Posted by John Reed on Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 08:00
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking at the HDI conference in Orlando.
The presentation focused on creating IT teams that sync, and by the standing room only crowd, this must really be front of mind for managers these days.
Picture the Blue Angels precision flying team as your ultimate goal. Each member of the group performing their individual responsibilities while working in unison with their team members collectively. Many times it's easy to have a strong collection of individuals on your team, yet there may be a lack of communication and collaboration.
So where do you start? Creating IT teams that sync starts with you, the manager. Research and thousands of interviews tell us that the number one factor that leads people to get out of sync at their company is their direct supervisor.
Here are a few tips to help get your IT team to work most effectively together:
- Spend time learning the different communication styles of the members of your team. Some may prefer a direct communication style while others need time to ‘warm up’ and process information. Communicating with each team member in a manner that they will respond to will increase the effectiveness of your communication and facilitate new team communication dynamics moving forward.
- Get to know the members of your IT team as people. What are their hobbies, priorities, motivators, interests, etc?
- Trust and empower your team. Resist the temptation to micromanage by allowing team members the autonomy to solve problems creatively. Make a conscious effort to create an environment where each team member feels like they can contribute fully.
- Find your team's common ground and values. What common themes run throughout the team? Find ways to create a common vision and group objectives that are built on the values and principles of the team. For example, if your team is competitive in nature, set team goals that are metrics-based and will push them collectively to achieve. Or if your team has a strong sense of community, look for opportunities to energize the team by having them identify community projects they would like to partner with.
- Be sensitive to stress levels. Stress is part of today’s society, but look for a change in attitude, increased absenteeism, missed deadlines, increased errors or drops in productivity as indicators that your employees may be overworked.
- Pay competitively. People want to feel like they are being compensated fairly at market rates for the work that they do.
- Know the value of a thank you. We all want to be recognized for our contributions to the team and the organization. Look for every opportunity to acknowledge the good work and catch people doing something right!
These are a few keys to busting out of the silos and creating engaged employees that feel appreciated and empowered so that they can work collaboratively within your IT team. As always, your feedback in the comments section is welcomed.