Coaching employees isn’t just about giving them constructive criticism and feedback. While that is certainly helpful, you also need to provide your team with guidance and support, and that requires more than just analyzing their performance.
Many managers shy away from coaching their workers due to fear. Worrying about whether the advice you are giving is sound is often a deterrent, and the pressure associated with providing an answer quickly can be anxiety-inducing.
Luckily, having all of the answers isn’t necessary. Instead, by asking the right questions, you can help your employee work through problems. If you don’t know what to ask, here are a few kinds of questions you should always have at the ready.
It may seem counterintuitive to encourage your employees to disagree with you. You may fear that it will promote conflict in the workplace, harm productivity, or simply become a nuisance as you navigate the conversation.
However, there are benefits of teaching your staff to speak up when they think something isn’t right. If you are wondering how you can become a better manager if your employees disagree with you openly, here’s what you need to know.
In the epic words of Bill Gates, “Everyone needs a coach.” Most employee learning takes place on the job, and usually not through formal training programs. As a result, managers need to be ready to step up, guiding the development of their team on a daily basis.
However, many leaders do not spend much time coaching their staff. If you want to help your team and company get ahead, here are some tips to make you a better coach.
Many of the best IT project managers on the planet share certain traits. Usually, this is expressed as a set of habits, all of them honed to help increase their odds of success in their roles.
By working to make these habits part of your reality, you can thrive in most IT project manager roles. Here are the ones that should be on every current or aspiring project manager’s radar.
Dedication to the Process
Today, nearly every project is governed by a methodology. These provide clear steps to make sure a project is a success, ensuring that critical points are not overlooked and that everything is addressed in an ideal order or at the proper time.
Leading project managers understand that following the process is important; so much so that the majority make it a habit. Now, this does not mean that an approach cannot be adapted based on the project at hand. Instead, it is the automatic urge to use that process as a framework, and a desire only to deviate when the situation actually demands it.
Acting with Integrity at All Times
For the best IT project managers, integrity is a core part of their personality. They never hesitate to be honest when working with their team and strive to be fair at all times.
Without integrity, even the most skilled project team may struggle. A lack of trust can be incredibly damaging to a group’s dynamic, leading to increased levels of conflict, more misunderstanding, and even rising error numbers – all of which can lead to a project’s failure.
If integrity is not a habit, becoming a leading project manager will be incredibly challenging, so it is wise to make it a focus early in one’s career.
Preparation is a Priority
If a project is going to be a success, it needs a strong foundation. Preparation is the key to creating a winning environment, ensuring risk is properly examined, contingency plans are at the ready, and all necessary information is gathered before any work begins.
Neglecting the preparation phase of a project increases the odds of failure. While this does not mean you have to focus entirely on the minutia before getting started, it does mean having all of your proverbial ducks in a row as early in the process as possible.
By embracing the habits above, you can increase your odds of becoming one of the best IT project managers around. Not only can this help you build a strong and lucrative career, but it is also intrinsically rewarding, as your success rate could skyrocket.
Looking for a New Project Manager Role? Contact The Armada Group!
If you would like to learn more about what it takes to thrive as a project manager or are seeking out new opportunities, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our project management expertise can benefit you.
While the term “postmortem” may conjure up some grisly images, that is the word Google decided to assign to its process of assessing its failures to allow them to make improvements. It involves an internal process of documenting mistakes and analyzing missteps so that the company can learn from these errors.
Ultimately, any organization can embrace Google’s approach, allowing them to benefit from this tried-and-true system. If you are ready to see your failures in a new light, here’s how to get started.
Identify the Most Significant Problems
Not every incident is as serious as others. When you want to focus on improvements that provide the most value, it’s wise to focus on issues that are genuinely important.
To determine which events qualify, you need to define what constitutes a major problem for your company. This may include evaluating the potential ramifications of an incident, ranging from the level of impact the organization feels to how it affects customers, as well as how severe the long-term implications are should the issue remain unresolved.
Creating a written record of the issue is a critical part of the process. It allows you to review precisely what occurred, what led to the problem, how it was mitigated, and the final resolution. Then, you can focus on defining steps that can prevent the misstep from reoccurring in the future.
If you want the documentation process to be successful, it’s wise to gather input from all involved parties. This ensures you get a complete picture of the incident as well as the perspectives of anyone who worked on the matter.
It also allows every team member to reflect on the scenario, which can potentially lead to additional insights that weren’t clear during the height of the incident. The process can be a little time-consuming, but it is worth it in the end.
Focus on Growth
When something goes wrong, it’s easy to play the blame game. After all, no one wants to believe they are even partially responsible for what occurred.
However, focusing on blame isn’t constructive. It creates an environment that is based on fear as people work to dodge any repercussions.
Instead of allowing blame to dominate the conversation, shift the discussion to a more constructive place by making growth the priority. This will enable you to reframe the incident as a chance to improve instead of as a setback.
Additionally, when you remove blame from the equation, your team will be more likely to admit their mistakes or failures, increasing the odds that you’ll be able to learn from the entire situation. Leaders also need to be honest about their errors. Otherwise, your employees won’t be as open.
By following the tips above, you can use Google’s approach as a positive example for addressing problems as they occur. If you would like to learn more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members and see how our expertise can benefit you.
Companies frequently want to find candidates with exceptional leadership skills to fill open positions, but figuring out who has the chops when they haven’t previously worked in such a role can seem like a challenge. Luckily, there are qualities that indicate an applicant has the potential to be a great leader even if they’ve never been in a management position. Here are six traits to keep an eye out for when evaluating candidates.
Self-Motivated Skills Development
Most leaders aim to keep their skills up to date and improve their capabilities. Candidates who pursue opportunities to develop professionally are likely to possess these characteristics. To discover who has these inclinations, ask the interviewee for examples of how they’ve improved their skills. That will let you know who is truly dedicated to the field as well as personal growth.
A Willingness to Make Tough Calls
To be a strong leader, a person must be fearless when making decisions. These candidates often aren’t afraid of the occasional misstep as long as it helps move things forward. You can identify these individuals by having them speak about instances when they had to make a tough call and how they approached the decision-making process.
Pursuit of Feedback
Those interested in progressing understand that gathering feedback regarding their performance is an important step. Potential leaders will often seek out feedback to give them a basis for improvement. Ask candidates to discuss a time when they sought such input and how they reacted to the news once feedback was received.
A Dynamic Personality
Leaders need to be able to engage with and motivate their teams, and that requires a certain kind of personality. While being a bit anxious during an interview is normal, those with leadership potential will still clearly show their personality during the process.
In any workplace, emotional intelligence is something leaders need to possess. This allows them to view issues from the perspective of others and make smart decisions based on the emotions behind actions. This interpersonal soft skill can be hard to gauge, so asking candidates to recall a time when they used emotional intelligence to handle a situation in the workplace can be an ideal way to gain valuable insight into their capabilities.
A Focus on Quality
Members of the leadership team must make the quality of their results a priority, and those with an inclination to strive for excellence often possess the necessary drive to do so. Have candidates discuss examples or metrics that clearly show their dedication to quality and you can likely identify the leader your business needs.
By focusing on the traits above, you can spot a great leader even if the person has never officially been a member of a leadership team. If you would like assistance during your search for an exceptional candidate for your open positions, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with top talent in their field. Contact us today to see how our services can make it easier to find the qualities you need in an ideal employee.
Being an IT leader starts with technical competence. Without question, if you don't understand the technology, you can't make informed decisions and persuade a team that you've chosen the right course of action. But leading isn't just about making technical decisions. It's about working with the people above you and below you, and guiding them and the project to a successful conclusion. That requires a whole set of skills that go beyond the ability to program.
Understanding the details of how to implement a particular technology on a specific project is important for individual developers. For IT leaders, understanding the general capabilities of a technology and how it can be applied to the benefit of the business is more important.
Using technology to achieve business objectives requires understanding those business objectives. The more the IT leader understands the business mission and operational processes, the better they'll be able to direct applications development to address important business problems.
Interpersonal Communication Skills
IT project leaders need to be able to talk persuasively with several very different sets of people. They need to speak with management and business staff who are concerned that the project is on budget and on schedule, and that it will deliver features that help the business succeed. They need to coordinate with parallel organizations, such as operations and support, to make sure the application will be supported and effective once it's deployed. And they also need to speak with their team of developers, who want to work with appropriate technology on a realistic schedule.
Because IT leaders are not doing the hands-on development work, one of their most important responsibilities is to build an effective team that does do that hands-on work. This includes hiring the right people, and ensuring that the team uses a good development methodology, and helping team members develop the skills that let them take on additional responsibilities.
Work with The Armada Group
Successful IT leaders reach out for support and assistance when they need it. Working with The Armada Group can help IT leaders find their next position or find their next employee. Contact us to learn how we can help solve your job or talent search problems.
You've probably offered your staff suggestions to help them improve at work. But are you taking the time to improve your own leadership abilities? Do these three things on a daily basis to become a better leader and help your team work more effectively.
1. Express your expectations clearly.
You probably didn't assess your staff's mind-reading skills when you hired them, so it's unfair to expect them to read your mind on the job. Instead, work on expressing your expectations clearly, both verbally and in written documents. By being precise, you'll eliminate the need for your staff to guess what you want them to do, and reduce the number of times when they inevitably guess wrong. By clarifying expectations, you also increase accountability for other members of the team, which makes handling problems that arise easier.
2. Spend time with your team.
It isn't possible to lead once in a while; you need to lead your team every day. This means that, no matter how many demands your managers are placing on you, you need to spend time with your team on a frequent basis. You need to be involved to critique and give direction in the moment, as issues arise; fail to do that, and you'll have the unpleasant task of giving surprise negative feedback months later at an annual review. Spending time with your team also lets you get to know them better and understand the best way to leverage their talents to the benefit of the business.
3. Focus on others, not yourself.
Leadership is about drawing the best out of other people. This means letting go of your concerns about yourself. It also means encouraging action, not standing in the way, so work on creating an environment that encourages innovation and creative thinking rather than discouraging them. Apply this focus to serving the needs of others at external organizations, too. Volunteer with a community service or social organization that's meaningful to you. You'll learn how to lead people who don't have to follow; bring those more subtle leadership tactics back to the office where they'll help you become more effective at leading your direct reports.