Human Resources can help an IT manager build a better team

Human Resources can help an IT manager build a better team
Image Credit: woodleywonderworks

If I was to ask you what it takes to make a really great team, what would your answer be? Lots of ping pong tables? Probably not. What makes people want to both join and then stay with your team is something that is much more difficult to create: workplace culture. You need to understand how to use your IT manager skills to create a workplace that people will want to participate in. Now the big question is just exactly how do you go about doing this?

Why Human Resources Is Important

If you were tasked with building a team from the ground up, how would you go about doing it? I think that a lot of us would act like startups do and jump in and attempt to grow our team at all costs – nothing else matters. All too often, teams are built by scaling hastily. A better way to go about doing this is to find ways to avoid hidden hiring biases and instead use the interview process to determine if a candidate is really a team player.

As you start to build your team, you are going to have to use your IT manager training to find the time to clearly communicate to everyone on your team all of those critical human resources issues like parental leave, how to deal with harassment and other company policies. While you are doing this you are going to have to routinely provide the members of your team with reviews and take the time to reward good employee performance.

The news has been filled with stories about teams that have gone bad at a number of startups including Zenefits, Uber, and others. In order to avoid having the same problems that these teams ran into, you need to formalize your team’s workplace culture just like your firm formalizes how they build products. If you can find a way to do this correctly, then you’ll have a chance to build a well-oiled and motivated workforce that others will want to join.

How To Build A Desirable Workplace Culture

As an IT manager, what you are going to want to do is to attract the right kind of talent to join your team while at the same time trying to avoid running into troubles down the line. The rule is that if you don’t take the time to get your team’s culture right early on, then you’d going to discover that it will be almost impossible to get it right later on.

When we are putting together a team, we’d like to do what the HR people tell us to do: avoid hiring biases and make our team as diverse as possible. Studies have been conducted that show that ethnically diverse teams are 35% more likely to financially outperform their industry peers. If you are willing to take the time to design your workplace culture and create your team’s employment practices then you will have boosted the chances of your team being a success.

There will, of course, be challenges to investing so much time into human resource related tasks. In order to correctly execute the hiring process, you are going to end up making the process that much longer. When you do this, high quality candidates may lose interest as the process drags on and will elect to no longer be considered for the position. Despite this, doing your hiring the right way should result in the people that you do hire sticking with your team for long periods of time.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the most important tasks that any IT manager has is to create their team. If they start to do this from the ground up, they are going to have to make several decisions about how they’d like to go about doing it. Do it right and you’ll be able to use IT team building to create a strong team that can be highly productive. Do it wrong, and nobody is going to stick around to work on your team.

One thing that every IT manager needs to realize from the start when they are building a team is that they need to get some guidance from the human resources team. This means that you need to avoid hiring biases and you are going to be responsible for covering all of the human resource issues with your team. Providing frequent reviews and feedback can help to avoid some of the issues that have plagued statups that tried to build their teams too quickly. You are going to want to take the time to build the right kind of team. You’d like it to end up being as diverse as possible. However, you need to be aware that slowing down the hiring process may cause some candidates to drop out of the running.

As an IT manager, the team that you are able to put together is what is going to determine just how successful you can be. If you follow what the human resources staff tell you to do in terms of how you build your team and what kind of team you build, your team will be successful. Take the time to do it right and then you’ll experience the benefits for a long time to come.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What do you think is the best way to create a team that is truly diverse?

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P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I think that it would probably be safe to say that despite the arrival of social media tools, email is still the #1 tool that IT managers use to both get and distribute information. Email has so many different things working in its favor: everyone has an email address so everyone can be reached, we can send someone anything that they need including pictures and entire documents, and email provides a fairly fast turnaround – people generally get back to us the same day that we send them an email. Oh wait, that last one doesn’t always work out. What’s an IT manager to do when despite using all of your IT manager skills your emails aren’t answered?

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What To Do When You Are Not In Charge

by drjim on July 12, 2018

You need to find ways to be happy as a #2

You need to find ways to be happy as a #2
Image Credit: Bram Booth

Remember the day when you were made an IT manager? What did you think? Did you think that now that you were in charge, things were going to be different around here? What I suspect that you have learned since that day is that you really are not the one in charge. Yes, you do have a say in what your team works on, but there are other people in your organization who are really calling the shots. This means that you are at best a #2. Can you learn to deal with that?

What Does A #2 Do?

I think that at least in our minds, our IT manager training has taught us what we need to do when we are the ones in charge. What’s been missing is to make sure that we have the IT manager skills that are needed to do a good job when we find ourselves in the #2 spot. The good news is that when we are playing the role of a deputy to someone who is #1, this role can be both a rich and a rewarding role for us.

When you are a deputy, getting the most out of the role is going to take some finesse on your part. You need to realize that you have access to the person who is in charge. At the same time, if the result of their decisions is that things go bad, then you won’t be the one who gets blamed for it. In this role you need to be comfortable calling out your boss when you think that he or she is making a bad decision. At the same time, because you are a deputy you will need to be willing to carry out your #1’s plan.

One of the most important tasks that you have to make sure that you are always ready to carry out is having the ability to step into your boss’ shoes. There are a lot of different reasons why your boss may not be available at some point in time, but when it happens it’s going to fall on you to step up and take care of things. You may not have had all of the experiences that your boss has had, but you still need to be able to fill in for him or her when required.

What Makes A #2 Good?

We always want to be successful in whatever role we are playing. When we find ourselves being a deputy to someone else, we need to be willing to bury our ego. The skills that you bring to the table should always complement the skills of the #1 person. Since you won’t be spending time in the spotlight, you will need to make sure that you can take satisfaction from the wins that you can achieve behind-the-scenes.

One of the toughest parts of being a good deputy is that it is going to be your responsibility to always be promoting the boss’ plan. You’ll need to be able to do this even when you disagree with it. However, in private you will need to have the courage to tell the boss when you think that he or she is making a mistake. Publically, you’ll need to collect all of the information that you possibly can so that you can protect your boss from any unnecessary surprises.

When you are someone’s deputy you need to understand that you will not be getting any glory or praise for yourself. No matter what you think about your boss, you are going to have to make sure that you are not afraid of them. This is because it’s going to be up to you to challenge them when you think that they are making a mistake. While you are a deputy your career will continue to advance. You need to be very careful that you are not trying to compete with your boss. Being a deputy is not a complete career – you need to view this as being a temporary position. The goals that you accomplish while you hold this role need to align with what your boss is trying to accomplish.

What All Of This Means For You

We all dream about being the person who runs the show. However, in real life more often than not what we’ll discover is that someone else has been given that responsibility. What we are being asked to do is to be a deputy to the person who has the #1 spot. It turns out that this is a tricky job and we need to take the time to find out how to do it correctly.

A deputy role can be a rewarding role if we do it correctly. You’ll have access to the #1 person. You’ll also have to be confident enough to call them out when you think that they are making a wrong decision. When your boss is not available to do their job, it is going to become your responsibility to step in and carry out their role and do some IT team building. Your skills should be a complement to your boss’. You will need to be able to promote your boss’ plan even when you don’t agree with it. Being a deputy is a temporary position; however, while you hold it you need to make sure that what you are doing lines up with what your boss wants to accomplish.

The challenge of being a #2 is that this position does not come with a lot of instructions. We need to understand that our job is to support the person in charge no matter what they are trying to accomplish. The good news is that their successes will be our successes also.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: If your boss makes a mistake, do you think that it would ever be a good idea for you to take responsibility for it?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

If I was to ask you what it takes to make a really great team, what would your answer be? Lots of ping pong tables? Probably not. What makes people want to both join and then stay with your team is something that is much more difficult to create: workplace culture. You need to understand how to use your IT manager skills to create a workplace that people will want to participate in. Now the big question is just exactly how do you go about doing this?

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