IT Managers Need To Know What Their Team Members Really Want

IT managers need to find ways to keep their teams together
IT managers need to find ways to keep their teams together

Image Credit: Phil Whitehouse

As IT managers, one of the many challenges that we face on a daily basis is using our IT manager skills to keep our team together. I don’t care how hip and cool your company may be, it’s always a challenge trying to both find and then keep the best workers who make up your team. What it takes to make this happen is something that is always changing and we need to make sure that we use our IT manager training to keep up with what our team members are expecting us to do.

It’s All About Pride

One of the fundamental questions that every IT manager needs to be able to answer is just exactly what are the members of his or her team looking for? If you can’t answer this question, then they are not going to be sticking around for long. The good news is that the answer is simple: your workers view being proud of the work that they are doing as being of the upmost importance to them. Your team members want a sense of fulfillment – they want to know that they are having an impact. They need to know that their work is part of something that is bigger than they are.

Due in part to the type of work that the members of your team are working on, there is a real desire to always be learning. They truly have a need to learn new things. There are a set of things that the members of your team are already good at. They want the work that they are doing to play to these strengths so that they can use what they know to learn new things. In order to get the members of your team to stay, you need to provide them with an opportunity to work on things that they are not only good at, but which they also love doing.

Can You Be Flexible?

The one thing that none of your team members wants is for you to have a set of policies that can’t be changed. Our lives are dynamic places and because of that we need our workplaces to be able to bend with us when we need to make changes to how we are accomplishing our goals. What this means for you as an IT manager is that you need to take the time to discover what is really important to you.

What this means is that how the work that your team is doing gets done really does not matter that much. Rather, that the work is completed on time and at a high quality is what really matters. What you want to be is results orientated and results focused. You shouldn’t really care when the members of your team start to work or how late they stay. Instead, what should be important is that they are all there to get their work done. This is what IT team building is all about. You need to assess the members of your team based on their goals and if they are able to deliver on them.

Looking For Builders

As IT managers, one of the key questions that we need to be able to answer is just exactly what kind of workers are we looking to add to our teams? It turns out that what we’d all like to find are more “builders”. Builders are employees who have the ability to take a look at an existing solution to a problem and think to themselves “that works pretty well”. Then they think “I believe that it can made even better.” That’s when they come up with their vision for how it can be made better.

As an IT manager what you are going to want to get out of the members of your team is a willingness to try different things. You want the people on your team to have a real passion for doing new and different things. It can be most helpful if the people that you invite to join your team have already started things or even built things on the side. This is a great way for them to show you that they are eager to do it all over again.

What All Of This Means For You

As an IT manager, it is your responsibility to create a team that can accomplish great things. Once you have created such a team, you need to find ways to keep the team together. In order to successfully do that, you are going to have to take the time to truly understand what the members of your team are looking for.

One of the most important things that every member of your team wants is to have pride in their work. This coupled with a sense of fulfillment will provide them with the motivation that they need in order to remain a member of your team. You need to provide your team members with opportunities to learn new things and to work on things that they love to do. Your team will be able to maximize what they can accomplish if you are able to be flexible about how they do it. You need to focus on the goals that they are trying to achieve and let them worry about the details regarding how they accomplish their tasks. If you can find builders to add to your team, then you’ll have found a constant source of innovation that will serve you well.

Creating a great team is hard work. Keeping that team together can be even more difficult. However, it turns out that if you can take the time to create the right working environment for your team, then you will be able to retain them. Meet the needs and expectations of your team and they will hang around to help you meet your goals.

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

Question For You: What’s the best way to instill a sense of pride into a team that does not currently have it?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

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?

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