October 01, 2012, 7:39 AM — If you're looking to improve your IT team's performance and productivity, corporate trainer Brian Souza shares three tips for how to get the most out of your employees.
Always act like a coach, not a manager. World-class leaders, like coaches, understand that the only way to systematically improve individual performance is by giving constructive coaching and developmental feedback. Quarterly performance reviews alone are not nearly enough to move the needle. Relying on someone else to come in once a year and train your team won't get the job done. Coaching and developing your people is not an event. It's an ongoing process that should be inextricably tied to everything you do.
Sometimes you need to reassess your own priorities. It's easy to get caught up in the side of the job of handling processes (planning, scheduling, budgeting, controlling, resource allocation and so on) because most managers are already pretty good at that. The people side of management is harder because few of us have been taught the right approach. The reason great coaches consistently get the most out of their people is that they consistently put the most into their people. The only way to reach your potential as a leader is to help the people on your team reach theirs.
Never forget that leadership development starts with personal development. In short, it all starts with you. To get your team to become coachable, you must first become coachable. To get your team to open up, you must first open up. To get your team to embrace developmental feedback, you must first embrace developmental feedback. As a coach, you set the standard for your team to follow. And your personal example is the most powerful leadership tool you have.
Brian Souza is the founder of ProductivityDrivers, a corporate training company specializing in improving employee performance.
Read more about staff management in CIO's Staff management Drilldown.