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Motivating IT professionals

Andrew Clark

Working on a complex IT project means focusing on deadlines, satisfaction among stakeholders and getting the app or software right. But all these rely on individuals – and in order to get the best out of a team of IT professionals, it’s important to consider ways of motivating them.


Probably the most important aspect of motivation is communication. Interact with your team at every opportunity – talk through the project’s current issues and listen to concerns raised. Share the vision of the project and when you discuss the standards required, try to set an example by demonstrating your own diligence and professionalism. Empower each team member by showing confidence in their strengths and offering polite, realistic guidance if it’s needed. Set smaller goals on the journey to bigger targets so that each challenge successfully met is recognised as an achievement.


Having said that, though, don’t micromanage. Foster autonomy and creativity by letting your team know you trust them to solve problems and that they can find their own ways to do this. Be supportive of new ideas and design job roles that promote autonomy and creative thinking.


Another strong motivator is development. By offering training that not only advances existing knowledge but also provides skills in new areas, you ensure that your team stay cutting-edge as well as broaden their skillset.


Interesting, challenging work is always more likely to motivate your team than repetitive, dreary tasks. This links with the concept of goal-setting; allow your team to take ownership of their roles by working towards challenges autonomously and trying to vary tasks among team members.


Team members should be able to give you feedback, just as you would assess them. However, because the tech world moves on so rapidly, annual reviews are almost obsolete. Establish a regular review structure with 360 feedback that also gives team members a voice.


All these thoughts centre around life in the office so it’s worth looking outside the workspace too. The work-life balance is increasingly vital to mental wellbeing; if team members find flexible hours or the ability to work from home more suited to their location or lifestyle, explore these options.


And finally, is “motivation” really the answer? Perhaps the creation of a happy and successful team lies in the structure of the workplace environment itself. Ask yourself whether the team knows what it’s supposed to be doing. Are these performance requirements clearly demonstrated and defined? More crucially, are they attainable and does your team have the right tools and resources to succeed? Also, consider how you reward success.


Read our related blog: How technology can improve teamwork

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