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Acquire a wide range of business skills

By MaryWeilage Editor ·
This week's Application Developer Management e-newsletter explores the importance acquiring a wide range of business knowledge competencies.

Does your organization emphasize the importance of business skills in your role? What particular business knowledge does your job require you to have? How are you trying to gain more business competencies?

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Buzzword Red Flags

Business strategy support
Technology alignment
Systems solicitation and procurement
Business innovation
Sourcing and managing consulting
Quality management

Whenever I work for AppDev managers who use these kinds of terms - I get nervous. It's like when a politician says "I'm for progress". They are such *broad* terms, that they have no real meaning.

They're great *marketing* terms - because of that very fact - they are broad. But if you're managing developers, and trying to get them to narrow their focus to the task at hand, they do more to confuse the situation than to clarify it.

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Don't forget your leadership skills

by nuke57 In reply to Buzzword Red Flags

Too many buzz words turn off your people. People need a few simple things like being asked for their input, for their complaints, suggestions and questions on a rugular basis and receiving well thought out, reasonable responses in a timely fashion.

You ask, so what does this have to do with leaderhip?? Here is the anwer.

Managing people is all about leadership simply because leadership is the only way to manage people. Any other way fails to bring out their full brainpower, in other words their creativity, productivity, motivation and commitment. If you fail to appreciate this fact or fail to develop a superior leadership strategy, your employees might just decide to "leave their brain at the door" as they enter your workplace.

A superior leadership strategy inspires people to do more, dream more and learn more. We all know that people are our most important asset and that the best ones are self-motivated self-starters. Unfortunately, only 5% or so are naturally that way. A superior leadership strategy is capable of making the vast majority of employees self-motivated self-starters who are highly committed and highly productive, up to 300% more so than if poorly motivated. So what is this strategy?

Values are the centerpiece of this strategy because employees respect actions which reflect high standards of all the good values, values like industry, fairness, forthrightness, compassion, honesty, etc, while they disrespect actions reflecting low or negative standards. Actions (thru the boss' support functions such as training, discipline, tools, direction, information, technical advice, etc) reflecting high standards strongly influence employees toward emulating those standards, but the same emulation occurs for actions reflecting low standards. This is called following. Fortunately, self-motivated self-starters don't follow and thus their performance does not go up and down because of following the latest leadership. For this reason, the strategy is designed to create these ?non-followers?.

Listening is the most important leadership skill of this strategy because people cannot be motivated or committed to something if they can't "put in their own two cents", when they want and how they want, or if they can't understand and be in on the decision process for things which affect them. Of such things is TRUST built.

So what should bosses do?? It starts with providing employees regular opportunities, one-on-one and in groups, to express their complaints, suggestions and questions. These must be answered fully and in a timely fashion, no hipshooting please. All of the boss' actions in so doing, including any fix, must meet the highest standards of common values like honesty, respect, fairness, forthrightness, industriousness, admission of error, knowledge, quality, and the like. As the boss corrects the complaints (people generally only complain about things which reflect standards lower than their own), the boss' leadership improves and as followers use these higher standards work performance improves. Turning low standards into high standards constitutes superior leadership.

These actions will have many effects on employees. As their complaints are respectfully addressed, they will begin to believe that their bosses care about them. They will start to believe that they are valued team members. They will learn how to fix things using the highest standards for all values. They will learn how best to treat their customers, each other and their work. They will start to use their own brain to solve workplace problems, to innovate and to work more effectively. Productivity will rise and keep rising. Creativity, motivation and commitment will do likewise, but only so long as their complaints, suggestions and questions continue to be addressed regularly, respectfully and completely. Why even make a complaint or a suggestion if no action will be taken? Why not just "leave your brain at the door"?

There is more to a superior leadership strategy (including how specifically to create self-motivated self-starters) because there are many other ways in which employees react to leadership messages in the workplace. Each of these ways must be taken into consideration in effecting a superior leadership strategy. You can discover all of this on your own if you take the time to analyze how you react to bosses and carefully listen to your employees. Once you understand these reactions, designing the leadership strategy is straightforward.

Best regards,

Ben Simonton

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