Tensions between users and IT staff often run high in many organizations. In this guest post, author Roger Firman offers some advice on keeping those issues from impacting performance.
Life at work can be difficult for an IT pro. They hear users complaining all day about malfunctioning equipment, loss of data, spilled coffee, etc. — and it’s somehow all IT’s fault. It can be very easy for an IT employee to lose their cool at times, but it’s important for managers to keep employees on task, calm and collected.
The nature of most IT jobs is dealing with problems and on days when the employee has a lot to handle, a manager needs to catch onto that and acts accordingly. Here are some tips for managing a particularly disgruntled worker in the IT department — or another employee who comes in and makes life unpleasant.
1. Calm everyone down
A loud, angry scene involving a user and an IT staffer can lower the morale of the workplace very easily if it goes on long enough. Managers can use their authority to either break it up and get both parties back to work or take them somewhere more private. Figure out what the problem is and work to resolve the issue. Most of the time rude remarks are settled with reinforcement in understanding where a person is coming from.
2. Have a private meeting
When users direct rude remarks at IT staff, things can get ugly, whether or not the user has a legitimate complaint. What really needs to be done in those cases is to have both parties explain their circumstances or reasons for complaining — in a private setting — and move on. What, why, and how are the only important things in disputes regarding unacceptable work from IT and rude candor from the other employee.
3. Be mindful of personal issues
We always strive for professionalism and hard work from our employees, but nobody is perfect. Sometimes personal problems can interfere with an employee’s efficiency in the workplace. This doesn’t mean managers need to get involved, but they should be aware of what’s on employees’ plates at the moment. If a staffer is a day late on an assignment because he or she is now going through a divorce, the manager should keep an eye on that person. If problems persist, the manager can recommend the employee take a day off or ask what other help may be offered.
4. Make it clear IT staffers deserve respect
If the same person or people from another department consistently hound IT workers, an IT manager can make it a point of talking to the offending user — or the person’s supervisor. Let them know your people are working as hard as they can and work towards a suitable compromise.
5. Never tolerate grudges
No matter how badly other employees or customers ever treat IT workers, there is never a good reason for them not to do their best work. If a help desk staffer refuses to put in maximum effort to fix a user’s problem because of something the person did in the past, the IT manager needs to say something. Managers must set the example of being level-headed regardless of other people’s behavior.
About the author: Roger Firman is technology writer and business consultant who loves researching about the latest trends and innovations in technology. He writes for Tech Toolbox, an IT company that specializes in active directory software.