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leading (not managing) i.t department

By mina.moussa ·
Hi Guys,

firstly this site has helped point me in the right direction several times. However I think it might help if i ask my question to get more direct responses rather then only reading relating information.

I am currently the team leader in a small i.t company, for one of it's departments.

The department consists of 4 staff:

* 1 junior but well educated young man
* 1 junior and not a very quick learner
* 1 junior and new young man
* myself (team leader)

We are responsible for:

* monitoring networks to making sure they remain up
* responding to customer support tickets
* implementing technical tasks handed out from projects department
* carry out research and technical tasks given to us by management.
* software development (very rarely)

I like to see myself as a team leader more then a manger as i work with guiding people to improved outcome. The issues faced that i need help with are (in order of impact):

1) large amount of tasks allocated to us (probably 50-60 outstanding)
2) prioritizing existing customer requests based on the SLA
3) leading the team to improvement
4) training the new commer in time (his casual).
5) understanding why the slow learner isn't catching up as quick
6) handling my own tasks, as I have the most technical experience.

Obviously, there probably isnt a clear cut answer because you'd need to be in the company to know the best advise to give, however, based on these types of goals/obsticles, what would be your best advise.

thanx in advance.

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Good Start

by dallas_dc In reply to leading (not managing) i. ...

By starting in the manner you outlined above, you have made a good start. A lot of people (most?) would not take time to sit down and think about what the issues are, but would start firing their shotgun at the first thing that moves.
The first thing you need to realize is that you cannot do it all, and as a good leader, you should try and delegate everything possible. This allows you to focus on leading and guiding the team, and may provide you with time to handle those things that are impossible to delegate.

I would meet first with each team member, to get their feedback on your bullets, focusing on how they would set priorities and what tasks they are capable of handling. Find out what their limits are in terms of workload. Can one of the staff mentor the newbie for a few weeks or a month to get him up to speed? (so that YOU do not have to do the hand holding)
Is the slow learner slow or unmotivated? If the later, work on that, giving him specific goals. If that person does not improve through motivation or training, you may need to look at making a personnel change.

Get input from your people, then give them clear directions and goals, and get out of the way. Bear in mind that your leadership approach must adapt to the development level of the employee. (Development Level = Beginner, Learner, Competent, Expert)
For this group, you should meet regularly, and don't forget to listen.

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thank you

by mina.moussa In reply to Good Start

thanks for that reply, ill take that into consideration, i think throwing the whole team in the same development level has been a big mistake since day one, so i'll be trying a adjusting to their level. Basically, seperating the tech team into two sections:

1) focused on existing basic helpdesk support (pc support), solutions that can be implemented via GUIs following existing guides implemented by myself or level 2 support.

2) level 2 support will be all advanced request such as linux support, non documenteed support etc.

my challenge now is to forsee issues that can arrise from new approaches.

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