"No company can flourish in an environment that penalizes experimentation or trust."
I recently read "3 signs of a dysfunctional company" on Microsoft Business for Small and Midsize Companies. Although the article is aimed at CEO types, I think the lessons within are just as useful for IT managers
I. "The discrepancy between what leaders say they want and what they really want often causes company dysfunction. You can't ask employees to do anything you're not willing to do yourself."
How true is this? There are really two parts to this lesson. The first is exactly what it says: you can't expect your team members to do anything you won't. This is less about getting down and dirty with their work, and more about following procedures, etc. For example, one of our tasks in engineering is documentation. Who's the worst about this? Me, of course.
This lesson is also about communication. Missed communication between leaders and team members results in mistakes. We often assume that our team understands what we mean. Usually, they don't.
II. "…put your trust in the people you hire and give every employee sincere responsibility. Hands-on, my-way-or-the-highway [managers] won't find this easy. But that's how the business gets better."
This lesson really speaks to me. I've historically been the guy that stays up all night working on a problem rather than mentoring someone else. One of our goals as managers should be to nurture our team members and help them grow as professionals. By showing them distrust, and keeping them from growing, we hinder them and our company.
III. "Company leaders must set the mission and the agenda. A hands-off policy can only go so far."
I think we can all think of situations where we've taken a hands off approach to something and seen it fall apart. Our teams need direction. If we don't set milestones and deadlines, we can't really hope for them to meet our expectations.