Managing the Motivation of an IT Team

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. General George S. Patton

IT staff are valuable company resources because of their unique specialist skills, knowledge and experience.

They are a challenge to lead because: they are very intelligent and highly individual; and also because they are often involved in complex projects where they may have to work in isolation using considerable delegated discretion.

Most IT specialists will tell you that they prefer to be left alone to get on with the job. Nevertheless, like everyone else they do need to be given feedback, told when they’re doing a good job, corrected when they’re not. Providing feedback is particularly difficult when a goodly proportion of their time is spent working at home – out of the normal cycle of intra-office communication and observation.

Maintaining IT staff motivation is a crucial element in the success of a project. Knowing when to delegate and how to review is a key factor in achieving motivation.

If you are to do this well, and it does need doing well, you need to very aware of your own skills and abilities. You need to identify your management style and understand:

• The theory of motivation.
• How to delegate successfully.
• How to understand yourself and others – what drives you, what drives them?
• Why values are important and how to use them.
• How to communicate effectively with your team.
• How to build on-going fruitful relationships.

I’ve blogged before about the lack of management training that we IT professionals undertake. Here is a starting point – an opportunity to develop and deploy a very valuable set of skills that will help you, your organisation and your team members.

Stuart Sawle

www.sysop.co.uk

 

 

One thought on “Managing the Motivation of an IT Team

  1. I agree entirely regarding your point that IT specialists need to be left alone to get on with the job, however in order to do this effectively – and reliably – a comprehensive governance structure needs to be in place. This structure needs to clearly illustrate what is expected and when, but without stifling innovation and free thinking. It should provide clear reporting and escalation lines, but not become a burden or appear to be more important than the overall vision.

    A manager should also expect to be challenged by the staff they are managing, but that must not preclude their decision making or ability to manage. Training is a key part of this, but is no substitute for building experience by ‘bag carrying’ for more experienced managers. Cutting ones teeth is a vital stage in growth.

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