Building a Great Team

Building a Great Team

Ken Mark, CIO, Inktel Contact Center Solutions

Unless you work at Amazon, Facebook or Google, chances are you are challenged like me with building a great technical team, while keeping costs down and morale high and while also keeping attrition to a minimum.  Compensation is a key factor in anyone’s decision to take a position with your company but what else can you offer them that will help ensure they stay?

Are you a great leader that truly cares about your employees or somewhat of a jerk that just tells people what to do (and probably not in the nicest way either)?   Do you really know who each member of your team is?  When was the last time you hung out with your team?  Shared a meal? Stayed up all night helping them work through a challenging IT issue?  Would they run through the proverbial brick wall for you?  Or do they clock out right on time like Fred Flintstone?

I have always been a hands-on, technical leader working on systems and networks alongside my team members, mentoring them and showing them the way. Here are some of the principles I use that have helped my teams be more successful:

  • Make it a point to break bread with your team.  This sounds easy but it’s not, given how busy you probably are.  If you do indeed have a challenging schedule, why not schedule a day in the week like a Friday to have some bonding time with your team?
  • Know what’s going on in your team’s lives.   This shows you care and will also allow you to potentially get in front of any issues that may be impacting their performance. By knowing what’s going on with them, you can be additional support for them when needed.
  • Be vulnerable with your team and don’t be afraid to share your own struggles and challenges as well. Relationships are a give and a take.  Share your stories about your prior mistakes and how you learned from them.  There’s nothing to be embarrassed about; we all make mistakes.   You’ll be helping to build the bond between you and your team.
  • Try be a part of your team’s lives in some form of mentorship, whether technical, development, etc.
  • Focus on relationships, not reporting structures.   People will work harder and better for someone they care about and who cares about them. Just because someone reports to you doesn’t mean they want to work hard for you. That has to be earned.
  • Celebrate the little (and big) things such as birthdays, special dates, accomplishments, holidays, etc.
  • Be timely with your feedback, both positive and negative.  That way, when your team is receiving their formal performance reviews, nothing is a surprise.

Remember, you are with your team potentially more than you are with your own family so make the time count.  As a leader, you are not just managing people’s times and projects; that’s what project managers do.   You are building relationships and mentoring your team.


About Ken Mark:

Ken Mark is the CIO of Inktel Contact Center Solutions with over 25 years of IT management experience.  He was recently a finalist for CIO of the Year from the South Florida Business Journal.  Some of his experience comes from his stints helping start an ISP, working for many .com startups, marketing companies and contact centers.