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 [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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Jennifer Tribe

About Jennifer Tribe

Jennifer is the Director of Content at Auvik Networks, where she manages the company's publishing programs and hosts the Frankly IT podcast. From the Auvik blog and newsletter to ebooks and website content, Jennifer is focused on delivering practical intel that helps IT leaders manage high-performing teams. Trained as a journalist, she has worked in all sorts of content roles from blogger to book publisher.


2 comments on “How to Step Up and Shine as the IT Service Manager – FIT 070”

  1. Calwb says:

    This is a great episode and great timing for me. I’m in house IT with a team of 2 including myself in a company with around 400 end users.
    We have an MSP that we work with and they handle a great deal of networking level topology while we deal more with the physical equipment on sites and end user help desk related items.
    There’s an opportunity for me to to do more and take on a greater role but I’ve always been that comfort zone guy. 4 years ago the guy who was my supervisor here was let go. This was shortly after the MSP was brought on board. For 3-1/2 yrs inwas the sole individual on site for IT and i feel like i handled the routine well. The problem is that it was just that.. A routine. I knew i could handle the help desk items and I’ve got a great relationship with all of the employees here. Although i picked around at a few extra things, i never felt confident enough to really take on anything too big.
    I’ve always wanted to understand our budget and the operations side of our IT department. I feel like it’s mine. It’s personal to me ans i want to understand how it works and how to maximize it for the organization’s benefit.
    The young guy who was hired as my assistant in June this year is great. He has a great attitude, work ethic, and he’s easy to work with.
    I actually apologized to him today for not having done better at pushing him and keeping him on a path of growth in the field.
    I’ve been in my comfort zone and just pick up calls that come to my desk, just like i always have, rather than giving him the opportunity to escalate them if need be.
    Although we’re small, the same concept applies and i want to help him grow and become the best he can be in this field.
    This was a well done podcast and thanks to Todd for the insight. I’ve got a clearer goal of where I am going in this organization.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. It sounds like you’re well on your way to moving out of your comfort zone and stepping up to the leadership role. I’m so glad this episode was helpful to you!

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