Peer to Peer Magazine

Spring 2015

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 22 of 75

PEER TO PEER: THE QUARTERLY MAGA ZINE OF ILTA 24 Besides technical acumen, what do you look for to determine someone is ready to advance to the next level? Bob Schukai: Passion for technology is important, and so is communication. You can be a brilliant technologist/architect, but if you cannot explain value to the business or law firm in understandable language, you cannot yet step into a key management role. Dan Bennett: Strong managers truly delegate to staff, which means they trust staff to execute and provide updates. I assign high-potential staff substantial projects and see how they delegate and work with the team. What behaviors do you actively demonstrate to staff that you want them to incorporate into their management styles? Bob: Recently my team worked on a project that was ready for testing, and I took time outside regular work hours to prepare the test environment. I am also still proficient in coding, even though I don't apply it every day. It is important to keep your hands in the technology; show your staff you value that at every level of management. Dan: I agree with Bob. In addition, I want my staff to feel secure that I have their backs — that I have confidence in them and my delegation process. What are the most difficult management skills to develop in a brilliant technologist? Bob: Managers must be able to explain what they are doing in a consumer- friendly way. For staff that have difficulty with this, I have asked them to draw the process/solution on a white board and then explain it. Then we work on the art of tech translation. In one case, we needed an outside consultant to help a particular individual with their communication skills. It is important to take a chance on someone, and also to realize that sometimes it will not work. What is the key to keeping your staff engaged so you can keep them around long enough to develop them into managers? Dan: I try to find coachable moments when there are opportunities for growth. Also, good work needs to be recognized. Do not take credit for the work your staff does; a manager's job is to shine a light on it. One other thing that is important to help engage those in technology is to budget for requests, such as a faster computer or a bigger screen. Giving someone the best tools can be a huge productivity and morale booster, so it is a smart investment. Many CIOs and CTOs wonder how to determine who possesses the skills for management and how to develop talent for the next level. And many staff members wonder how they can advance into management. Here are tips from a recent Q-and-A with leadership at Thomson Reuters: advice for growing managers by Dan Bennett and Bob Schukai of Thomson Reuters

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