Diversity of Staff Diversity Challenges IT Leaders
They say that the world is a smaller place – I think they might be right. IT leaders are starting to realize that finding ways to manage their team staff so that they quickly change from being political to being now into business needs. Does anyone have advice on the best way to do this?
Most IT departments are no longer single-site operations. In fact, with the growth of outsourcing a single IT department can now have offices in several countries: China, India, Russia, etc. This type of distributed operation is a great way to ensure that more work is done at a lower price; however, this also poses significant staff challenges for IT Leaders.
It’s too easy to think that we can take a number of high-performance IT leaders from the U.S., put them in one of our remote offices and make them effective leaders. The reality is that too often, this does not work. If you have not prepared someone on your team to enter and run/interface with the remote office, then they will not be able to do it.
In the U.S., IT managers are encouraged to use honest conversation and direct confrontation to deal with team issues. However, especially when dealing with the team at Asis, this can be considered rude and offensive.
What Do IT Leaders Do?
The trick to solving IT staff challenges for remote offices or just dealing with remote offices is to create what experts call “talent plans”. Doing this will allow you to provide a unique level of value to your remote IT office.
The first part of the talent plan is to identify what position on your team you need to fill in and what type of cultural skills the position requires. It is important to note that it is not always necessary to employ certain nationalities in order to smoothly handle remote offices that have other members of that nationality. Finding someone who is sensitive to that nationality and who has dealt with them before can meet this need.
Filling up positions to manage the remote office should not be a sudden effort. The IT leadership realized that each position eventually needed to be filled because people in the place would now be promoted, released or moved. An important part of the talent plan is to identify the potential replacement from the outset. This allows IT Leaders to take the time to ensure that the potential gets the opportunity to be trained in the skills and values of the company that they will need if they fill the position.
Staff mistakes can be very expensive and choosing the wrong person to lead a remote IT office or to interact with an office like that can be disastrous. IT leaders realize that if they wait until the last minute when a sudden position has to be filled, it is too late to do it right.
Instead, if they take the time to make a talent plan, then investing their time in advance and their efforts to care for the right replacement will ensure that the right staffing decision is made. Learning to add diversity management to your IT team will mean that you will find ways to turn yourself from an IT manager into a true leader.