Are technicians in your MSP team players? Collaboration is a common term that we hear in the business world. Indeed, your employees should work together to bring strong results that help scale your business. However, as an MSP, you might experience some difficulties in getting technical staff members to work as a team.
An MSP technician can be a great team player if the management of the company provides a collaborative environment for them. Despite many technicians being introverted or acting as a lone wolf, they are capable of teamwork if the following are ensured:
- A cohesive system
- A balancing of strengths and weaknesses in the team
- Understanding other team members
Teamwork in an MSP environment can be tricky as many high level technicians have a “go it alone” approach for going about their workday. This is why, as the MSP owner, you must get involved and encourage a smooth collaboration in the company.
So how exactly can you turn every technician into a team player?
Tech People and Team Work – Is This Even a Possible Combination?
Before you ask yourself, “What can I do as an MSP owner to engage technical staff members as part of the team,” you first need to understand your tea–starting with the mindset of high level technicians.
Why Do So Many Technicians Have a Lone Wolf Mentality in the First Place?
Many technicians have a long history of messing around with computers all by their lonesome or even having worked for themselves at some point.
Take for instance Support Adventure’s founder Eric Muth. Long before starting his MSP staffing company, he was fiddling around with computers as an 11-year-old, reinstalling Windows and editing memory files. At the age of 16, he started his own break-fix business.
Being able to work for himself was also his way of validating his intelligence outside of the school system that he hated. He didn’t like the approach of math or history class, nor school teaching in general. He didn’t subscribe to the idea that students must memorize information deemed important by a teacher in order to pass exams.
As a result of his computer prowess, he knew more about computers in his school than his teachers and had practical experience with testing and fixing them. He was able to manage Windows and other innovative software that teachers had no idea about.
This all led him towards being used to figuring out things on his own without the help of others. He grew accustomed to being the smartest guy who could fix anything. He was providing real results and getting paid for them.
And technicians in your MSP tend to have similar stories to Eric’s which leads to them feeling more comfortable working things out on their own.
Senior Techs as Managers May Hinder Teamwork
One big mistake we see MSPs make is placing their top technicians in management positions.
While these team members are very technically savvy individuals who provide amazing support solutions, they tend to not always possess the softest people skills. Therefore, they might not be the best options for managing a team of different personalities.
A wide range of problems can occur, especially if technicians are assigned to lead a group of people who are very different to them in terms of:
- Skill sets
- Working style
- Roles in the company
- Introversion vs. extroversion lifestyle
Technicians are used to being their own nucleus in their work day who has all the answers. When such individuals are working with or managing people with very different perspectives about life, work and experiences, this is where the problems start.
Often senior technicians fail to understand the perspectives of other people because they are very self-reliant. As an MSP owner or manager, you need to make a system that brings these people out of their shells and shows them how to lead people in the right way.
They must understand that having a team of people with varying skill sets and views on life is super beneficial for the company. It should feel like a privilege to be a part of a team and an organization that’s got your back, and you can have theirs as well.
Ultimately, technicians must understand everyone’s uniqueness and contribution to the business. In the end, everybody brings to the table different roles and results.
An MSP owner needs to identify lone wolf characters early on and have a conversation about leadership with them. They may not trust someone else’s system or societal influences in general, which is why they are satisfied with being their own boss. However, technicians from this category of people are ready to take on any challenge and new responsibilities.
That brings us to the good news! You can mentor your top techs to be the leaders that you know they’re capable of being. But at the same time, hiring people whose weaknesses overlap with yours or other managers’ is by far one of the worst MSP practices we’ve seen over the years.
In order to avoid this, add one organizational team player for every five excellent techs you have in the company. It can be a dispatcher or another technician–someone to look at tickets, documentation and make sure that the workflow is constant and smooth.
Traits to consider for hiring this person are:
- profound organization skills
- strong communication
- coordination experience
- supervisor experience
- efficient productivity
Create a Supportive System for Your Technicians
If you want to build a scalable MSP full of reliable team players, you need to create a system where technicians will feel comfortable and at home. This is so important because technicians often grew up being smarter than the systems they were working with, and so they developed a mistrustful mind. They are not always the best at doing what they’re told.
MSPs should have a system that techs can actually trust and rely on without any suspicion, as they’ll want to be able to feel like a part of this system on a deeper level.
Doing this will prevent them from feeling the need to constantly question decisions or pushback on others’ ideas. They must also understand that there are reasons why people do things differently from the way they do them. It will take some effort from their side to learn about people, their needs and listen to their feedback.
Ideally, technical staff members should be complemented by other admin and sales staff who synchronously balance out the weaknesses of the techs and vice versa. If you master the skill of getting tech workers into a system like this, then you can have a very successful company full of loyal and engaged team members. Moreover, you will keep your employees in the organization for a long time.
We hope this article was enlightening and that you are ready to start implementing our recommendations. If you want to get advice from veterans in the MSP industry, or if you are looking for high quality staff for your MSP, check out our MSP staffing and consulting offerings here. We have a wide pool of talented technicians who can take your MSP to the next level without the high costs of hiring locally.