Technical leadership means overseeing a team of technical professionals and demands more than just management skills, but also technical prowess, and the ability to navigate the tech world. Leaders typically do not begin their career in a leadership position. Leaders come from the “ranks” and are usually experts in their field. Organization’s value those technical skills and promote leaders who excel in their field. The expectation is that leaders will maintain their technical skills and grow in their leadership skills. Technical experts are not necessarily technical leaders. Both have outstanding technical skills; the difference is in how others relate to you. Are you a person that others want to follow? That’s the question that really matters. In this article, we will discuss technical leadership and what you can do to help improve how you can lead an I.T team.
Do a personal SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis –
Make a list of what you must improve to be a better manager for your team. You are most likely to succeed in life if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you’ll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are and if you manage these weaknesses so that they don’t matter in the work you do. SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps to identify these strengths and weaknesses and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them. Many managers let others assess their skills, and then wait until their performance review to discover what skills they lack. Don’t make this mistake – spend time now identifying your weaknesses, so that you can start improving on them immediately.
Celebrate and reward hard work, successful outcomes and milestones
As a technical person yourself, you will know the enjoyment of troubleshooting a complex issue and finally finding a solution. Not only can the result be rewarding but can be validated by positive feedback and recognition. As a manager, try to figure out what incentives can foster continuous encouragement to reach these successful outcomes and milestones. Another thing you can do is compensate technical staff appropriately. It’s rare that technical people will complain about their pay or demand more compensation. Too many technical staff members leave for better-paying jobs and companies lose valuable information and skills.
Stay away from technical work and trust your engineers –
Resist the temptation to get involved with technical projects that aren’t your responsibility. Yes, you probably enjoy this type of work and want to feel successful doing something you know well, but it’s now your team’s responsibility. Spending too much time doing technical work will only hold you back from the more important management tasks. Sure, it’s good to pitch in when you can, but make sure that you do the managing part of your role first. Instead, set clear objectives and timelines, from the project level (daily, weekly, monthly) to the team level (sprints, product deadlines, market milestones). Then let them work through how to define and organize the work to meet the objectives. You’ll get more energized, enthusiastic teams and better work as a result.
Meet with every team member –
Make it a priority to meet with everyone on your team personally. Find out what interests and motivates them, and check that they have everything they need to be happy and successful in their role. This shows that you’re taking an interest in them, and it helps you get to know the people you’re managing.
Share customer feedback
Technical people respond well to data. Give your team feedback on how their work is being used. But don’t get stuck on the raw data, such as a number of users; let them know how their work benefits customers. It’s your time to step away from the technical work and go talk with the users/ customers.
Don’t overcompensate management
Last but not least, create a system where technical staff don’t have to become managers to grow their careers. Most companies pay management the most, on the assumption that managers should have significantly higher salaries than their staff. This greatly overvalues the contribution of managers.
Don’t make that mistake. Managers are important, but fundamentally the value comes from your technical staff. Pay them well to reflect that value and make sure they know that they are valued. There is nothing more valuable for technical people than to be able to control their career destiny by being in a committed meritocracy. Develop a technical hierarchy to reward and recognize technical achievement and capabilities. Where better in the entire organization to foster and develop top talent?