10 Things IT Pros Should Know About Working with People

A lot of people think that working in IT means you only work with machines and rarely interact with the living. Although we can think of a few IT pros who wish this was the case, the truth is, interacting with other people is a big part of the job.

Here are 10 things even the most introverted IT professionals should know about working with people:

  1. People just want to get their work done.

We’ve all been there. A request comes in from a panicked co-worker, short on time and patience, with no concern for your busy schedule. Somehow, they expect their tech problem to be your top priority. As frustrating as this can be, just remember that every time they hit a roadblock, they can’t do their job. And when they can’t do their job, management isn’t happy with them. And when management isn’t happy with them, they freak out. So remember, it may sound like they’re blaming you, but in reality, they’re looking to you to be their hero. Just take a deep breath, put on your cape, and do what you do. They’ll be grateful in the end.


  1. People respect you. They really do.

Sticking with the scenario above, it may seem as if your co-workers only see you as a tool whose sole purpose is to fix their problems so they can get back to “the real work.” The truth is, they can’t do what you do, and they know it. That’s why you’re there. Of course, there’s no need to be a jerk about it. You probably can’t do what they do either. So just remember, the workplace should be about mutual respect. After all, you’re all on the same team.


  1. Your co-workers don’t understand how technology works.

It may sound ridiculous that adults in 2018 wouldn’t understand technology, but remember, you probably don’t fully understand how accounts receivable works either. It’s just not what they do. And the truth is, some people actually fear it. That’s why you get panicked phone calls about simple things. Rather than get frustrated with them, it may be helpful to try to educate the technophobes in your company. That’s a long-term strategy that helps everyone.


  1. Everyone wants the “easy fix.”

Whether it’s technology or just washing dishes, everyone wants everything done quickly, with minimal hassle. It’s human nature. Of course, that’s not always possible. It’s up to you educate your co-workers and set up reasonable expectations when the “easy fix” they’re looking for just isn’t in the cards.


  1. Everyone genuinely wants to be nice. Seriously.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but for the most part, everyone wants to be thought of as kind, generous, and honest. Treat people with courtesy and they will return it. Treat people rudely, or make the technophobes feel stupid, and well, you brought that on yourself.


  1. Sometimes people just need to vent.

As an IT pro, you’re probably not a trained therapist, but some people will talk to you like you are. As you sit at their desk, troubleshooting the tech, they’re busy spilling their guts. When this happens, it’s important to do what we discussed above and be courteous. Sometimes, people just need to vent. Let them.


  1. People need their privacy.

Many companies don’t get this one. They stick their employees in cubicle farms and monitor their online activity all day, every day. And IT people have access to everything. You are on the front line of this trustless culture. So although there are exceptions to every rule, you don’t always have to be the privacy police. People need to feel like they’re trusted at work. Whenever possible, let them have their secrets.


  1. People need to interact.

With all the monitoring and social condemnation that goes on in the workplace, employees can start to feel oppressed and alone. Sometimes, you’re the only person they get to talk to during the day. Be nice.


  1. People like to laugh.

Take two IT pros. One is efficient and gets the job done, but with minimal interaction. The other is light-hearted and turns a stressful day into a friendly “I can fix-it” moment. Which one do you think has an easier time at work? The trick to getting someone on your good side? Make them laugh. Simple as that.


  1. Good ideas can come from anyone.

That lady in accounting may not know the command to renew her DHCP lease, but she may have a good suggestion or two about other IT related issues. You never know. Be open to everyone’s ideas. You’re not alone out there.