Ever feel a little bit like Clark Kent or Linda Lang? A little unnoticed, when you really want to be that service desk superhero?
As a service desk manager, leading and managing your team is never without its challenges. The toll it can take on you, and your team can be of ever-increasing stress. The key is to harness your power as a service desk manager, to understand the best way you can utilize your position to influence your team positively. This way you’ll be able to fully unleash the full potential of your team’s capabilities - for greater success.
How can you accomplish this? Below I provide a series of tips to help set you on the right path.
“There is a superhero in all of us, we just need the courage to put on the cape.” Superman
Before we even start talking about the team as a whole, let’s take a look at each of your team members individually. Your team’s motivation is directly correlated with your management style.
Did you know that employees who rate their manager’s performance poorly are four times more likely to be searching for a new job? In addition, 40% of employees who give their manager’s a poor performance score, have gone on an interview for a new job in the last three months, compared to 10% for those who gave their manager’s a high score. It’s the manager’s job to help each of their team members optimize their individual potential, strengths, and weaknesses. This way, they can set attainable goals and effectively communicate with their team members.
Everyone wants to be acknowledged for their hard work. Managers need to help their team members have the confidence in themselves to put the cape on, and not just to talk the talk, but walk the walk.
In fact, Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG), conducted an Employee Recognition Survey regarding the effect of a rewards and recognition program on boosting positive work culture. According to the participants, 94% of HR professionals believe that employee recognition programs aim to help employees be engaged and motivated, as well as help recruit and retain their employees. If you’re interested in learning how to set up an Employee Recognition Program, here’s a guide to get you started, you can also check out the video below.
In addition, the results of this survey also revealed five goals of recognizing and rewarding employees. The number one goal highlighted in these results is to make employees feel valued.
In fact, according to the ITSM Future-Readiness Report 2019 conducted by ITSM.tools and SysAid, 55% of people working in IT (graph below) think that their profession is adversely affecting their personal wellbeing.
As you can see in the chart below, only one-quarter of respondents feel that their efforts are being valued and recognized by management. As a result, 41% of people feel they aren’t getting enough recognition, and 31% feel they don’t get recognized for their work – that’s a total of 72% of respondents who feel undervalued!
Communication is a two-way street. In order to promote a healthy communication cycle, there needs to be collaborative communication from the manager to the rest of the team.
According to a study by Weisman Success Resources, 44% of the responding business leaders were unhappy with their employee’s work. From this group, 70% of these managers accounted this to a result of their communication skills. Effective managing demands effective communication with your employees. Effective communication will completely depend on each team, and each individual team member.
In order to help ensure effective communication with your needs, you need to make sure that you empower your service desk agents to be able to talk to you about their ideas – they’re the ones in the thick of it, day in and day out, so they’ll be best able to see where improvements could be made. Listening to your team is crucial, and it’s even more crucial to allow all types of feedback.
Encourage them to share their suggestions and comments but especially their complaints. Encouraging such behavior will make a huge difference to the team dynamics, team performance, and overall motivation.
Also, be sure to not only listen to their feedback, but also provide them with feedback, and reward their useful suggestions. This response will help make a team member feel more included in the team and business decisions. It also helps with team performance, and motivation, as well as your stature as a leader.
Providing your team with feedback is a crucial step in an employee’s career journey. In order for an employee to improve, they need feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. The key is to provide constructive feedback. According to a Gallup survey, only 27% of employees strongly agree that the feedback they receive actually helps them perform better. Furthermore, only 22% strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that promotes motivation and superior work.
Many managers find it difficult to give feedback. In fact, it’s been noted that this can be the hardest part of their job. This task doesn’t have to be a negative experience. It can be served as an opportunity to further your employee’s growth, as long as it’s done correctly.
Here’s how to do it, right...
Note: If you’ve successfully assessed your individual learning styles and fostered healthy competition, then you can use this acquired information to harness their strengths.
"You're much stronger than you think you are. Trust me." -- Superman
It’s also important to keep Superman’s words in mind. An employee doesn’t always have the belief that they can accomplish something. As their manager, it’s your job to see their strength(s), let them know it, and encourage them to reach their full potential.
According to CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, one of the biggest priorities of a company should be company culture. Establishing a nurturing environment of values is an important foundation for every company. Integrating your work and life allows you to form strong relationships with colleagues. Hsieh believes that this drives employee passion as well as company growth.
Injecting close friendships into your working environment has been shown by Gallup research to produce a 50% increase in employee satisfaction. Therefore, as a manager, organizing social events such as team building excursions, team lunches, or networking events are beneficial to your team, especially if you want more productive employees! So bring on the good times!
Being there for your team can include many roles: a coach, a motivator, a validator, and a positive contributor.
A good coach enables his or her employees to improve their individual performance on the job. Whether it's recognizing existing skillsets or helping to find new ones, a good coach can help to alleviate work-related stress, increase staff commitment, and improve overall productivity.
As a motivator, exuding the right attitude in the team can go a long way. As we all know, when your boss is stressed, you’re stressed. The challenge is for you as the leader, to control your emotions, otherwise, they’re going to bounce off the rest of your team, and that will only prove counterproductive.
As a validator, your job as their manager is to validate their aspirations and goals. Every one of your team members will expect your understanding as to where they stand, and where they want to go. You can help them get there. Listen to them, offer them training, such as ITIL courses, in order to advance their skills or career. Provide them with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge, and develop their skills in areas they enjoy. This will, in turn, keep them motivated. It will also help them get through the tough days and heavy workloads. With these tools armed in hand, you’ll allow them to gain experience and knowledge on the job, and allow them to advance their career. Guess what? You just became their superhero (for the day).
Not only do you need to know each and every one of your team members individually. But, knowing them individually will help you know how to play to their strengths and weaknesses in a team environment. It’s also important to assess how each of your team members act in a group. Watching them in a group setting, especially outside of the office, will clearly show who is the natural leader and who excels on their own.
Note: When we’re talking about conflict in the IT world, properly setting up a service desk automation, can significantly reduce internal conflicts.
There are going to be days where you or your teammates feel overwhelmed. It’s therefore important to remember to take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember these tips, and also the wise words of Superman’s biological father, Jor-el:
You will give people an ideal to strive towards, they will race behind you they will stumble, they will fall, but in time they will join you, in time you will help them accomplish wonders. – Jor-El
Bottom line, be there for your team, be a leader, be an inspiration, be a listener, be patient, and most of all – just believe in yourself, and your team. Only then, will you be seen as a true leader, and one your team will find honor in, and follow. They’ll make you proud, and then, the day will come, and you’ll be able to put on your cape – and fly!
Keen to learn more? Check out the recording of our latest webinar – 10 Superhero Tips for Service Desk Managers where you can embark on a service desk manager mentoring session, with insights and best practices of what defines a great service desk manager.
Also, you’ll remember that I mentioned in this article how according to the future of ITSM survey, 72% of respondents felt “undervalued”? Well make sure that you check out the full report too, after all, “the best way to predict the future is to create it.”