Table of Contents
- Why Honesty Matters in Tech Team Management
- Nurturing Honesty in Tech Teams: Dos and Don'ts
6 in 10 specialists worldwide are not engaged in their work, which decreases the world’s economy by 9%, according to the report by Gallup. Such a quiet quitting brings procrastination and average or lower than average results. It is a significant stopper for a tech project development along with obvious quitting of skilled specialists.
Gallup also says that “positive feelings, such as happiness, are usually byproducts of engagement”. Engaged workers are more loyal to their company, ready to upskill, and more productive.
To prevent obvious or quiet quitting and retain experienced team members, companies should:
Set clear boundaries between working and non-working hours;
Be honest with their teams.
Most tech business owners will tell you that honesty is a necessity. The far more puzzling questions are about the outcomes of honesty and how to fuel them. So, we are to dissect the business nature of honesty and provide you with practical tips on honesty-first tech team management.
Why Honesty Matters in Tech Team Management
Here are the 7 reasons why honesty is important in all teams, and in tech teams particularly.
#1. Trust Building
In case team members, including managers as an integral part of a tech team, are honest with each other, they:
Strengthen the team's bond and create a more collaborative atmosphere;
Create a positive and supportive working environment.
The next 9 reasons describe what benefits you can get in such an environment.
#2. Open Communication
It refers to both planning and executing tasks. Impressively, 70% of people take work-related goals as a crucial part of their life goals. Altogether, they prefer to impact goal setting and move towards well-defined goals with feedback from management when reaching each milestone.
When tech team members take part in strategic planning, they have a better understanding of the whole picture.
If specialists feel comfortable expressing themselves, they don’t waste time and nerves for bias and are motivated to deliver results.
#3. Learning and Growth
In a tech team, members have different skill sets and areas of expertise. Honest feedback allows specialists to identify the need for upskilling and get a stimulus to learn new programming frameworks, for example.
#4. Easy Problem-Solving and Adaptability
In the tech industry, teams often work on complex solutions that require innovations, sharing insights, concerns, and ideas openly. Honest communication about challenges and changes helps a team adapt to new technologies, methodologies, or market demands. It is a way to prepare the best working solution as early as possible.
Let’s say you are to launch an NLP-based chatbot to serve your customers. While you’re discussing that idea with your team, you can see if it’s enough to upskill your developers or if it’s better to engage new team members.
Honest reporting of project statuses and potential risks of missing the deadline is essential for project managers, stakeholders, and other team members to make informed decisions and adjustments to project plans.
#5. Ethical Considerations
Tech teams typically handle sensitive information and work on projects that impact users and society. Ongoing open dialogue helps you ensure that teams make responsible and morally sound decisions in their work.
#6. Reducing Conflicts
When team members are upfront about their expectations, concerns, and work progress, your team is almost immune to miscommunication and interpersonal conflicts.
#7. Quality of Work
Honesty about one's abilities and the status of their work is crucial for maintaining high-quality standards. If team members are honest about their limitations or challenges, the team can address and overcome issues more effectively.
In summary, honesty contributes to the overall success of tech projects not less than skill sets and years of experience.
Nurturing Honesty in Tech Teams: Dos and Don'ts
There are no stats on how many projects were not successful due to the exaggerated or downplayed estimates, treating specialists purely as performers, and other situations caused by a lack of honesty in tech teams. Dishonesty often remains behind the scenes, yet building honesty requires prioritizing and implementing strategic tools.
Zero trust tools can help you build trust. They:
Serve the benefit of both an IT company and people who work in this company;
Simplify work relations and free up more time for the actual work rather than for finger-pointing and establishing the truth.
The main thing is to implement such zero-trust frameworks with respect to the team.
✅ Utilize Email to send all the updates on company policies, significant changes in specialists’ tasks, and other important messages. If you create a special thread for that, it will be easy to track your conversations.
✅ Document the main responsibilities in contracts with specialists. It’s also possible to make an internal document with a detailed list of duties and update this list by mutual agreement between the hiring party and hires.
❌ Video recording of the calls without a warning is not a good idea.
✅ All the specialists engaged in the video call should know that you are going to make a recording.
✅ After the online meetings, it’s a nice practice to wrap up all the agreements by emailing them to all the participants. Thus, everybody can come back to the meeting data with no effort. It helps when one needs that data for their tasks and also when some misunderstandings arise in terms of deadlines, responsibilities, priorities, and task ownership.
Be Careful With Time Trackers
This tip also applies to the proofs, but we will consider trackers separately because it is impossible to say for sure whether one should use them or not. For instance, some clients, for whom we assemble tech teams, integrate this tool into their daily operations. You can explore the potential pros and cons of time trackers below and outline what aspects matter for your project.
Insights into how specialists spend their time on various tasks can be valuable for project management and planning, as well as for identifying areas for improvement.
For companies that bill clients based on time worked, time tracking ensures accurate billing and provides transparency to clients regarding the time spent on their projects.
When team members know their work hours are being monitored, it may lead to improved focus and a sense of responsibility.
A team may feel that their every move is being scrutinized, potentially impacting morale and job satisfaction.
Time tracking can raise privacy concerns, especially if it involves monitoring team members' activities outside of regular working hours.
Time-tracking tools rely on manual input. Team members may forget to log their time accurately, leading to inaccuracies in the data collected.
Some specialists may resist the use of time trackers, viewing them as a lack of trust from management.
In industries and for team roles that require creativity and innovation, constant time tracking might hinder the creative process.
The time spent on tracking the work hours can become counterproductive if the process is too cumbersome or time-consuming.
Provide Regular and “Ecological” Feedback
❌ Recognizing one’s drawbacks publicly is a transparency overkill.
✅ One to one catch-ups and conversations will be a perfect strategy to uncover all the pain points and suggest appropriate solutions.
❌ Avoid unexpected audits with unexpected requirements.
If a company does not have established communication, specialists can be left to themselves for a long time and then get scolded by their managers and even receive dismissal notices. However, leaders could avoid that by gradually highlighting what team members are doing wrong.
✅ Cultivate simple reporting as team members’ habit to structure their tasks’ progress for instance, at the end of each week. Let people know what results you are expecting to see in those reports, and ask specialists what goals they are setting by themselves.
❌ Don’t be brutally honest. When you are going to show your dissatisfaction with the work of people, think of those people’s feelings.
❌ Euphemistic labelling is also not the best way to deliver bad news. This is when you avoid naming what is happening, like calling a lay-off “an organizational change”. Such a strategy annoys people, as it smells like discounting their difficulties.
✅ Try to be radically honest with your team by sticking to the observations, not judgements, and picking supportive, clear, and ethical words. Communication SOPs (standard operating procedures) typically help much with streamlining corporate communication standards.
✅ Think of tech outstaffing, if you want to engage IT specialists under flexible conditions. An outstaffing model suggests a wide range of contract lengths, and hired team members take into account that an agreement will not be necessarily renewed.
❌ Don’t take into account only feedback from managers.
✅ Not all team members feel comfortable sharing honest feedback, especially with their superiors. To allow team members to express concerns without fear of reprisal, create a culture where feedback is seen as a tool for improvement rather than as a form of criticism.
Consider Signing Clear NDAs
❌ Vague NDAs may harm open dialogues even in the areas which are not a subject of that document.
✅ Your NDA for software development should be easy to read. Clearly outline what data you want your team members to keep a secret and what happens in case of breaking this rule.
If you delegate tech hiring to a third party,
✅ discuss with your external People Partner not only what beliefs about honesty they have, but also what tools they use to empower their vision.
We at Outstaff Your Team practice all the Dos above to treat honesty as one of the highest business values. Feel like you need to upgrade your honesty-first team management? Drop us a line, and we will be happy to transparently discuss all the trickiest aspects of this mission
Also, we will surely maintain the structured approach to honesty within your tech teams if you consider our IT staff augmentation services and decide to hire with us. Together, we can easily make your HR brand reputation impeccable and your tech teams loyal.
What should I do if a team member makes a mistake but hesitates to admit it?
Ideally, a leader should set an example by encouraging open communication, acknowledging mistakes, and asking team members to express their opinions. To create an environment where team members feel comfortable admitting mistakes:
Establish regular feedback sessions, both one-on-one and within the team;
Emphasize that learning from mistakes is a natural part of the development process;
Focus on the lessons learned from mistakes.
How do I balance transparency with confidentiality in tech team communication?
While complete transparency might not always be feasible, it’s better to communicate what information can be shared openly and what should remain confidential. When possible, provide context for confidentiality to help team members understand the reasons behind certain restrictions.
How can I address concerns about team members being too honest and potentially causing conflicts?
While honesty is valued, team leaders should implement guidelines for communication. In those guidelines, the rule #1 should be expressing an opinion respectfully and providing constructive feedback. You can also prevent a lot of conflicts by professionally assessing the soft skills of candidates for your team roles.
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