There’s no doubt much of your intranet’s success is driven by the intranet manager. So whether you’re choosing one right now, or you are an intranet manager yourself, it’s useful to ask,
What makes a good intranet manager?
Most people and organizations answer that question by identifying the skills they think are relevant to the job. Skills are, of course, important.
However, it’s also necessary to look for certain qualities in a person. After all, skills can be learned through training. But qualities are acquired through personal experience and practice.
Below are 13 qualities I think are crucial for a successful and effective intranet manager. It’s a long list, because after all, an intranet’s manager job is by no means easy. An intranet manager is like a juggler who must balance people, processes, and technology, as well as cater to sometimes opposing interests within the company.
A Good Intranet Manager Is…
A good intranet manager knows he must begin with an accurate understanding of his customers. By “customers” I mean not only the employees who will be the end-users of the intranet, but also the executives who must sign-off on decisions. An intranet manager’s customers may even include the company’s IT department and other stakeholders inside and outside the company who will play significant roles in establishing, running, and using the intranet.
To gain a clear customer focus, the intranet manager needs to know how to empathize with her customers. She can put herself in the stakeholders’ shoes to identify their wants and needs, their problems and predicaments.
3. Team Player
An intranet manager cannot be successful without being a good team player. He does not try to do everything himself; clearly he cannot. So he harnesses the strengths and interests of all members of the organization, in order to make the intranet relevant and participatory.
4. Thick skinned
No doubt the intranet manager is an easy target for complaints and criticisms from various parts of the company. She must be able to take everything in stride. Listen and learn, but never take negative feedback personally.
The effective intranet manager’s empathy and focus on her customers, enables her to persuade different stakeholders. This is how she gets them to buy into the intranet — to invest the necessary resources in time, money, participation and sometimes even changes in corporate culture. The intranet manager’s role can be a tough one. So the timid need not apply. An intranet manager needs to be assertive: confident in her position without being abrasive or offensive.
With limited resources available, the intranet manager should be strategic. He knows the company’s priorities, the users’ desires, and marries those with the resources at hand to get the best results possible. He does not waste time on efforts that will bring little results. Neither does he keep doing something that doesn’t work. Instead, he scales up those that do work.
Managing an intranet often brings challenges with no obvious solutions. This is when her creativity needs to kick in to discover unusual solutions to problems.
Organized thinking translates into organized action and communication. It will also manifest in an organized intranet.
The intranet manager appreciates the need to monitor intranet metrics and measure its success.
The intranet manager recognizes that she has to let go of control over content in the company intranet. In fact, the more control she must relinquish (because the users have taken over), the greater the intranet’s success.
While programming knowledge isn’t necessary, the intranet manager nevertheless needs to be familiar with the technology involved in setting up and maintaining an intranet — enough to communicate effectively with vendors and the IT department. Or at least, be willing to learn (see next item).
12. Lifelong learner
Managing an intranet requires mastery of skills in different areas, from communication to information technology to business management. Therefore, to be effective, an intranet manager must be willing to keep learning and is open to ideas from various fields.
A successful intranet manager has a vision for the intranet. Her passion shows in the work she does, and in how she communicates with different stakeholders. They can’t help but be infected with her passion and drive.