Top rope management

At the upcoming itSMF conference, I will be presenting on how I work with Service Desks to try and change the perception of what a Service Desk is and can do. This is done with a combination of skilling up people and empowerment, but the underlying message is management and leadership for my talk.

We have all worked for them at some point in our careers, the managers who you always ask ‘What do they actually do?’ You see them go to countless meeting and all smiles but what is their output? What or how does their team benefit? When the team asks them a question or needs advice, it is quickly deflected with ‘You need to work this out, it isn’t my job’. In John Maxwell ‘5 levels of leadership’ talk, he would describe them as a Level 1 manager. The leader the team only follows because they have the title.

When I was younger, I used to watch wrestling, every Saturday afternoon watching wrestlers go at each other. One move that got everyone on their feet and the commentator’s voice would go up an octave, was when the opponent was on the floor and the wrestler climbed to the top rope and then jumped. If they landed right on the opponent, they would hook the leg, a 10 count and the match was over. If the opponent rolled away, the wrestler would land on the floor and probably lose the match. However, why was this so exciting? It showed total commitment and bravery, as there was no safety net for the wrestler.

I would describe my management style as ‘Top rope management’; though my opponent isn’t my staff members, but instead boredom and lack of motivation. I have to beat these two opponents or my staff will leave. I don’t want to be a level 1 manager but show bravery and commitment to do things out of the norm for my team and not accept ‘…but we have always done it this way’ if it doesn’t make sense or could be done better.

I want my team to follow me because they want to, they see me getting results and put them in the right positions to show off their talents. We have all seen various stats and articles all saying the same thing: People leave because of their manager and not always due to the money as proven in Dan Pink’s Ted Talk ‘The Puzzle of motivation’.

In the talk, the premise is that if you give autonomy, mastery and purpose to people then they will be more motivated than just giving them more money. My presentation is all about a strategy which was alternative to the convention of what a Service Desk should or could do and how I have tried to give autonomy, mastery and purpose to my teams. The presentation shows how I have :

  • Skilled up my teams so there are no favourites people always want to always speak to when they have a problem
  • Enhances the relationships between the Service Desk, other IT teams and the business.
  • Empowered them to come up with ideas improve themselves and their work situation
  • Highlighted and promoted talent within the team to other teams
  • Trend analysis designed to show workloads and trends to try and either:

 

A final quote sums how I try to adopt an attitude to challenge convention with unconventional ways of working :

“It is more fun to be a pirate than join the navy’

Steve Jobs

If you are attending the event then hopefully you can attend my session ‘Rethink the Service Desk role to change its image forever’ these are the three takeaways :

  • Understand how the service desk can value add to the business and IT
  • Rethink the service desk role and the career path it offers
  • Identify and show off talent in the Service Desk team in a structured way

 

 

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