Well-Intentioned Things IT Leaders Do That Hurt Team Productivity

Good intentions aren't enough to build a successful IT team. Here's how to keep seemingly ordinary practices from backfiring.


July 1, 2024

2 Min Read
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All IT leaders seek to build happy and productive teams. Unfortunately, in their quest to achieve these goals, they sometimes do things — or fail to do things — that will help them meet their intended objective. 

Here's a look at five everyday ways IT leaders can inadvertently sabotage team productivity. 

1. Falling into technical debt 

IT leaders are often tempted into adopting the most exciting new tools and software. "But that's like running before you can walk," warns Bill Briggs, CTO at business advisory firm Deloitte, in an email interview. There's another issue that must be addressed first. 

Before leaders can begin playing with new toys, technical debt — the cost of additional work that was created by choosing the fastest solution rather than the most effective solution — must be resolved. "This means understanding what's perpetuating technical debt — and these can often be a literal and virtual smorgasbord of outdated infrastructure and coding methods, Briggs advises. 

According to Deloitte's 2024 Tech Trends research, 70% of technology leaders acknowledge that accumulating technical debt is the No. 1 cause of productivity loss and hindrance to innovation among their teams. 

2. Presenting a defined solution instead of a problem that has to be solved 

Most IT team members enjoy the challenge of problem solving as well as the thrill of success. "Giving the team tasks to perform rather than a goal to achieve limits each member's ability to apply and learn new skills and roles," says Ola Chowning, a partner at technology research and advisory firm ISG, via email. "More importantly, it signals a lack of trust in the team's ability to be successful."  

Even something as simple as defining role boundaries too strictly can signal a warning to team members to stay within their lane, limiting their approach to self-learning and self-organizing. "The result can be team members who are bored and feel no accountability or influence, and a team that lacks a cohesive and collective incentive to work well and productively together," Chowning says. 

Read the rest of this article on InformationWeek.

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