"IT's a team sport, and I think you have to show an interest," McKinney says.
"It goes a long way because they respond to that," he adds. "Showing that kind of interest in an employee is good for you, good for them, good for the whole organization."
Those efforts must go beyond just IT. Government insiders stress the importance of developing what are sometimes referred to as "soft skills" -- the interpersonal and leadership qualities that are seen as increasingly critical as technology grows more intertwined with the mission of the enterprise.
"Are they employees or are they IT specialists? And I don't know that we have to answer that question. We want to do both," Casey says. "At some point, no matter how good you are as an IT specialist, the odds are you're going to end up supervising and managing and leading IT specialists. We can't wait and then try and start teaching folks those skills, as well. So we need that holistic approach right from the get-go."
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