November 12th, 2019
7 Secrets To Managing Technical Teams
By Jessica Hall
Delivering effective management behaviours is to understand and tailor both attitudes and actions to gain the best response from the specific group being managed. This is particularly true when managing engineers and technical teams, who may respond in ways that other groups might not. Here are those seven ‘secrets’ towards success…
1. Highlight the importance of great products
Show how these are valued by customers and are valuable to others within the organisation whose task is to promote or sell them. Find ways to highlight the team’s technical achievements, whether through blogs or newsletters, messages on internal digital signage, celebratory meetings and events.
2. Recognise and reward problem-solving successes
This follows on from the previous point. Technical teams love to solve problems, suggest improvements, and deliver upgrades. This dynamic is so different from other activities within an operation, yet so vital to its success. As mentioned previously, make sure the world outside the team knows of such achievements, and seek out ways to offer rewards, either through financial means or clear recognition.
3. Set objectives, goals and timelines – but don’t prescribe processes
Akin to delegation, allow a technical team to define how the work will be accomplished. Using their specific skill-sets, while having them appreciate the importance of all deadlines is critical. The result will be an enthusiastic and energetic group; compared to those told ‘do exactly this’ often by someone with less knowledge and expertise of the work involved!
4. Provide specific feedback both through data and experiences
When managing smart staff, whether engineers or technical teams, it can be easy to assume they always know how good they are. But, as in any group, members will suffer from the occasional lack of confidence, or uncertainty. Technical teams appreciate data showing that they’re getting it right by showing the beneficial experiences of customers using the products successfully.
5. Don’t financially force technicians to be managers
Some will want that career path, and that’s great. Others will be content to develop their expertise and become better where they are. It’s important not to overcompensate management in comparison, and to ensure that salary and bonus structures, as well as hierarchical ones, allow an individual’s preferred path to be followed.
6. Create a developing talent pool
Increasingly, in many sports, especially those where transfer fees can be astronomical, increasing importance is being given to developing homegrown stars. Hiring the next generation as raw talent, fostering their abilities and confidence, helps deliver seamless transitions when vacancies – inevitable in any team.
7. Quietly celebrate those who leave
A tad controversial? This is about positively recognising when someone occasionally (and for positive reasons) chooses to move on, rather than sourly decrying it. Know that this is thanks to the way they have been managed and developed, that the previous point has ensured a replacement is ready formed. Such events actually offer a positive message to those within a technical team – or looking to join it.
Developing technical teams is a truly satisfying management activity, one that provides tangible results – something we truly believe in here at Opmantek.