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Are you an IT Support Desk Manager? Or maybe you have one reporting to you? It’s not a job for the faint-hearted. The pressure to perform to SLAs, to keep a team motivated and deliver a quality service for the user does require a certain set of skills and attributes. I want to share with you the secrets of becoming a superstar IT Support Desk Manager so you can achieve the true excellence your organisation expects.

Mastering motivation

Being a support desk analyst can be a stressful job. It requires a cool head, good customer service skills and problem-solving abilities. Since analysts are typically at an early stage in their career and not the highest-paid people in the IT, team they can lack some motivation. The ability to keep a team motivated under pressure is critical to success and to support desk superstardom.

Mentorship, incentives and development will make your team feel valued and help you to identify strengths and weaknesses in each individual. Here are a few quick tips on motivating individuals and your team as a whole:

Conduct one-to-one meetings regularly: It goes without saying that you will have regular team meetings, but one-to-one meetings is where you will really give and get that personalised feedback. Sit down with each team member at least once a month to discuss their personal performance, strengths and weaknesses, personal goals and find out how you can support them. It really does make a big difference! This is also a great way to help you spot talent and develop it. You might even find the next superstar IT Support Desk Manager in your midst.

Know the individual: Even if you have a large team, it is important to know each member on a personal level. What are their interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes? It doesn’t take much time to find out a little about each person and it goes a long way to make them feel noticed and valued.

Support your team leaders: Team leaders are usually analysts that have been promoted internally. For many, it will be their first step into a management or supervisory role and they will go from being a peer in the team to someone that others should respect, idolise and take direction from. This can be a difficult change in their career so offering formal training will ensure an easier transition for them.

Incentives: Everyone feels happy once they are rewarded for their hard work. Small incentives and gestures can be one of many ways to keep your team motivated. It’s always good to organise a small budget for team-based activities when targets are met and exceeded. Usually, company lunches, outings, and team building exercises can help your team to take some mind off their work in a relaxed and informal environment. It makes your staff feel appreciated and recognised for their group achievements. IT Support Desks are judged by the rest of the organisation as one unit, but you can add some personal pride to individual merit within the team itself.

One easy trick to make your staff feel really appreciated is by focusing on their personal achievement. Create a scoreboard for “targets met” or “exceeded” and share their progress. You can also anonymise the results for some staff members that might feel embarrassed and demotivated to share their results with the team. Try using pseudonyms to maintain anonymity so only each individual is aware of their own progress (e.g. using superhero names, Disney characters, etc.).

Being the face of the desk

The Support Desk Manager needs to maintain their reputation for being: the face of the desk, the voice of the user and a true leader; one who can demonstrate the value of their team to the organisation. This requires excellent customer relationship management (whether your customers are internal users or you are an outsourced team). You should also be able to interpret SLAs, service desk metrics and spot trends. Being highly organised with reporting and auditing is crucial to maintaining standards and steering your team.

Even the best Support Desk Managers and IT Support Teams will occasionally have difficult situations to handle. These can be from technical issues, problems in meeting SLAs to a tricky customer or a superior. Therefore, to be a true Support Desk Superstar, one must remain sympathetic and patient with a strong mindset and a fair attitude, as these qualities will help in stopping any occurring conflicts.