Todd Kane of Evolved Management Consulting is here to talk about why it’s so hard to be a great service manager. Todd has led technical groups for big businesses like Bell Canada and WestJet. He has a lot of experience leading service teams, and he shares tips and tricks to overcome stumbling blocks.

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How to Step Up and Shine as the IT Service Manager: Interview With Todd Kane

Todd Kane, Evolved Management Consulting
Todd Kane, President, EMC

[02:03] A service manager in an MSP is the equivalent of an IT manager or an IT director in an in-house team. The second most important thing for a CIO is support delivery.

[03:42] Managers have to orchestrate the effectiveness of the rest of the team. These managers usually begin in a technical role and may not have in-depth training about what this role entails. This can lead to falling back on doing the technical work themselves.

[04:45] The focus needs to be on developing a team that pulls in the same direction.

[06:05] It’s helpful if the organization already has some level of strategic planning. They also need some level of measurement and strategy to implement the plan.

[07:18] Lag indicators will tell you if you’ve met your quarterly or annual goals, and the execution plan needs to look at lead indicators such as how many contract proposals were sent out or how many tickets were closed. New service managers need to focus on the execution strategy.

[08:25] Service managers need to be part of corporate planning sessions. This way they can understand more deeply what the organization’s goals are.

[09:31] You can also develop score cards for individuals that can help seed the lead indicators.

[10:25] Technical managers need to make sure that they are focusing on the right thing and not doing all of the work. They need to understand the difference between responsibility and accountability and understand when to delegate.

[11:57] To scale, managers need to be able to delegate and look at what they’re doing in a thoughtful way.

[12:57] It’s OK to pitch in to help the team and demonstrate a win, but you need to be strategic about when and why you do that.

[13:16] You can demonstrate your expertise, but you still need to be comfortable with your team knowing more than you.

[13:45] Building strong trusting relationship power is essential for leaders.

[14:20] The three powers are relationship power, expertise power, and role power.

[15:51] Think about why you’re taking on the promotion to team manager. Do you want to be on the technical side or the operation side?

[17:20] You can foster engagement by developing a performance culture. Create a team that feels safe and has each other’s backs.

[20:23] Impostor syndrome can play a part in whether someone feels comfortable with their role. Do you feel equipped with what you’re supposed to be contributing? Honestly explore your position within the organization.

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