The selection of the person to fill this important team position should be given careful consideration. At the risk of sounding self-serving, the manager needs to wear many hats at various times on any given day. They will need to serve many masters and have the ability to balance, and juggle, several constituencies all at once. They need to understand and appreciate the “internal politics” of large organizations in an effort to serve well. There is a necessity to be proficient in effective communication with higher administrators, other managers, the creative designers and IT technologists and to have a sound grasp of integrated marketing and business concepts. While it might be difficult to identify a manager with each of those skill sets they should become well versed in both the “big picture” of the overall network, and also the intricacies of content design and IT requirements needed to create a network. This person will need to be able to find a common language with each of these unique areas mentioned.
Personnel management skill sets must be continually developed by this person. The manager must be friendly and capable of offering good and sound leadership to the rest of the team and they must be the advocate for each team member when appropriate. The team needs to be confident in their leader and be able to catch the vision of the entire organization in each phase of network growth. At times the manager will be a cheerleader that inspires and encourages the team, a pleasant mediator when divergent opinions and solutions surface, and an advocate for presenting new ideas and innovations when representing the team ideas to administrators. Without doubt, instances will arise when the manager will need to have broad shoulders amid times of stress and demanding schedules. This manager will need to be capable of accepting constructive criticism and also make unpopular decisions at some points in time while salvaging ruffled feathers. A good manager leads by example.
The manager needs to be capable of “seeing things from an altitude of 10,000 feet”… in other words, be able to see the big picture. They must understand how the individual staff members, the administrators, the budgets, the vendors and ordering processes, the clients and the intended audiences all orbit the network in concert… and what they each need to be successful. This manager might not understand the intricacies of IP network design, database design or graphic design concepts but they must have a solid general knowledge of these components and access to those professionals that can provide each piece of the puzzle at the appointed time. A good manager can shepherd the key assets in a gentle and productive way. They also have to have the ability to herd cats!
A manager needs to know when a confidence needs to be kept and when certain management information can be properly released to the team. They will need to understand the importance of good planning and the budgetary process so that they enjoy the good relations with the administrators who govern the growth of the network by funding phases of expansion in the future. A manager should provide timely reporting to administrators and clients so that projects move along efficiently. These reports should be prepared at least monthly and also after a major deployment or technology change so that the administrators can follow the progress of the team. The report should be succinct and to the point. Trust me, it pays dividends when they can take pride in your work and builds goodwill within the organization. Given the complexity of any deployment of digital signage they must understand how to work with product vendors to gain the best pricing model and a grasp of ordering / delivery processes. They need to be firm and consisted in their management style.