Most I.T. Departments are over-extended and under-resourced. If you are in a managerial role, you probably have a huge task list of projects to prepare for or complete in 2018 in order to improve business processes.
Visualize receiving 20% or more work output from your team and at least that amount of additional business satisfaction with your project outcomes. Do you feel yourself relaxing? You depend on your team to deliver on projects and since you are coming off the 2017 “sprint”, it may be time for a gut check on how to motivate your team for top performance. Here are a few very basic, easy tips to implement right away:
- Understand the gaps; who are your weaker contributors and who are your stronger contributors and what are the strengths/weaknesses? Can you partner people up in mentorship roles to help shore up basic weaknesses? You will also grow future leaders when people have the opportunity to mentor.
- Keep your door open; if you are like me, you are a “player-coach”. I am always elbow-deep in projects. I cannot help my team, give feedback or recognition if I don’t pull away several times a day and check in or remain available.
- Ask the team to work 10% smarter than they intended on any given day; my cardio-kickboxing instructor always says “work 10% harder than you intended today”. If you inspire your team to work smarter, ie: don’t hang on to issues for too long without escalating, verify user requirements quickly and follow up until you get an answer before you travel down that prototype, take breaks to clear the mind, etc.
- Celebrate VICTORIES often! What has a weaker member of the staff tackled successfully lately? Acknowledging it in front of the team would go a long way! Celebrating a new release? Business-side feedback on a completed project a big thumbs up? (p.s., if you are not garnering feedback from the business side on I.T. satisfaction, shame;). Take the team to the movies, buy gift cards for dinner for two with the spouse, give everyone an extra hour-for longer lunch, early day, etc.
- Address blatant under-performance immediately; Don’t fool yourself, you are not exercising leadership skills if you don’t have the guts to address someone coming in late habitually, breaking up team dynamics by complaining, gossiping or just generally wreaking havoc. Your team is looking for you to handle this whether they say it or not. Satisfaction with the team is in the TOP FIVE MOTIVATORS of top talent.