In a recent onsite I was speaking to our client’s technical supervisor. He pointed out that managing a team of technical staff is unique in that these types of employees are very artistic and creative. He made a good point as this presents unique challenges in successfully managing these types of employees. Generally, managing people requires the same techniques regardless of what they do. But, here are some tips that can help you better manage your technical staff.
- Make sure to carefully select the right people for the job. This is a topic I have written a Blog about before and I can talk about extensively. See my blog on Hiring the right person for the job.
- Keep them learning. There is nothing worse than a bored employee except a technical employee who feels under challenged.
- Talk! Most technical employees are introverts so they may not come out and ask you about things that concern them. Make the time to communicate information to them about what is going on with the company and things that will affect them and their team. But, make sure to shield them from organizational politics. Worrying about such things is, as they say, “What you get paid the big bucks for.”
- Listen! Be available to your staff when they need to talk. Even in you can’t act on their suggestion, or fix a problem they will appreciate that you took the time to listen. Most importantly, when they tell you something is critical be sure to hear what they are saying. They see the worst case scenarios coming so ignoring them will only lead to headaches for you later. Listening to them will also ensure they know you value them. In relation to #3 and 4, see my blogs on the importance of frequent one-on-ones with your staff and the effective one-on-one.
- Although they tend to be introverts, they are part of a team and generally they value this type of environment. Take time for team meetings as well as the occasional group lunch or other fun activities.
- Stroke their ego. Techies do some amazing things that which lay-people like me can’t even conceive. Be sure to praise them for their creative puzzle solving skills. If they are extremely introverted it’s best you give praise in private. Get to know them well enough to be sure how they like to receive praise.
- Reward them. Whether you can bonus them or just give them a $25 gift card once in a while, it’s a great way to show your appreciation.
Of course there is a lot more to managing your employees than just these few tips. If you or your management team need help in learning how to better manage your staff, contact us at Stuart Selbst Consulting.
All the best,