Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: General

All general Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technoloy contractors.

5 Ways to Lead an IT Team When You Have No Authority

5 Ways to Lead an IT Team When You Have No AuthorityHave you ever started a contract tasked with overseeing a project and leading some of the client’s employees, only to have no authority whatsoever over those people? It’s a common scenario for IT contractors, especially Project Managers. You’re accountable for a project and are required to motivate individuals to complete tasks on time and to specific standards, but have no official pull over them.

Leading without authority is no simple task, but there are strategies to master it. Here are five tips to consider next time you’re stuck managing a team in the capacity of an independent contractor:

1. Accept That You’re Not the Boss

You must come to terms with the fact that, no matter how much it feels like it, you are not the boss. You have no official authority and cannot dole out consequences, so don’t act like a tough manager. Instead, you’re a leader. Provide logical reasons for why tasks need to be done a certain way and explain the natural consequences of what will happen if they’re not (ex. the project will fall behind). The team does not need a micromanager dictating how to do every little thing, but rather an expert who understands the situation and can clearly communicate the objectives and outcomes.

2. Communicate Regularly

Speaking of communication, that is the next key to leading with no authority. Communication is a two-way system and it needs to happen regularly and positively. While you may lead the conversation, ensure that you are not completely driving it and others have a chance to speak. This is how you can ensure the team is all on the same page and following the same goals. You can work together to set expectations and make agreements on when/how work will be completed. When these are created as a team, they are more likely to be adhered to.

3. Lead by Example

Actions speak louder than words and if you want people to follow and listen to you, you need them to trust you. It’s important to take action and show that you’re as committed to the project as they are and working just as hard. On top of that, offer to help your team when they’re backed up or going through a crisis.

4. Be Humble

Your extensive credentials and massive amount of experience compared to other members on the team is irrelevant… at least to them. While it is alright (and necessary) to demonstrate your qualifications, there is no reason to regularly remind people. It’s important to publicly thank people, give credit where credit is due and, most importantly, recognize when people are smarter than you.

5. Get Ahead of the Negative People

Regardless of how much you follow tips 1-4, you are going to end up here at #5, dealing with the negative person who resents you and refuses to respect your position and your efforts. The good news is, if the person is openly resisting you, it’s often a sign that they care about the project. Embrace this individual’s passion but don’t let them waste your time. If somebody has no desire to work with you, do the minimum you need to with them, and work closer with those who are willing to work as a team. When you meet with your client, you can discuss the performance of the employee and develop a way to better engage them.

Leading is not an easy task in any role, and when you have no authority, it is a completely different challenge. As an independent contractor, you must remember that employees have invested themselves into the organization and the project.  They are passionate and want to know it is going to work. When you display that you want to work with them, towards the same common goal, leading starts to get much easier.

IT Industry News for December 2018

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on January 17, 2019

Tech News Header

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for October 2018.

What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Decembers …

Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseFive years ago, December 2013 Oracle paid $1.5 billion for marketing software company Responsys; Akamai paid $370 million for cloud-based security solutions provider Prolexic; JDS Uniphase paid $200 million for enterprise performance management company Network Instruments; IBM bought a “big data” file compression company Aspera and Hitachi expended its solutions capability with the purchase of Calgary based Ideaca. December 2014 was not such a slow news month, with the political and technical ramifications of “the Sony hack” causing uproar, some very positive economic indicators out of the US and some big names making acquisitions, albeit not huge deals.  Microsoft made two acquisitions, the $200 million purchase of mobile email app startup Acompli and mobile development company HockeyApp (which has nothing to do with hockey).  SAP bought travel and expense management company Concur; Intel bought a Montreal based identity management company PasswordBox; Oracle bought digital marketing company Datalogix; Teradata bought data archiving company Rainstor; and MongoDB bought high-scale storage engine company WiredTiger. Three years ago, December 2015 was not a busy M&A month but there was some interesting activity.  The big deal saw Canadian telco Shaw make a big play into the cellular space with its proposed acquisition (subsequently approved) of Wind for $1.6 billion.  Meanwhile Rogers was also out shopping and growing its Maritimes presence through the acquisition of Internetworking Atlantic Inc.  Other deals in December were not large but did feature some of the big players.  Oracle bought Stackhouse a cloud company with a specialization in “containers”; IBM boosted its video in the cloud capabilities with the purchase of Clearleap; and Microsoft picked up a mobile communications company, Talko.  Other deals saw Ingram Micro buy the Odin Service Automation business from Parallels and in the storage world Carbonite bought Evault from Seagate. Uber logoIn December 2016 Adecco sold its majority stake in Beeline VMS to GTRC, a private equity firm, for $100 million in cash plus a $30 million note; CRN solution provider SS&C purchased asset service firm Conifer for $88.5 million; solution provider QRX Technology Group acquired IT equipment provider Kerr Norton; networking solution provider, Juniper Networks acquired cloud operations management provider AppFormix; Uber bought start-up Geometric Intelligence Inc.; and Shopify acquired Tiny Hearts, a Toronto-based mobile product development studio. The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itLast year, December 2017 saw Atos enhance the footprint of their IT Services firm by paying $5 billion for Gemalto.  Apple were busy, paying $400 million for music recognition app Shazam, plus they invested $390 million into optical communications components company Finisar.  Finally, in a relatively quiet M&A month Ingram Micro increased its data protection capability through the purchase of Cloud Harmonics.

Which brings us back to the present …

IBM logoDecember 2018 saw IBM sell off a portion of their software portfolio to HCL for $1.8 billion.  Cisco paid $660 million for optical chip company, Luxtera; and OpenText paid $310 million for data management company Liaison Technologies.  In other deals, Google bought “where is my train” app company, Sigmoid Labs; Corel bought desktop virtualization company Parallels; Trello bought Butler, whose product is a popular addition for Trello users; Kaseya bought IT documentation company IT Glue; and GE continued its restructuring efforts by spinning out its IoT subsidiary and selling its interest in Pivotal.  Finally the end of December was the beginning of Dell’s return as a public company.

Huawei logoOther companies in the news include Huawei, who are facing bans in many countries with concerns over its relationship to the Chinese government; and Verizon announced some large scale layoffs, affecting 10, 400 jobs.

The economic and job news continues to be generally positive, with the US continuing to have impressive results and Canada having some good results (November jobs) and some tepid performance (GDP numbers).  Around the world things seem relatively positive other than some notable spots, the UK with Brexit and Chine with some economic retraction.

That’s my look at the tech news for December 2018.

Until next month, walk fast and smile!

19 Simple Psychological Tricks That Actually Work

The human mind is complex. Every time we think we have it figured out and can predict behaviour, we learn more about psychology that can be absolutely mind blowing. Armed with the right information, it’s amazing how we can trick our minds (or someone else’s) into taking specific actions.

This video from Brightside is filled with 19 different psychological tricks. There are plenty of hacks in here that can help the IT contractor from making people like you to winning negotiations. Number 10 sounds interesting… but be sure to warn anybody living in your house before trying it. They’ll think you’re a little nuts! But if it works, it will be worth it.

Which Project Manager are You?

A strength of a good team is having a mix of people who think differently and exhibit individual personalities, all while embracing diversity to work well together. Any role can be taken with a unique approach that is driven by a person’s strengths and work habits, including a Project Manager.

As the infographic from ZoHo below points out, Project Managers in any discipline, including Information Technology, all vary in their style yet still require some key traits. The infographic identifies seven characteristics that it says all Project Managers must have — Resourceful, Creative, Vision, Delegator, Detail-Oriented, Adaptable, and Guidance — followed by seven styles of Project Managers and each of their strengths and weaknesses in respect to the characteristics.

Have you worked with any of these Project Managers or are you one of them? Do you agree with their ratings? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please share them in the comments section below.

Which Project Manager are You?

2018 in Review: The Greatest Time Wasters

We’re not all personal development, job search tips and work. Sometimes, (usually Friday) the Talent Development Centre strays off into another world of humourous or geeky content. It sucks you in and wastes your time, but when you share it, it also gets you the most reactions from your followers.

Today’s Friday and there’s a good chance that if you’ve been working this week, many others in your office haven’t been. That means that the environment is either slow or the opposite, things are hectic while you cover vacations and catch up on items that arose during holidays. Regardless, we think you deserve some relaxation and procrastination (just don’t bill for it). To wrap up our 2018 in Review series, here are the best posts that wasted your time in the past year…

Top 10 Posts of 2018

It’s the final day of 2018 and you’ve been anxiously waiting months for this Talent Development Centre post. For the past year, you’ve woken up every day looking forward to reading what we share and have compiled a list of favourites that you share with your networks. Now, you want to know if your top picks are the same as everyone else’s.

Wait no more, the Eagle Talent Development Centre Top 10 of 2018 is finally here. Whether you missed them or love them so much you want to read them again, here you go. But wait, there’s more! For the rest of the week, you can see more of our top posts by following the “2018 in Review” series!!

Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!

  1. Changes are Coming to How the Federal Government Hires IT Contractors
  2. Some of the Best IT Jobs are in Canada’s Financial Sector
  3. The Reasons that Clients Give for Rejecting Great Candidates
  4. The Marijuana Industry is an Exciting Place for Canadian IT Professionals
  5. Applying to Government IT Jobs: 8 Things to Expect Will be Different from the Private Sector
  6. Never Say These 7 Sentences in a Job Interview
  7. Google for Jobs Has Finally Made it to Canada!
  8. These Brainteasers are Fun (except when they’re asked in a job interview)
  9. 10 Steps to Take Before Becoming an Independent Contractor
  10. Baby Boomers v.s. Millennials: How to Communicate and Overcome the Generation Gap

10 Tips for a Great Ski Holiday

With Christmas over and Kwanzaa starting today, we’re right in the heart of Winter holiday season. While some IT contractors may be back at work, others are enjoying break at home or away. If you’re gearing up for a ski holiday, let us help you prepare.

We found this infographic from SnowRepublic with these 10 super tips to ensure you have a great Ski Holiday:

  1. Don’t Lose Your Ticket!
  2. Be sure to Relax
  3. Protect Yourself from the Sun
  4. Take Pictures
  5. Eat Well
  6. Follow the Signs
  7. Wear the Correct Gear
  8. Bring a First Aid Kit
  9. Keep Your Equipment in Optimal Condition
  10. Stay in Control!

Have a look at the infographic for more details. Is there anything you would add?

Snow Republic's 10 tips for a great ski holiday

An infographic by the team at Snow Republic

How Long to Cook Your Turkey

Our mission is to help independent contractors through all of their challenges. Typically, that includes topics like finding jobs, navigating through business and working with clients. Today, we realize that many IT professionals have today off work and are preparing Christmas Dinner… or at least attempting to. Once again, we’re here to help!

Unfortunately, we can’t come cook for you (it just wouldn’t be fair unless we could do it for everyone) but here’s a helpful guide from delish for cooking a turkey. Best of luck and Merry Christmas to those celebrating!

How Long to Cook a Turkey

Happy Holidays from Eagle!

The Eagle Team wants to wish all of our readers a safe and happy holiday season! We hope you enjoy some time relaxing with friends and family.

In case you’re looking to get a head-start on the New Year, here’s what our holiday schedule looks like across all Eagle offices:

  • December 24th: Closed
  • December 25th: Closed
  • December 26th: Closed
  • December 27th: Open with a small team
  • December 28th: Open with a small team
  • December 31st: Closed
  • January 1st: Closed
  • January 2nd: Back to Regular Business Hours!

Happy Holidays from Eagle