6 ways to be a great service desk manager.

Feb 8, 2023 | Business Portfolio, IT Management & Governance

The Service Desk sees everything, speaks to everyone and deals with everything from forgotten passwords to Major Incidents. They are the unsung heroes of IT and are the IT single point of contact for many enterprises. Managing these heroes is no easy task, so we’ve compiled 6 attributes we believe all great Service Desk Managers should have.

  1. Have excellent communication skills

You need to be able to communicate like a pro when you’re the one in charge. Whether it’s briefing the CEO about a ransomware attack or calling out a support team at three o’clock in the morning, you will need to feel at ease communicating with people in all positions. For written communication, creating and using templates is ideal as you’ll be giving updates regularly. Verbal updates should contain the following points: which services are affected, what the impact is, which team has been tasked with dealing with it and how long it should take to restore services or how long until the next upgrade.

  1. Be a creative problem-solver

The priority is always fixing the issue as soon as possible, sometimes this means being creative and thinking out the box to create a workaround. It might not be the most elegant solution but if it reduces adverse impact to the business then it’s worth a shot. This means that the business works again, and your team is no longer under pressure which gives them the time and space to get to the root cause of the problem. This will ensure it doesn’t happen again or if it does, that it becomes a quick fix as it will be known problem with the solution being part of the IT department’s knowledge base.

  1. Have the ability to prioritise

You will need to be able to see the bigger picture as the Service Desk Manager. Every user is convinced their issue is the most important and that it requires immediate attention. However, if every incident were a priority, which one would be addressed first? You need to get your team to allocate a priority level to each incident by judging how serious it is and how quickly it needs to be fixed. This system will guarantee that the genuinely important issues get looked at first.

  1. Have a cool head

ITIL® doesn’t teach you to keep your cool in stressful situations but the ability to remain calm is key for this position. If you panic, chances are that everyone around you will panic too. If you keep a cool head (or at least pretend to), it will reduce everyone’s stress levels allowing everyone to think clearly and rationally.

  1. Have a warm heart

As a Service Desk Manager, you get to see both sides of the situation, you see frustrations from the business and user’s side as well as the resourcing constraints and technical challenges of the IT department. Sometimes you’re not able to solve all the issues at once, so focus on what you are able to solve. You need to be able to empathise and actively listen to what is going on by asking questions to make everyone feel heard and supported while gaining as much knowledge and perspective as possible.

  1. Step up and command respect

Be the example. If a customer is taking their frustration on your team member, step up and step in. If the phones are ringing off the hook, step up and start taking calls. If you’re team is stressed out or tired, step up and motivate them with humour, snacks, prizes or whatever works. As a team lead you should never ask anyone to do anything that you wouldn’t be prepared to do.

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