“When you’re a manager, you work for your company. When you’re a leader, your company works for you.” – Author Stan Slap
Some people are natural leaders. But leadership skills can also be developed and enhanced.
For IT professionals, it’s not only important to choose an A-team that gets the big picture, but also knowing how to keep employees motivated and stimulated. Leadership expert Gordon Tredgold knows the challenges managers and teams face. Tredgoldspent a quarter century working in IT and now provides the industry with the tools to form winning teams.
Below are a few of his key tips for effective IT team leadership.
- The ability to empathize and identify with the team. Those unable or unwilling to understand the day-to-day frustrations experienced by their team have become part of the problem and not the solution.
- Leaders are respected. Micromanagers are not. Nobody likes someone constantly looking over their shoulder, second-guessing their decisions. If management doesn’t trust its team enough to get the job done properly, it’s a sign that they either picked the wrong team members or their management skills are lacking.
- Remain focused on business concerns. It is important for IT leaders to sometimes take a step back from solutions and re-evaluate whether the IT goals are still aligned with overall business goals. If management’s focus is too narrow, it can prove to be costly.
- Understand the importance of patience in fostering a winning team dynamic. Effective leaders not only get to know their team but encourage members to get to know one another in a more relaxed setting. When employeesstart to see one another as individuals and not just “the IT guy” or “the marketing rep,” it can create a more collaborative atmosphere in the workplace.
- Approach performance from a numbers perspective. Leaders understand that while everyone’s process is different, the proof is in the pudding. With clearly outlined goals, projections and benchmarks, expectations can be clearly communicated and performance can speak for itself. This should also give managers the confidence to get out of the team’s way and allow them to do their jobs. Only when problems develop or goals aren’t met should leaders step in and override the process.
- Leverage employee strengths and support career goals. Because management positions come with bigger salaries and perks, stars of the IT world are often moved into leadership roles. However,this might not be where they excel orthey may lack the necessary skillsets to succeed. These employees often wish they were back on the tech-centric side of IT. The trick is to financially compensate high-performing tech employees enough so that they are content and confident in their career trajectories.
- Build internal and external relationships. Almost all companies outsource at some point. Top leaders approach outside vendors in the supply chain as essential team members. Developingsuch relationships helps partners become more invested in the product and its success.