What Makes a Good System Administrator Great?

The typical IT person is routinely thought of as a geek or nerd with a lack of social skills. If you have seen The IT Crowd you may remember Moss, who is knowledgeable in all things IT but is extremely socially awkward. Or maybe you have encountered an IT person like Roy, who is tired of answering the same question repeatedly when the solution is simple and is more concerned with the latest trend in the online gaming community than reality.

Are you one of these two types of system administrators? Have you interacted with someone like Moss or Roy when you called into your local help desk? I am going to look at four things that make good system administrators GREAT, and you know what…it is not always their technical ability.

The 4 Social Skills

1)   Attitude

I don’t mean what your kid gives you when you tell them they can’t have a second bowl of ice cream. I mean your demeanor and outlook. Your attitude needs to be that of a servant. What can IT do to be a champion for the business? How can IT be used to meet business needs? I am not saying that IT can do away with security for the needs of the business, but I am saying that the business does not exist for IT. IT exists for the business to meet the business goals.  

2)   Quality Communication: Listening and Responding

How will you be able to meet the business needs of your company if you are not actively listening to what they have to say? Engagement with the process owners and all stakeholders is critical to ensure that your systems are meeting the needs of the business. Listen attentively so that you can understand what the IT needs of the business. Respond thoroughly with solutions, timetables, costs, and man-hours to get the systems in place to meet the business needs.

3)   Empathy

Understand the pain points affecting your clients. You can only do this by listening attentively. Let the client know that you understand their concerns and business needs. Put yourself in their position and see how you can work to get IT aligned with the business processes.

4)   Relationship

Building a good relationship between IT and the business can take time, but it is worth it. Focus on quality communication with your business units, understand what they need to get done, and work with them toward implementation/resolution to create a quality relationship with the business and end users.

Bringing it all Together

At Afidence we provide tailored, cost effective, and flexible solutions to our clients based on honesty and trust. How do we attain this level of trust with our clients? We engage in quality communication with our clients, listening and responding to their needs with a helpful attitude. This allows us to empathize with the pain that their network, servers, software, or computers are putting them through. Since we have communicated by listening and responding with transparency we can then offer our clients the best solution for their business.

Clients can be certain we make recommendations that are best for them because we are not a reseller. We will recommend the product or solution to get your business to where it needs to be and you can purchase that solution from your favorite vendor. We know that IT is a vital part of your business and our desire is to be your trusted partner. We want to revolutionize your IT with a unique approach and incredible service.

How do you engage with your end users? Are you a good communicator? Do you try to build quality relationships with those you support? I would love to hear how you make IT work for your business.

John Léger

IT Consultant | Afidence


Linehan, G. (2006). The IT Guys. In P. Producer (Producer). City, state of origin: Studio or distributor.