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CAD Leadership - Part 2

Building a great support team - Staff Relations

As Leaders, we must always keep an eye on the troops.  Making sure that they understand the objectives and goals of your company, department and technical vision.

Here are seven ways to help you set your support staff members up for success:

1. Make sure the staff member clearly understands what you expect.

Let them know what they are to be doing in a general sense.  They should know what your expectations are related to job duties, user interactions, management interface and technology refresh.  Keep the conversations going with them related to these areas.  Correct any misunderstandings that may come up.  Don't let things fester.

2. Provide the staff member with the tools and training they need.

Critical to getting the job done.  Each staff person needs to know all the tools available to apply to any given troubleshooting issue.  Keep the tools current.  Listen to them if they suggest another tool that may need to be purchased.

Keep them trained.  They are called on to know more than anyone else about the software they oversee.  Make sure they have time to read up on things, experiment and apply their learning.

3. Give the staff member time to succeed.

Make sure you don't jump in with the answer while they are still trying to figure it out.  Give them some space to work through the problem.  You should often observe they way the systematically troubleshoot and interact with people, but do not step in unless they are way out of bounds.

4. Tell the users how great the CAD Support staff members are. Brag on them.

Everyone needs to be supported.  Let the management and users know that the team you have assembled is the best.  That you are confident in their abilities.  Let the users know that the staff can do the best job for them.  It increases the level of confidence in your users that the support people can do the job and it encourages your staff also.

5. Tap into the staff member's talents, strengths and knowledge.

You are not the only one who can get the job done.  You are not the only one who knows the best tools.  You are not the only one who is informed on technology issues.  Make sure that you ask and listen to your team when they suggest changes and improvements.  Many times the people who report to you have some of the most creative ideas and solutions that are right under your nose.  I don't care where a good idea comes from, I just want good ideas.

6. Introduce the support team to the key leaders in your office.

Give direct contact for your support team to the business managers.  Keep promoting them as problem solvers and go to people.  Have them interact with all levels of the office is good because they then see the largest view of the business goals.  The goal of CAD Support should reinforce the main objective of the company, not your private kingdom of secret knowledge.  Share the wealth, have them rub elbows with everyone.

7. Encourage, encourage, encourage!

Nothing goes farther than a kind word of encouragement.  Think about how some kind word from someone have bolstered you in the past.  Try to give encouragement.  Quick, positive words dropped into conversations.  Go out of your way to compliment.  Write a quick hand written note.  Take them to lunch.  Give them positive feedback on their work.

If you take the time to keep focused on pouring yourself into your staff, then they will be there to support you, to rally at your vision of the future and to come to your defense.  Don't let them slave away with no input or direction.  They will soon tire out and possibly look for other employment opportunities.

Mark W. Kiker

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