3 Challenges That Come with Managing Modern IT Teams 20-30% Productivity Increase & a 40-60% Reduction in Time to Market What IT Teams that Employ End-to-End Modernization can Expect1
Modernization is an exciting idea. It channels images of innovation, optimization, and the kind of improvements that give everybody involved a better experience. When it comes to IT teams, modernization is a complex matter. Organizations that want to modernize their IT operations must consider how such strategies will impact their technology teams. New practices and procedures, increased dependence on skills, and a need to streamline work puts pressure on leaders within a modern IT department. With plenty of new requirements coming to the forefront of the technology sector, IT managers need to develop new skills. This solution brief covers three critical competencies that are emerging as requirements for leaders in modernized IT organizations.
1. Coordinating Remote Teams The ability to work from just about any location with an internet connection is empowering organizations to recruit the best talent instead of settling for people who happen to live near
their offices. A study from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that more people worked from home in 2015 than in 2014, as well as spent more time working at home2 . Remote work can be incredibly valuable â€” the flexibility can help employee engagement, balance work and life demands, reduce overhead costs, and avoid stress. For team leaders, however, having employees in different locations can make it difficult to build strong relationships and keep everybody on the same page. A few ways leaders can deal with remote teams include: Communication: Great leaders generate a sense of transparency and are effective communicators even with colleagues over digital channels. Creating face time with remote teams can be difficult, and managers who value clear communication can ensure users collaborate well even if they donâ€™t meet face-to-face. Sensitivity: Being aware of others is vital when dealing with remote teams. Leaders must be able to sense when employees are becoming overwhelmed or disconnected, and this requires a high degree of sensitivity to identify these emotions during phone calls or through online chats. Communications Technology: A video call can be much more effective than a conversation over the phone, but the technology needs to be convenient for users to take hold. Managers must be familiar enough with these solutions to not only identify good tools for their team, but also integrate them into operations.
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SOLUTION BRIEF 3 Challenges That Come With Managing Modern IT Teams (continued)
2. Supporting Specialized Skill Sets
3. Multigenerational Teams
IT teams are increasingly tasked with complex and varied processes that force employees to take on a wide range of roles. This results in an environment where individuals with specialized skills (e.g. white hat hackers, change management specialists, or machine intelligence programmers) become incredibly valuable.
Millennials make up the largest generational group in the workforce3. Baby Boomers are the second largest, and will not be surpassed by Gen Xers until 2028. This indicates not only a great deal of age diversity, but also a large divide — millennials (ages 18-34) and boomers (ages 51-69) are so far apart in age, as well as skill level.
However, the diverse skill sets across IT teams can also lead to interpersonal challenges, making effective leadership key to keeping employees connected and engaged in their work. Effective leaders must be able to: • Nurture employees with specialized skills • Prevent workers from becoming isolated • Avoid a sense of elitism within teams • Encourage users with different perspectives to collaborate effectively Employees with specialized skills can add complexity within team dynamics. Great leadership often comes down to excellent people management and a high level of emotional intelligence.
Leaders must be able to bridge these gaps, and to do so, they need to stay on top of key attributes of generational groups while also taking the time to create personal relationships with their workers. Establishing mentorship programs can also help bridge the gap by bringing younger and older employees together.
Modern IT departments bring exciting potential, but they also present leadership challenges. Learning Tree can help with a robust curriculum of Leadership and Management courses to help you get ahead.
Sources: 1 http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/modernizing-it-for-a-digital-era 2 http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/atus.pdf 3 http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/
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