Saturday, 11 January 2014

5 tips for running a technical team

I've worked with a lot of B.I. managers, and have also managed a business intelligence team myself. I have seen many varied leadership styles that have worked well. But there are some cardinal rules that could make your life much easier - and here they are:

1. Don't micro manage
Although your team is heavily analytical and technical, there is a very large part of the development process that is truly creative. If you stifle them with endless detail, they will feel heavily restricted. Set high level rules, and let your team take care of the detail.

2. Give them the right tools to do the job.
It is sometimes hard for laymen to understand the complex variety of tools that are available. When your technical team want a new tool, they usually have a clear reason why it is useful. But a non technical person, can fall into the trap of narrow thinking (i.e. if your only tool is a hammer, then every problem starts looking like a nail.) Beg, borrow, cajole, steal... to get the latest technical equipment. Your team will be grateful.

3. Protect them from office politics
Analytical people tend to be intelligent, rational introverts. An introvert does not shy away from social interaction, rather they expel a lot of personal energy - much more than extroverts, who get their energy from such interactions. So office politics can be particularly draining for them. If you can't shield them from negative work influences, they can find things difficult.

4. Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork
Many may well give off "leave me alone" vibes, but they will also want to feel valued as part of a cohesive a team. Don't let them get silo'd. Give them opportunities to work together and make the experience as positive as possible.

5. Listen without interrupting or being judgemental
Right out of management 101... make sure you listen to them - particularly if they are having problems developing a solution. Perhaps there isn't a solution to the problem. Just listen. A problem shared... Be that strong shoulder. 

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