Etheridge advises service managers not to get so focused on the process that they lose sight of the people. “We really believe both in people and process, but … if you lean all the way into the people, you'll never follow a process. And if you lean all the way into the process, your people will quit because you're just browbeating them into following this process.”
IT owners play a role in helping their service managers avoid missteps too, which should start with training but is often overlooked, Kane notes. “The owner says, ‘you're a smart guy or gal, I think you'll be great at this, let me know if you need anything.’” Service managers who are not comfortable with what they're supposed to be doing often default back to the technical work, he notes.
Etheridge wisely points out that giving up the day-to-day hands-on is a challenge for both the owner and the service manager. “The hardest thing in management is to have to get something done, never touching it, because you're getting that done through other people. Figuring out that balance of how to empower or motivate people to accomplish something amazing without actually ever putting your hands on it is probably one of the biggest skills that we all probably work on our whole lives.”
Sums up Peterson, “Our biggest challenge is helping a new service manager and owner with a new service manager understand the value that this person can bring is so much greater than their ability to take a couple of tough tickets when we get too busy.” Their real value is “understanding what's happening in the entire department.”