Aspiring Manager Course

This qualification is designed for the IT Support operative aspiring to or being readied for a supervisory, or ultimately a management position. It covers two key areas.

The first area concentrates on the sizeable, fundamental shift in mentality and perspective necessary to commence a career in management. This syllabus element goes deeper than the ubiquitous ‘How to Be a Manager’ style of training, to prepare the developing mind for a philosophical reshaping so that the later management lessons will be planted in a mindset properly ready for them. This syllabus is especially necessary in IT, which hires technicians exclusively, and so finds it necessary to promote technicians into positions of leadership.

Risk to staff

However, the technical mind is not the managerial mind, and the promoted technician often fails to take on the management mantle, conducting themselves merely as a more highly paid technician, or worse, as simply the ‘Boss’ of their department, rather than as its orchestrator. This creates problems - for if the 'manager' does not 'manage', the result can be a less-organised department. The services suffer, but so does the working environment, creating avoidable stress and putting workers' health at risk.


The job of the operative involves following instruction and process. However the manager must have the far broader perspective to realise that a process is even needed, along with the decisiveness to see its implementation, to describe what constitutes success in doing the job, and instructing in its conduct.

Diagnosis is not Analysis

Furthermore, the operative uses diagnosis to cycle through known parameters and technical knowledge to determine which of these to adjust and by how much, to achieve a given result. However, the manager does not have the luxury of prescribed parameters, so diagnostics must be replaced by an analytical approach; which must also comprise a consideration of political factors, not normally an issue for the operative.

The second area is a detailed comprehension of the nature and delivery of external support, such as that offered by the ICT industry’s vendors and manufacturers, Value-Added Resellers (VARs), distributors, and Managed Service Providers (MSPs), which are collectively known as ‘The Channel’. External Client Support Management (ECSM) differs from IT Service Management (ITSM) in a number of significant ways, meaning that existing ITSM models often do not apply directly in terms of how ECSM service is generated and delivered. This syllabus element deals with the details of those differences. It may be seen as essential understanding for ITSM managers dealing with channel suppliers, as well as for ECSM managers directly.

Learning Objectives

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding and application of management principles as they pertain to IT Support in the following areas:

  • The technical mindset and how it essentially restricts managerial thinking
  • Philosophical and functional differences between operative, supervisor, team leader and manager in terms of what they do, how they do it, to whom they do it, and why they do it, and how they arrive at their different priorities and various Bases of Decision
  • Use of skillset management to resolve Single Points of Failure in the workgroup, and to replace oneself as a technical operative, in order to leave more time for managerial concerns and activities
  • How management goes beyond mere superiority – in particular, use the explanations and techniques of De Marco & Lister and others, pertaining to IT staff motivation and productivity, and workgroup coherence
  • Introducing how to convert yourself into a leader your staff will follow
  • Understanding and using the new relationship between the technician once a member of a workgroup and now leader of such a group, and the requisite behaviours, mentality and perspective
  • Making use of a full comprehension of differences between internal and external support to adjust workgroup practices and targets in meeting business needs
  • Takeaway: Introduction to essential management skills to get the new manager started
  • Takeaway: Develop and use a new, essentially managerial working-day to-do list

Who should attend

  • Operational-level technical staff from any part of IT who aspire to positions of supervision, team-leadership or management of others
  • Leaders of ICT workgroups experiencing difficulties in growing beyond their technical role
  • Managers requiring a quick refresher of the nature and mindset of their role in a technical context
  • Operatives being fast-tracked toward, or assessed for, future leadership role

Organisational Benefits

The challenge often faced by IT is the quality of its leaders. To be able to deliver its services at all, IT must recruit technicians; the problem is, when a need for a group leader arises, IT typically has only a pool of technicians from which to select candidates. Technicians are not managers – the mindset is completely different.

It requires personal transitions from individual reactivity to workgroup readiness, from technical diagnosis to situational analysis, from following instruction to anticipating corporate service needs, from abiding by process to developing necessary processes.

For a technician to become a manager requires such a shift in that mindset, otherwise the managerially-

Course is held in co-operation with Westergaard. Course is held in English with English material.