Long time listener, first time caller...

I have a team of 45 people.  That's 4 FT staff members and 41 (presently) part-time workers, full-time students.  We run an IT front office for a small private 4-year institution. We do a LOT, and most of my staff are on multiple internal teams.


I practice O3s, Feedback with all my directs, and over the last year I've gone from directly interfacing with nearly all 45 people, to a distributed model.

I do O3s with my two FT techs, my FT specialist and my FT technologist. I also do a weekly O3 with two key student team leads (PT) who manage all scheduling and billing (and also have direct report students who are PT)

The specialist and technologist each have two primary teams underneath them.  Each of those teams are headed by a pair of student team leads (per team, again, all PT).

Teams overlap in membership, as I said before.  We've found that the cross training we do effectively weaponizes staff to do anything because so much of what we do is inter-related.

So my leadership team in total is me, my right hand, my left hand, and a total of 10-12 PT Team Leads who are tasked, frankly, with a lot. We handle all forward-facing support, all classrooms, all campus events, all media, and a several dozen other things.

Every. Single. PT. Team Lead. Does a weekly O3 with a student staff member (below them) for 30 minutes following guidance in here.  They also GET a O3 with their FT supervisor or me.

I seem to recall a podcast saying that it doesn't work great for PT staff and all, but I've found the opposite to be true.  It's one of the most effective things I've done in many ways because it provides facetime between team members and leaders, allows for the distribution of occasional instructions or personal announcements.  It also gives all 45 people underneath me a chance to request extra training or support, and we deal with issue much faster with this model.

I'm going to set all of that aside for just a second - the real reason I'm here is that in the past my student (I hate calling them student, because while it's true, they're PT staff regardless of their other responsibilities) team leaders come back early to campus (if they didn't stay on all summer anyway) and we do some training with them in early August. For years, mostly before me, we didn't take advantage of this opportunity.  We set them up to fail in a lot of ways.  I'm changing that.  Last year we rolled out guidance about One-on-Ones, I asked them all to subscribe to podcasts or get their own personal license here and we really made some good headway I thought, but it's very haphazard.  This year I want to take no prisoners in my approach.  This came directly from a conversation with a key direct who asked me why we weren't doing 'Leadership' training at our boot camp.  I've read several of the leadership forums on here and I see clear differences between leadership and management, but does anyone have a path in that direction they recommend? I thought about diving through the podcasts and cobbling together something, but I'm not terribly sure where to start.

These are FUTURE and (even hopefully current) managers who I want to set up for success.  Anyone have any advice?  I'm happy to clarify anything that's unclear above...



tlhausmann's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Andy, please PM me at your convenience.

I personally led over 50 student employees at one time, and, included late August boot camps when serving at a private college...earlier in my career. I have now been a CIO for quite some time.

Part of the challenge, I believe, is that the student workforce in such sitiuations is transient. Further, while inculcating effective management and leadership behaviors, the student *are* there to work towards a degree.

I'm happy to visit with you and compare our experiences...please PM me and I'll share contact information.

andrewjsmiller's picture

I knew someone out there had to have some shared experience.

Yes, one of the huge challenges is that no matter how hard I try, I have a nearly 95% turnover every four years. I’ve always wondered what @mahorstman’s guidance would be here!

I’ll PM you, tlhausmann

i12know's picture
Training Badge

Student workers are not sticking around.  Your best bet is to focus on developing SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) so you can quickly replace people.  Simplify everything will also help.


i12know's picture
Training Badge

This is non Manager-Tolls related, but I would suggest that you look into ITSM (IT Service Management) processes using a Service Desk system.  That would help standardize everything toward efficiency in the long run.



andrewjsmiller's picture

Sure. So I got zero training in Management from my company. It was more or less.. here’s your team. Do well.

so I’ve been rolling out basic ITSM to the whole organization. But ITSM is about business process in IT. I need leadership and good management because I know that what I build here has to outlive me.