My friend Bruce Dorner forwarded this link to me: 10 things your IT guy wants you to know. Some wrongly assume that I have an IT background when nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I am publishing this as sort of an opportunity to let IT guys (and gals) have their side of the story. I agree with some of the points, (particularly # 3) but could publish a point-by-point counterpoint and rebuttal on others. So I'll just settle with rebutting number 9, at least with reference to law firm IT departments.
Here's number 9: "Yes, I seem blunt and rude. It’s not that I mean to, I just don’t have the time to sugar coat things for you. I assume we are both adults and can handle the reality of a problem. If you did something wrong, I will tell you. I don’t care that it was a mistake, because it really makes no difference to me. Don’t take it personal, I just don’t want it to happen again."
OK, there's really no such thing as "seeming" blunt and rude, there's just being blunt and rude. And if you work at a law firm, "I'm too busy to be nice" simply doesn't cut it. In case you haven't noticed, everyone there (with the exception perhaps of a pampered summer intern/recruit) is usually way too busy. Now I'm from Oklahoma, where we make it a habit to be nice no matter what. But I can tell you from comparing notes with many others across the country that the word "condescending" comes up way too frequently when law firm staff are asked to discuss the IT department. If you're really busy, then perhaps you need to think about helping staff out on the training and tips end. None of us like to make mistakes. So help the staff avoid them. Don't hoard your expertise. Help them work smarter. If you see someone using pull down menus and a three step process when there's a keyboard shortcut, show them. They will really appreciate it. "Seeming" to be rude erodes your support within the team and, if you ever make a mistake yourself sometime, you might need someone to have your back.
And a personal note to Liz Groom, Director of Information Systems of Oklahoma City law firm McAfee & Taft, who has been a great source of help and information to me, you know I'm not talking about you!