Six team leadership tips for IT managers

Here are some strategies leaders can use to transform the way their teams operate

Silhouettes of team members in the background with a glowing technology style icon in the centre with white people icons

When time and budget constraints, supporting existing processes and legacy environments, and compliance-related requirements take over an IT department's schedule, they often have to say no to innovative projects and other requests from the business.

Say no enough times, and that opens the door for shadow IT to step in as other departments find their own, often less secure, solutions.

To avoid this, IT departments need to start saying yes to embracing developments and achieving a balance between smaller projects and the company's overall IT plan. Here are six strategies departments can use to make it easier to say yes to new ideas and requests.

Automate processes whenever possible

Automating routine processes allows the department to stop worrying about day-to-day activities, and instead leaves them free to prioritise more complex or innovative tasks and opportunities.

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This benefits both the IT team and the rest of the organisation's employees, who now have easier access to IT services.

Optimise collaboration with the IT team

Separating the department into multiple teams with each working on different applications has the potential to create barriers. Once barriers are up, it's not long until power struggles start and productivity falters.

Transparency and communication are the keys to avoiding this and collaborating successfully. This way, the environment in the department stays open and team members know what their colleagues are up to, allowing for greater synergy and a generally more productive workforce.

Think in terms of services

As employees become more and more tech-savvy, they want services that will help them excel in their roles, whatever they may be. Specifically, self-service, which enables them to make decisions and access information more independently. IT departments that can provide services like these on the basis of clear SLAs are well on their way to being able to say yes more often.

While these strategies can help accelerate innovation and turn whole IT teams into departments that say yes, here are three more recommendations specifically for IT managers.

Focus on developing soft skills

In a world that's becoming increasingly more automated, soft skills like communication, leadership, networking and empathy can set a great manager apart from a good one. The skills involved in being able to advance professional relationships and communicate across social, cultural and economic disciplines should never be underestimated, as they can be difficult to cultivate and require more practice than some knowledge-based hard skills.

Manage people, not IT

When managing a team, create a culture open to creativity and innovation with a healthy balance of give and take. As a manager, don't get lost in the technical detailsdelegate those tasks out, translate the details into goals, and use your soft skills to manage the team, not the technology.

Leave your desk and interact with other departments

Once again, those soft skills will come in handy as you get to know divisions and departments that aren't yours. By building those relationships, you'll learn how to better help other departments and anticipate their IT needs.

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