Leadership

How to Make Tech Staff Feel Part of the Team

Have you tried turning it off and on again? Four things you can do to improve your relationship with the IT department

Written by Joey deVilla

Photo: Adrian Armstrong. Prop styling: Christine Brant/Plutino Group

Joey deVilla is a platform evangelist at GSG Telco, and former platform evangelist at Shopify. Antagonistic relationships between IT and other departments are all too common, with barriers of understanding and priorities leaving everyone frustrated. DeVilla explains how to keep your tech team from phoning it in.

Joey deVilla

1. Tell your tech team what you do

“Give them a high-level view of what your organization actually does. The tech department is in charge of keeping the systems up and running, but what sometimes gets forgotten is why the system is there and what it’s being used for. If you tell them the line of business you’re in and what you’re trying to do, oftentimes the techies will come back and say, “Ah, that’s what you’re doing? Well, here’s a better way of reaching your goal using technology.'”

2. Give challenges, not orders

“I feel no shame in telling you this idea comes from Star Trek. There’s one point where Scotty says, “Starship captains are like children: They want everything right now and they want it their way.” We are people who derive joy from tackling a challenge by building a system. It’s best to say, €˜I have a problem, and I don’t know how to solve it.'”

3. Take time to acknowledge your IT team

“The gap between the C-suite and IT isn’t just philosophical; it’s physical as well. The IT department often works in the back of the house—or sometimes in a different building or city altogether. It doesn’t take much to show them you appreciate what they do.”

4. Don’t sweat what you don’t know

“Pop quiz: Do you know the four strokes of a combustion engine? If not, does that affect your ability to drive a car in any way? No. If you follow the first three steps, starting with explaining what problem they’re trying to solve, your IT teams will save you from ever needing to know how the machines work.”

This article is from the How To package from the August 2015 issue of Canadian BusinessSubscribe now!

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How do you ensure your tech staff feel part of the team? Share your strategies and tactics using the comments section below.

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com