3 common mistakes that make IT managers look bad

With increasing competition to hire technology pros, it’s more important than ever for tech leaders to avoid making common IT management mistakes that could drive their top talent out the door. 

It’s often said that employees don’t quit companies, they quit because of a bad manager. Of course, factors such as salary and benefits are very important in determining whether people stay or leave, but an employee’s relationships with a manager also has a huge impact.

And IT pros are no exception, according to a recent survey from IT job board Dice.com. When asked if the relationship they have with their boss was an important factor in their decision to keep their current job or move on, nearly all (88%) IT professionals said it was.

Unfortunately, even good managers make mistakes sometimes, and that leads to many employees holding negative views of their managers. In fact, more than a third of employees feel their manager is largely ineffective, according to a new study by Development Dimensions International (DDI).

As many IT jobs are becoming available and competition for tech talent is increasing, it’s critical for IT managers to take a fresh look at how they’re doing and see what they can do to improve.

For a good place to start, here are three common management mistakes to avoid, according to DDI’s study:

1. Making it personal

Many managers fret that employees will overreact when they receive criticism. But it turns out that may prevent many managers from treating those conversations completely professionally.

Three quarters of employees say their managers fail to remain calm or provide constructive criticism when a performance issue arises. To keep those conversations professional and productive, managers should focus on results rather than personality issues, and offer specific examples of the problem.

2. Ignoring feedback from employees

Just as constructive criticism can help employees improve their performance, the same goes for managers. However, half of employees say their bosses don’t seek out feedback that could help them do their jobs better.

IT managers should seek opportunities to ask staffers how they’re doing and what changes employees would like to see. One good way is to ask those questions at the end of every employee performance review.

3. Playing favorites

Many employees also complained that their manager caters to a few marquee players and ignores everyone else. Of course, top IT employees should get some extra attention, because it’s critical to retain those people right now.

But IT managers must also look for ways to help their other staff members improve their performance. A manager’s job is to help all their employees reach the next level — that includes getting the most out of the stars, and helping others become top performers.