Leading an IT Team

If you are a leader, what does this mean?   

You will find many different approaches and interpretations to leadership on the internet and in books, blogs, and piers. You could be a hand on or hands-off leader or a leader that sits somewhere in the middle focusing. The truth is there isn’t wrong or right with any approach.

An experienced leader is adaptable and can rapidly change course or direction. They will look at collaborating with you to troubleshoot the situation in such a manner that encourages each person to reflect on other team members’ ideas using this opportunity to guide or steer people in the right direction without simply giving it. Listen to the ideas coming out and encourage them to explain how they came up with them. Sometimes, it is also about just listening and keeping quiet!

The goal is to encourage the team to think in a “GROW” model method: Goal, Reality, Options, Wrap-Up.

On occasion when working through a problem, change or issue, I will set an additional place at the table and label the chair “Customer.” This keeps the customer at the forefront and so my team can understand what impact we are going to have on the “Customer”. This is one way of working through an issue by allowing your team to see you as approachable as well as allowing them to steer or coordinate things in the correct way without taking over and simply giving them the answer. There are times when you need to lead and take the decision.

This leads nicely into an ever-important and growing area of leadership. During the recession, companies that grew despite the financial crisis were those that focussed in on Customer Services and Technology, bringing consistent reliability and a predictable business model. Those that were thinking about customers and how our service delivery is interpreted by your customers. You could be hitting 100 percent SLA; however, the customer might well be thinking about the whole 360 experience feeling how you delivered the service itself was not as expected.

Then, why should anyone listen, buy in, or follow your direction? 

A lot comes down to your core values, internal branding, and how customers perceive you. Your team needs to feel empowered and trusted to crack on and deliver. Being a Leader who is also not afraid to get stuck in and work with the team on delivery will only build on the foundations you have already established and remove the “job title stigma” or Berlin Walls that can sometimes occur, leaving teamwork to be the focus. This also helps your internal branding within the company.

Showing teamwork is one of the key skills you can have as a leader. Be an inspiration to your team! Enthusiasm and passion are both infectious and your team will pick up on this.

What does success look like? What will the measure be? It can be tough to do this yourself because everyone has different service delivery expectations and experiences that in doing so could leave false-negative results. Benchmarking yourself against industry standards is a good way to understand how good you really are against other companies in your sector. ICS (Institute of Customer Service) and CSE (Customer Service Excellence) kite marks and can be used for marketing purposes and shows your customer base you live and breathe by the same standards.

With a High-level leadership approach covered, what does a DevOps model look like? As a discussion point if we started with the below diagram, what are your thoughts on a successful DevOps model?


Article written by Stuart Humes, Network and Service Desk Manager at Ardingly College