How to build trust as a new IT executive

Rich Hein

Getting Peers to Level With You
If you are going to make a difference in your team or organisation, you first have to wrap your arms around the problems at hand. To get to the heart of the problem you have to get the people who are actually responsible for performing whatever process or evolution you are trying to improve and get them to clue you in on what the real issues at play are.

"If you want to get employees to level with you with what's going on in the organisation, then you need to open up about your organization. The more open and honest you are, the more people will trust you with information," says Dan Schawbel author of the book, author of Promote Yourself.

Know Your Team
Your immediate team is comprised of the people who will either lift you up or cast you off. You've got to share your vision with them of where you want your IT department to be and lay out your plan on how you are all going to get there.

You've got to get to know them to help understand what's important to them and what their motivations are. They have to feel like you value them, more than just the work they do but who they are, what they like and so on.

Engagement, according to Rucker, is most sincere and long-lasting when it centers not only on company issues, but on areas of interest outside the company as well.

"For instance, "says Rucker, "when you inquire and care about the soccer tournament that your colleague's son is playing in, it tells him that you value his interests, and knowing that can cause him to be more participative in the future. People want to feel like they matter, and that you appreciate them being on the team. When you feel like your leader cares about what matters to you, it makes you feel better about your leader, and feeling better about your leader makes you more engaged."

Dealing With Prior Relationships
A common pitfall that many new executives encounter relates to prior relationships with coworkers. Making the move to a leadership role can shake the steadiest relationship if it's not done with tact and forethought. This is often one of the most difficult challenges associated with making the transition to a leadership position.

"Friendships with previous coworkers are often threatened when someone fails to recognize the obligation of the leader to make decisions that are in the best interest of the organization regardless of the potential impact on individual workers, whether or not a friendship exists," says Wishon.

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