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OPINION: Communication skills, a technical background and the ability to communicate are all touted as important qualities for team managers to possess. What skills do you think are key to being a good IT manager?

Sometimes being a manager seems like a cross between acting as a coach and an administrative assistant--on the one hand youre trying to bolster the morale of your team, on the other youre endlessly trying to optimise their project workload.

IT managers often use the word balance when they consider the traits that make a good manager. Its all about weighing up how to manage different team members, balancing competing deadlines and ensuring projects run to time.

This idea of balance all seems very simple in theory--its all about people skills and planning, isnt it?

You can aspire to keep everyone happy, always get the job done well, and build a great IT infrastructure. But the fact of the matter is that its not possible to get it completely right every time.

How do you know when youve screwed up as a manager? How can you really be sure that your team members are satisfied with your management style? How can you obtain honest feedback about ways in which you could improve, without jeopardising the respect your staff has for you?

Even for skilled managers, there are always new techniques to learn, and ways to grow as a leader. Perhaps part of the challenge is that it is a never-ending learning process

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