiding an IT support staff to success.
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Effective IT support staff do not wait for problems to arise before they act. They anticipate potential issues and take preventive measures to avoid them. They also seek opportunities to improve the IT systems and services by staying updated on the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. They are always looking for ways to add value to the organization and its constituents.
Habit 2: Communicate Clearly
Effective IT support staff know how to communicate clearly with different stakeholders, such as users, managers, vendors, and colleagues. They use appropriate language, tone, and channels to convey their messages. They listen actively and empathize with the needs and concerns of others. They also provide timely and accurate feedback and updates on the status of their tasks and projects.
Habit 3: Collaborate Effectively
Effective IT support staff do not work in isolation. They collaborate effectively with other IT professionals and teams to achieve common goals. They share their knowledge, skills, and resources with others and leverage the strengths of their peers. They also respect the diversity and opinions of others and seek constructive feedback to improve their performance.
Habit 4: Solve Problems Creatively
Effective IT support staff do not rely on standard solutions or procedures to solve problems. They use their creativity and analytical skills to find innovative and effective solutions that meet the needs of the situation. They also test and evaluate their solutions before implementing them, and learn from their mistakes.
Habit 5: Manage Time Efficiently
Effective IT support staff know how to manage their time efficiently. They prioritize their tasks based on urgency and importance and set realistic deadlines for themselves and others. They also plan and allocate sufficient time for each task and project. They avoid distractions and interruptions that can affect their productivity and quality of work.
Habit 6: Learn Continuously
Effective IT support staff do not stop learning. They are curious and eager to acquire new knowledge and skills that can enhance their performance and career development. They seek feedback from others and reflect on their own performance to identify areas for improvement. They also take advantage of learning opportunities such as training courses, workshops, webinars, books, blogs, podcasts, etc. Microsoft’s free Learn platform is a great place to start!
Habit 7: Maintain a Positive Attitude
Effective IT support staff maintain a positive attitude towards their work and challenges. They are optimistic and confident in their abilities and outcomes. They cope well with stress and frustration and do not let negative emotions affect their performance or relationships. They also celebrate their achievements and appreciate the contributions of others.
By developing these habits, managers and employees increase their value to the organization and its constituents, and at the same time increase their own work satisfaction and fulfillment.