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Help Desk Team
If help desk teams are to become leaner entities that meet todays drive for increased efficiency with lower overhead, the roles and the rules that govern these teams have to be reinvented. Many companies are finding that self-directed work teams, given substantial training, and invested with an appropriate level of empowerment, can streamline the help desk process, enabling the process to truly accomplish more tasks with fewer resources.

Effective help desk personnel have to be individuals who enjoy changes and challenges. It is not a job that presents the tasks day after day, or even two days in a row, but one that is constantly evolving and shifting. Hiring people who enjoy the stimulation of taking on new challenges daily is a first important step in having a help desk that runs smoothly and functions effectively. Once help desk personnel have mastered the basics of integrating processes, technology and people, its time for a second important step - the migration from subordinate counterpart to business partner in the organization.

While self-directed work teams, empowered to make decisions and supported in the contribution they make to the company, are a valuable asset to any type of business, they can be especially successful in a help desk setting. However, the teams must be empowered to make decisions and assume a certain level of control within the boundaries of organization goals and training provided. BR>
Another aspect of this equation is, of course, the team manager. In the case of a successful team, the manager or team leader needs to be more of a facilitator than a dictator. There are times when a group of professionals need assistance, but they seldom need direction. The manager, therefore, must be prepared to provide the team with tools, people, resources, and training. He or she must be able and willing to point the way, without seeming to do so. When barriers are encountered, a good manager can remove them, while getting the team moving in the right direction again.

Professional team members are knowledgeable in their own right and expect to be treated as such. The team manager, in second-guessing an able team member, may make a mistake that proves hard to rectify. When team members go beyond established boundaries, it is crucial that the team manager not react improperly. The team member should be taken aside and presented with tools for handling the situation differently when it next arises. This can be difficult initially, because it is not the way most people, especially most managers, are accustomed to doing business. In the long run, however, once it is established as a means of interacting on a regular basis, the benefits are invaluable. Team members feel able to think outside the box. They do not feel ultimately bound by the existence of too restrictive policies, rules and regulations. As a result, they can produce innovative solutions to problems and feel comfortable in suggesting them.

When the team feels comfortable as a whole, customers and companies benefit. Flexibility and creativity are essential to todays help desk, but they cannot be achieved until team members feel that they are being listened to and their proposals taken seriously. This may mean a complete reinvention of the traditional help desk but the benefits that the company will derive from the changes can be well worth them.

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