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Set Your Team Up for Success in 2022

 

Setting team goals helps your employees feel more invested in reaching company objectives. Because your team members play a part in creating the goals, they are able to develop their skills as they work toward common objectives. Collaborating along the way, refining the action plan, attaining the goals, and celebrating successes promote engagement and a sense of accomplishment throughout the process.

Use the following guidelines to help your IT team set goals for 2022.

Tie Team Goals to Company Objectives

Meet with your supervisor to discuss what the business priorities and performance expectations are for your team. Use this information to align your team goals with what leadership wants to see happen over the next 12 months. This will serve as a foundation for the action plan your team creates.

Use the SMART Format

Create team goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-driven (SMART). The more specific your goals, the more focused your team’s efforts will be. This helps measure your progress and create actionable plans to increase the likelihood of success. Be sure you divide the bigger goals into smaller, more manageable milestones that your team can monitor. Also, provide the necessary resources, skill training, and deadlines to reach the milestones. This helps with productivity, efficiency, and time management.

Help Your Team as Needed

Consistently check-in to ensure your team members are fulfilling their responsibilities and meeting their milestones. This may involve scheduling regular one-on-one meetings to discuss the goals and address any questions or concerns. Be sure to find out where your team members are in reaching their milestones. Also, provide feedback, advice, and individual training as needed. Encourage your team members to hold themselves and each other accountable for getting everything done on time. Their actions affect the individual and collective success of the team.

Follow Up

When a deadline passes, talk with your team about whether they achieved their milestone or goal. If they did, point out how their individual efforts contributed to the success of the company. Also, talk about what worked well, what did not, and how it could be improved for next time. Celebrate your team’s successes through recognition during a meeting, a gift from the company, or a team lunch. Or, if your employees still are working to reach a goal, help them update the action plan, milestones, and deadlines. Encourage your team to continue moving forward in the process.

Plan Your IT Staffing Needs for 2022

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The Best Ways to Show Employee Appreciation

 

Expressing gratitude for your team members should be an everyday occurrence. The more valued and respected your employees feel, the greater their engagement and productivity will be. This increases retention and helps make you an employer of choice.

Choose among these five ways to show you appreciate your team members.

Directly Express Your Gratitude

Use verbal and written methods to show specific reasons you are thankful for your staff members. For instance, tell your employees exactly how their contributions to a project benefitted the company. Also, write a thank-you note expressing gratitude for a team member going above and beyond to provide value to the organization. Additionally, include more positive feedback in your employee reviews.

Begin Meetings with Appreciation

Highlight your employees’ recent accomplishments when you start a meeting. This may include career milestones, innovation, an exhibition of company values, or another display of excellence. Point out how your staff members’ hard work and results added value to the company. Thank them for their efforts. Encourage your team to continue their performance.

Provide Financial Rewards 

Your employees appreciate being given monetary rewards for their contributions. For instance, give bonuses when your team members have significant accomplishments. Also, provide additional vacation days after a busy period. Additionally, give out gift cards for birthdays or work anniversaries, during the holidays, or when your staff finish a big project.

Organize a Team Activity

Set up something fun for your team to do after a busy period or during a slow time. For instance, give your employees humorous coffee mugs to use at the office. Take your staff to a restaurant they enjoy. Or, arrange an in-office party to share food, beverages, and games on a Friday afternoon.

Include Advancement in Your Team Culture  

Offer opportunities for your employees to move up in the organization. For instance, provide regular training to gain the education and skills needed for higher positions. Also, offer a mentorship program for seasoned staff to provide career advice and guidance. Additionally, cover the costs for seminars, conferences, and other networking opportunities.

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6 Steps to Resolve Workplace Conflicts

As a manager, part of your job is to resolve team conflicts. Using honest dialog and modeling what it means to be a team player are key parts of the process. Involving your employees in finding a resolution encourages them to work together to find common ground and move forward.

Use these six steps as guidelines to resolve workplace conflicts.

1. Identify the Conflict

Find out what the problem is and when it began. Include which employees are involved, their beliefs about the issue, and which needs are not being met. The more details you uncover, the more you can help solve the problem.

2. Actively Listen to the Employees

Find a safe space for your staff members to talk about the conflict. Uncover why they are upset and what they would like done. Clarify what needs to be discussed and how everyone must be treated with respect. Emphasize the importance of honesty and finding a shared solution. Get to the root of the issue to avoid repeating it later.

3. Reflect on What You Heard

Think about what you learned regarding the issue. If you have questions or need additional clarification, have follow-up conversations with your staff members. Encourage them to talk with you if they think of anything else.

4. Create Common Goals

Encourage your employees to work together to find solutions to the problem. Have everyone share their ideas to move beyond the issue and not have it resurface.

5. Resolve the Problem

Find out which solution your staff members feel is best. It should include enough common ground to satisfy everyone. Include each staff member’s responsibility in carrying out the resolution. Have your team implement the answer to begin moving forward.

6. Follow Up

Set a time to get together to determine the effectiveness of the solution. Talk about whether the problem has been fully resolved or there are remaining issues to discuss. Take steps to find permanent answers and preventative strategies for the future.

Looking for IT Talent?

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Manager Focus: How to Improve Your Management Skills

Whether you are a new or seasoned IT manager, there are always ways to improve your skills. The more effective you are in your role, the higher your job satisfaction. And, the more impact you have on your team, the greater your chances of being promoted.

Implement these 7 tips to improve your skills as an IT manager.

1. Get to Know Your Team

Learn all you can about your team members both personally and professionally. This includes their personal interests, strengths, skills, work styles, and motivations. Use this information to talk about common interests, assign tasks, and encourage productivity. This promotes engagement and trust, resulting in a positive work environment.

2. Align Roles with Business Goals

Point out how each team member’s contributions impact company goals. Create a sense of shared responsibility in the team by explaining how and why their work is making a difference. This improves engagement and productivity.

3. Share Key Performance Indicators

Let your team know exactly how success will be measured when taking on a new project or initiative. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to show what each team member should accomplish when the work should be done by, and what the results should look like. Use this information to determine whether your team is staying on track or needs to be guided back to reach the next milestone.

4. Adhere to Processes

Make sure your team members follow the processes in place to complete their tasks. Explain each step of the process and why it should be followed. Using the same method each time creates positive outcomes in an efficient and effective manner.

5. Increase Efficiencies

Involve your team in continuously finding ways to improve processes and workflows. Because things change over time, the way tasks are completed should evolve as well. Updating processes and workflows can increase their efficiency. This helps your team get more done in less time.

6. Encourage Innovation

Emphasize the importance of developing and enhancing your company’s products and services. For instance, regularly set aside time for your team to come up with ideas, discuss the most viable ones, and choose one to develop and implement. This increases engagement, job satisfaction, and retention.

7. Communicate with Your Superiors

Maintain regular contact with the leaders above you. This helps you better align with their goals. For instance, discuss whether their expectations for a project or initiative are feasible. If not, share your insight into what is possible given the current circumstances and the desired outcome. The leaders can either adjust their expectations or provide additional resources to reach their intended goals. Also, if unexpected events cause productivity to slow down, explain how the circumstances impacted the timeline and when the final result should be created.

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4 Tips for Difficult Employee Conversations

 

As an IT manager, there will be times when you need to address employees regarding performance issues, conflicts, or other difficult topics. Although this can be challenging, it needs to be done sooner rather than later. You need every employee functioning as a cohesive unit to keep the company moving forward.

Implement these four tips to effectively handle challenging employee discussions:

 

1. Include a Witness  

Ask a manager or HR professional to be present during your conversation. This is especially important when discussing policy violations, behavioral issues, or anything that involves disciplinary coaching. Brief your third party on the situation to make sure you understand each other’s roles and responsibilities before the talk.

2. Remain Positive

Maintain an open line of communication with a coaching style of dialogue. This helps the employee avoid becoming defensive and argumentative. Begin by asking simple questions such as “How’s everything going?” or “Can I have a few moments of your time to talk about some feedback about your behavior?” Clarify exactly what the issue is and specific examples of how the employee can improve. Include facts and data to support your statements. For instance, “I have some suggestions for what we can do. Can you share some ideas so we can reach this goal?” Provide the necessary tools, resources, and support to reach milestones for improvement and measure success. Finish the conversation on a positive note.

3. Tie the Issue to the Business

Point out how the issue creates a concern for the team or company. For instance, consistent absenteeism may mean that teammates have to add to their already full workload to ensure tasks get done on time. Or, a conflict with a coworker can make it more difficult for employees to collaborate on projects. This shows your main focus is on the company, not the employees’ personal lives. Work with the employee to create a plan to improve and a job-related consequence if they do not. Making the employee feel heard is empowering and encourages them to do better.

4. Maintain Confidentiality

When addressing a conflict between employees, keep the conversation limited to those involved. Make sure they understand that what they disclose may need to be shared with others. Meet individually with the employee you received feedback about and others who witnessed the incident to discuss their behavior. Use the information you gather to determine what happened. Work with the employees to find a fair resolution. Hold everyone accountable for keeping with the final agreement.

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How to Help Your IT Team to Remain Focused During Long Projects

Any team will look at a deadline that’s six, nine, or 12 months away and see it as a distant problem. These kinds of deadlines always feel like plenty of time to complete a project. 

Yet, those months can disappear quickly. And it’s your job to ensure that your team doesn’t find themselves two weeks away from a six-month deadline with six months of work left to do.

How do you keep your IT on task even on a long project? Use these tips to help stay on track and deliver better results.

Break It Down into Milestones or Sprints

Achieving a goal always sparks motivation. But what do you do if the overall goal is a year or even more away?

While the work completed today will contribute to the end goal, your team need to see results sooner to stay focused. That’s why “chunking” work into milestones (or sprints, if you want to dabble in Agile) wins the day.

When you set milestones, you mark the passing of time in a tangible way. Reaching those milestones equates to an accomplishment and thus boosts morale. Even better, smaller segments of work simplify planning, so you can get the project off the ground faster.

Reiterate the “Why” as You Work

Why are you completing this project? And why does this milestone fit into the end goal?

If you want to keep teams focused and motivated, then you need focus as much on the “why” question as on the task at hand. When team members know why they need to accomplish a task or even why the deadline is what it is, then they will be more likely to see the value, which will stop their attention from drifting to other work.

Give Frequent Feedback

Milestones also make it easier to provide regular feedback to all team members. Feedback offers emotional motivation by boosting our sense of self-esteem. When teams get good feedback regularly, they want to keep repeating the actions that earned those feelings.

Are you looking for the next valuable member of your project team — or even your team lead? Learn more about the RighStone 360 process and find out how we make IT project execution a success.

 


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