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Computing & Information Services Newsletter
 Being a Manager in IT Sector
     
 

Walk beside people to lead the people; for best leaders are indiscernible. Good leaders are those that people admire and praise. Lesser good ones are those that people hate or are scared of. When the good leaders are done with their jobs, people express the following words; "We have achieved this." Leo-Tsu (1)

One of those cliche expressions of people nowadays is: "This country urgently needs good leaders."; a good management is desperately longed for during crisis. During crisis, 'good' managers lead the way with their vision, ability to direct or motivate people, capabilities and ability to ease the discomfort. The facts derived from the researches conducted about leadership and management skills are; high tendency to achieve self development, keeping track of innovations in every field, especially in the field of that specific management, ability to question facts and ability to cope with challenges, ability to share the information and ability to take care of each employee. According to my point of view, the last fact must be the distinctive quality of the new manager. Why?

IT Employee and IT Managers: In the previous issue of CISN, we have talked about some basic characteristics of an IT employee. We have stated previously that IT workers are educated, they regard technology as not a final goal, but a means to achieve a goal, they are highly adaptive to ever-developing nature of technology and they are being very critical about the stability and slowness of other organizations and institutions. It is very difficult to walk along with these people 'without being discerned'. Left alone walking along, you have to run to be able to catch up with. Just like the conductor of an orchestra, you have to coordinate these 'musicians' that accomplish matchless miracles on their own, to play one piece of music within predetermined boundaries. Though, you do not know how to play a violin, you should be able to well comprehend its function and value among other instruments.

Borusan Philarmony Orchestra Conductor Gürer Aykal tells about a successful orchestra conductor, "...A conductor should be as good as the members of the orchestra if he/she expects a good performance. The same applies to the managers of big companies. A manager has to have broad and sound information about the responsibilities and tasks of the employees...[In the Orchestra] every member reflects his/her own musical world. At this stage, the orchestra conductor has to assume a significant task." (2)

Among the management skills of a good manager, establishing a close and warm communication with his/her employees is a must. In parallel, one of the management techniques is defined as "Walking and Managing" while another technique is "T-shaped Management". In "Walking and Managing" method, the manager goes out of his/her office, walks around the workplace and takes care of the employees. T-shaped managers are sharing their experiences, knowledge and ideas in the whole organization (the horizontal line of T) and at the same time they devote themselves to enhancing the performance of their departments (the vertical line of T). It is very difficult to promote the vertical and horizontal communication within the organization, however, a manager of a company should be able to achieve this harmonious compatibility, just like conductor of an orchestra who integrates the audience to the performance while conducting all the musicians. As apart from the general management skills, Human Resources Managers should have some more specific skills and information.

Being a Human Resources (HR) Manager in IT Sector: In most of the organizations, the HR departments assume strategic and influential tasks about employees such as hiring, placement, salary management, measurement and assessment of performance. When we consider the fact that IT sector needs qualified employees, hunting these employees and making them stay is a really difficult challenge for HR managers. For this reason, a Human Resources Manager has to define the tasks of the employees, plan about their careers & their training and assist other department managers about them. While demanding good wages for the value they add, IT employees also demand satisfactory working conditions (software-hardware facilities), flexible working hours, permissive for comfortable clothing, and a working place not predefined by strict regulations.

The technological developments in IT sector considerably influence HR management. The ratio of one HR Employee as against 100 personnel has now become one HR specialist to 150 personnel. This is the direct outcome of the advancements in web technology. In this thin HR model the tasks that demand routine administrative labor can be carried out easily and effectively by web based systems. For example, instead of heaps of thick dusty files that keep personnel information, web based automation systems, which enable queries and which enable addition of modules for task specific needs, are being used. Today, Intranets and/or web based systems enable HR specialists to perform tasks such as hiring people, transmission of information within the organization, creating HR information system. It seems that this will reserve time for strategic functionalities of HR such as planning work force, wage/performance management etc.

A Note on Being a Manager in Turkey: A research (4) conducted about leadership types compatible with Turkish culture shows that the popular leadership type is the paternal and autocratic one. This 'paternal' manager has to behave like a brother towards his employees and implement his autocracy as being sharp in character but showing mercy at the same time. On the other side, the employees have to show their faithfulness towards their leader and perform the requirements of their responsibilities. However, HR Managers are mostly female. In parallel, cannot we assume in regard to their feminine role that maternal characteristics are attributed to them such as a mother who always has a heart-to-heart talk with her children, solves all the problems around and who is so close to one?

References:
1. METU Management Society Glokal Journal, Spring 2001, issue 10, p.18
2. Hürriyet (Newspaper), Human Resources Addition, December 9th, 2001, issue: 322
3. Hansen M. and Oetinger B. "Introducing T-shaped Managers: Knowledge Manager's Next Generation", Harward Business Review, 2001
4. Aycan Z. (editor) "Türkiye'de Yönetim, Liderlik ve İnsan Kaynakları Uygulamaları", The Publications of Turkish Psychologists, 2000

Resources:
1. Capital Journal, May 2001, issue: 5
2. Wilson T. "Web Powered HR", Internet Week, issue: 852, year: 2001
3. Ambler S. "Some Helpful tips for Human Resource Specialists", Computing Canada, issue: 22, year: 1997

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