Management 101: Three tips to keep your teams at peak performance

Barry Cooks, Vice President of Engineering –

Managing a team or department is almost always a challenge to some degree, and IT teams are no exception. Especially for those new to a management role, understanding the dynamics and unique personalities among your employees can be extremely daunting. The impact of management styles on culture and the workplace cannot be overstated. Whether you’re working with the techies of the world, as we do here, or are in another field entirely, there are three truisms that I’ve learned in my career that can help new managers navigate the waters of management and keep their ships on course.

Be honest with your teams – and yourself.

People can be resistant to getting critical feedback, but for the most part, they appreciate honesty over falsity. Feedback is key to understanding where you went wrong and continuing to push yourself and your employees to greater challenges. Managers who provide honest feedback must also be willing to look in the mirror themselves and admit to the things they don’t do well and areas where they can improve.

Make mistakes and encourage your team to question your decisions.

Managers have the onus of making decisions that impact multiple people every day. As a manager, you must be willing to stand up in front of your team and explain your plan. Although it takes maturity and confidence, managers who can encourage their teams to question their plans and ask why decisions are made tend to be the most effective. It’s important to look back at your decisions with a critical eye, and sometimes your team’s feedback can enable that self-reflection. The best way to learn is to make mistakes, but the best way to fail is to make mistakes and refuse to learn from them.

Remember how it used to be before you were a manager.

So you may be a manager today – and you may be good at it – but you didn’t start here. At one point, you were at least a level or two below your current station. What qualities did your managers have at the time? Who were your most and least favorite managers and why? What lessons did you learn when you were in the positions that you’re managing today? As soon as you start to forget what it was like back then, you’ll lose sight of how to manage well today. Keep in mind your lessons learned and you can pass those learnings on to your teams.

Virtual Instruments consists of seasoned management professionals who deliver proven infrastructure performance management platforms. Considering joining our team? Check out our careers page to see our current openings.