In any service business, but especially in a business like IT Service, having a clear role between management and your service professionals can be crucial to that company's success. Many of these types of companies began as small “garage -based” businesses that then grew as the industry grew. For management, sometimes finding the right way to encourage and stimulate the professional in their company can be intimidating. But although in the IT Service Industry management and service professional may work together to better serve their client base, the roles themselves are very different. Here are a few tips taken from David Maister's True Professionalism that may shed some light on this. I highly recommend reading this book if any of this rings true for your situation.
Management Provides Purpose
One of the biggest roles of management is to define the purpose of the organization. When a true leader gives shape and substance to this, you will find that your service professionals will find their own roles that much quicker. It is also important because it helps a service professional decide if the company goals suite their own goals. When a company articulates its purpose and a service professional can see how that purpose dove-tails with their ideal company, true teamwork begins.
Management Provides Guidance
Everyone in business wants to define their own passion, the core item that drives them on to succeed. For many in a service industry such as IT support, that passion can be guided and helped to grow if the management fulfills their role. When times are tough they give encouragement. When pathways chosen aren't working they suggest alternatives. Good management values its professionals and helps them to succeed.
Management Provides Feedback
Many companies have begun to integrate the concept of a “360 feedback system” that allows each member of the team to provide feedback and give encouragement. When management leads the way by providing positive and helpful feedback that actually is honest without politics or personal grudges, a team can take that information and grow.
Management Creates Community
In business you create your community when management communicates a clear picture of what the common standards are that everyone agrees upon. These standards are what bind the company together, delineate what differentiates them from other companies and gives everyone a sense of belonging. It allows everyone in the company to have a sense of pride in what they achieve and a sure knowledge of what is expected of them. Taking all of these together you begin to get a picture of where management can provide guidance and be the leader the company needs to thrive. Service industries depend on the individual service professional to project the company to every client they serve. When the management gives their service professionals a clear picture of what they expect and reward meeting those expectations, a team emerges that is unbeatable.