I’ve been leading teams in the IT, Engineering & Healthcare sectors for a quarter-century now, and while technology evolves at the speed of light, the one thing that hasn’t changed is that the “war for talent” is and always will be a constant!
Every IT & Engineering leader is challenged to balance the hyper-growth expectations from their C-Suite while successfully managing their day-to-day projects. Between the COVID pandemic, a retiring baby boomer workforce, and other challenges…times are tougher than ever, and projects completed on time and within budget aren’t something a leader can do alone.
As a result, building and maintaining great relationships, and more importantly, trust with your employees and consultants becomes critically important for YOU to be successful. My undergrad degree is in mathematics, and when training leaders…I’ve always referenced an “algorithm for building trust”.
- Mutual Risk Taking
- Relationships can start to be formed simply by taking an extra minute to chat with people on your team on topics NOT related to work. It’s also nice when you can spend some unstructured time with people outside of work while having some fun.
- Competency is when the other person sees you as competent in your role. They see that you work hard, care, get things done, and ultimately are “well placed” in the role that you have in the workplace.
- Intimacy is when two people can “be real” with each other and are completely honest. There’s no fear during intimate conversations.
- Mutual Risk-taking occurs when people feel safe. Safe to fail. Safe to speak. Just safe. Another way to say it is that the leader has built a level of psychological safety with his or her team & people.
Once we take the time to execute against the algorithm for building trust, we can truly get to the root cause of problems and begin to solve them. Trust is CRITICAL in mitigating turnover, setbacks on projects, and staying ahead of the change curve.
Through the years, I’ve been responsible for designing, creating, and implementing several leadership programs, both for internal employees and leadership consulting firms. If you’ve been experiencing turnover, projects not being completed on time (or over budget), or you’re simply feeling overwhelmed, a few things to try could include:
- Take an Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Assessment
- Attend a training session on EQ
- Or even simply follow the advice from a great book on EQ
One EQ book I strongly recommend is, “What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith as he states that his book helps “successful people, become even more successful.” Once you read the first 2 chapters of Goldsmith’s book, he introduces a concept of what he calls ‘the 20 bad habits”, and at one point in my career, I had 7 of them…yikes! This was a wake-up call and required me to look in the mirror at the behaviors that I could improve upon. EQ starts with self-awareness, and believe it or not, only 33% of human beings are truly self-aware according to Goldsmith.
With that said, when I thought upon past challenging times at work, turnover issues, or missing deadlines…I began to realize that these outcomes weren’t because of other people, it was because of um…ME. Which meant it was time to self-reflect and take accountability for whatever behaviors I was exhibiting and correct them. The good news is EQ is something that we can improve upon, unlike IQ which is something we are born with and cannot be changed.
Vice President of Sales