When you’ve just had it

Q. I have more than 10 years of experience on technical teams at solutions provider companies. Recently, I was hired as an IT manager at another non-IT company where I believed I could add a lot of value. However, after a year I find myself not as productive as I thought I’d be because top management is unaware of IT responsibilities and roles. My direct boss (the COO) does not understand anything about IT and cannot take the time because he’s too busy. I am afraid at this point I could get fired because we do not understand each other. If this happens, it will be the first failure of my career. Any advice?

A. First and foremost, make an effort at developing a positive relationship with your boss before giving up. It is not unusual for IT executives to find themselves working for managers who are not IT savvy and are extremely busy.

Because your boss is busy, why not ask for a meeting after hours or early in the morning to review your organization’s progress? In preparation, develop an overview of IT accomplishments to date and show their relationships to the business goals. Has your group been able to help the company make or save money? That should be your key role. If you cannot articulate such a list, then use the time to restate your commitment to the company and ask for some objectives that will ensure you work on the right tasks and spend the company’s money wisely. Be sure to speak in business and not technical terms.

If you show interest and sincerity when talking to your boss, and speak “his” language of business, you might have a chance at improving the working relationship and your ability to be productive. If after a few attempts this technique does not work, start tuning up your r