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Secrets to Building Great IT Teams
By Jim Anderson

As an IT manager, you can only be as good as your team allows you to be. This means that you are going to have use your IT manager skills and invest your time in making your team as good as you possibly can. Even if you can commit to doing this, the next question is just exactly what should you be doing to make this happen?

Building a Better Team

Your team is not going to be in a position to support you if you don’t have the right team in place. This all has to do with team dynamics – how well do the members of your team work together? What you are looking for is a team that can be very cohesive. However, this is not just going to magically happen.

Instead, it’s all about who you hire to join your team. It can be all too easy during the hiring process to go looking for the most competent person. However, that can turn out to be a mistake. All too often the most competent person may end up not getting along with the rest of your team. That’s not going to be good for anyone and there is no IT manager training on how to avoid doing this.

In order to find the right person to join your team you need to know how to go about hiring them correctly. The best way is to be willing to invest the time that this is going to take.

I recommend that you plan on spending at least an hour with every candidate that you are considering. The reason for this is that by talking with them for an hour, the most amazing things can come to the surface. Anyone can fake it, but most of us can’t fake it for an hour – our true personality will come to the surface eventually.

The Secret to Creating a Mission-Based Team

In order to create a team that is really going to be able to accomplish everything that you throw at them and support you in your goals, you need to create a mission based team. Having a mission for your team allows the individual members of your team to rally around the mission and it can pull all of them together.

What this means for you is that each member of your team is going to have to have a strong moral compass. They are going to have to be true believers in whatever mission you have selected for your team. To pull this off is going to take more than just talent.

As the IT manager, you have a critical role to play. You have to be restating what the endgame for the team is. By reminding the team what they are trying to achieve, you’ll be able to get them to more fully commit to their jobs.

The final thing for you to realize just might the most difficult to put into practice. You need to clearly communicate to your team that the mission of the team matters more than the money. Yes, yes – the company is going to be sending them a different message, but you need to be very clear about this. If you want them to truly believe in what you want the team to accomplish, they need to understand that for you, it’s all about the mission.

What All of This Means for You

This IT team building stuff is hard to do! As an IT manager, you are responsible for creating a team that is going to be able to accomplish everything that you ask them to do and make you look good. This means that you’re going to have a special set of skills.

Team dynamics are a very important part of any well performing team. Creating a team like this starts with the hiring process. Take the time to really talk to your job candidates in order to get to know them. Creating a mission-based team will provide your team with a reason to come to work every day. Make sure that you get the culture right, constantly restate the endgame, and make sure that you put the mission before the money.

If you are willing to take the time to build a powerful and effective team, then your IT manager career will go far. There won’t be anything that can be thrown at your team that they won’t be able to handle. Won’t that make you look good?

Jim Anderson has been a product manger at small start-ups as well as at some of the world’s largest IT shops. Dr. Anderson realizes that for a product to be successful, it takes an entire company working together. You can learn more about Dr. Anderson on his website, http://www.TheAccidentalPM.com. You can subscribe to his newsletter here.

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