As a manager of a technical team, you will be forced to determine what motivates your team and what you can do to get the very best results. Here are a few ideas to get better results from your technical team.
- Encourage Solutions over Problems – You will hear problems from your team, and your challenge is to encourage solutions over listing problems. Sure, every team will run into issues and the solution isn’t always the first thing that your team members will think about. You need to encourage the team to not focus on the problem, but the best possible solution. It will motivate your team to think through the issue and invite them to develop their own ideas for solving a problem. Remember to praise the effort, even if you don’t act on their proposed solution, to encourage the proper behavior of thinking past the problem.
- Reward Results – Every job has its good and bad days, so make sure you reward the team when everything goes as planned and the results show everyone has been working as hard as our expected. You have to remember that the work your technical team perform is often very difficult and frequently not appreciated by the rest of the organization. As a leader, your job is to get the best results from your team, so measure their contribution and provide rewards to encourage premium results and builds a sense of teamwork.
- Honor Expertise – A technical team has a level of knowledge that is unusual when compared to other teams in your organization. Don’t allow them to be treated like everyone else. Your technical team are experts in their field, so of course you should treat them as experts. When talking to other managers and leaders in your organization, talk about your team as experts, which will boost their reputation internally. To also boost their reputation internally and externally, encourage them to contribute to industry debates, technical publications, industry conferences, local user groups, and also look for ways to share their technical knowledge internally with mentoring junior colleagues and training opportunities.
- Communication – You need to find time to sit down and talk to each member of the team. Knowing why something is happening helps people tackle the work with a sense of understanding that is far more motivating than simply being told what to do. Poor communication is cited as the core issue in all failed projects.
- Avoid Troublemakers – You have to identify the troublemakers and keep them away from your team. The primary source of trouble are the people who constantly have negative things to say. While it isn’t always possible, identify the people who are not providing positive energy for your team and make sure they don’t have contact with your team.
- Embrace the Pain – Generally speaking, people make mistakes. Unless the mistake is as a result of intentional carelessness, use the mistake as a chance to show the team how to deal with issues the correct way. Start looking bugs or program errors as opportunities for improvement in processes or procedures. Hold a postmortem review and ask the team member who made the error to present the events that lead to the situation, asking the team to comment on what should have been done differently in a nonjudgemental environment.
- Encourage Growth – People want to feel there is a real opportunity for professional growth, so you need to delegate work to your tech team. They need a chance to take on non-technical or traditional managerial tasks on occasion so they can get a feel for what they might like or dislike about management.
- Promote Innovation – You people will have lots of ideas and new ways of doing things that could lead to significant productivity enhancements. Look for those moments of innovation and be prepared to reward anything that is adopted as a new best practice.
You need to treat your technical team with respect and challenge them to do truly remarkable things while they have fun and feel valuable to the organization.