Businesses have become more dependent on technology than ever before, and their long-term growth hinges on the successful implementation of new technology, including data analytics, Big Data, and the Internet of Things (IoT). That means IT now occupies a position of power in the organization, and IT leaders are now expected to direct the business in technological matters and fulfill strategic plans. At the same time, they must lead the team when it comes to implementing and maintaining those systems.
However, the role of IT leaders differs considerably from other industry stalwarts, and potential candidates must display certain skills while still exhibiting leadership qualities. Check out six key skills IT leaders must possess:
The mark of terrific IT leaders is knowing themselves inside and out before comparing themselves in the context of the company or in the context of their colleagues.
The moment you begin to understand and acknowledge yourself as well as your personal limitations are the moment you display IT leadership qualities.
So, you need to be acutely aware of your strengths, your weaknesses, and surround yourself with people who help you overcome your drawbacks and play up the positive aspects of your personality.
Alongside self-awareness, you must also exhibit emotional intelligence. The more you’re familiar with your emotional triggers, the better you can focus on the individuals you interact with.
Understand and assess what’s going on with them, and change the direction of the conversation depending on their emotional state.
All of this might sound easy on paper, but it’s quite difficult to achieve in reality. Especially during heated corporate exchanges, maintaining your cool and assessing others can get challenging. But that’s the difference between mediocre and outstanding IT leaders. You don’t want to lower yourself to another’s level.
On top of this, you certainly don’t want to personally attack anyone. That is terrible management and sets a dangerous precedent.
A prudent leader will always stay on top of his/her emotions and know the right way to gauge the players and the corporate environment. At the same time, they will regulate their interactions so listeners hear exactly what they want to hear.
The chances of an IT project succeeding range from slim to none if the whole team is not on the same page. It is the job of an IT leader to bring together a group of individuals with a wide range of skills for completing an initiative successfully.
Just because you’ve attained the leadership position doesn’t mean you’re above reaching out to others and bringing them on board to fulfill the common target.
Commit yourself to teamwork and start including other members of your team in the decision-making process. Keep them in the loop when implementing procedures and processes. Learn to organize, support, and assume the role of an active participant.
Remember, no leader can succeed without teamwork. So, it’s less about staying aloof and directing others and more about getting the job done alongside others. Prove your leadership skills through your actions, not words.
Leaders who are willing to participate actively in building confidence and trust among team members will meet with greater project success. If that’s not all, you should urge others to work well with their teammates as well.
Budding IT leaders should display equal enthusiasm for personal projects and building their professional resume.
Although the school they attended and their past jobs are significant, it is not enough to determine whether a candidate can assume the position of IT leader. They must be motivated to work on IT solutions even when they’re taking a break.
Pet projects and other programming-related activities are always a welcome addition to your career growth, even if you haven’t had the time to perfect them before the interview. Tech companies meet with several candidates for the position of IT leader, but displaying your passion for technology allows you to beat the competition.
Build a safe work environment
One area where an IT leader shines is developing an atmosphere that encourages employees to make the most of an opportunity without the fear of failure or rebuttal. It is the job of the IT manager to give workers the confidence to try out new approaches and promote innovation.
Even if the effort ends in failure, it can be a learning experience — a leader who fosters these sorts of ideas will make team members less hesitant when it comes to tackling difficult projects and more open to trying new things.
However, creating such a safe environment is not an easy task. People are averse to taking risks because they fear the consequences if things go sideways.
Moreover, it reflects badly on IT leaders if their team takes chances randomly. So you should encourage the team to take calculated risks in specific areas. Make it a point to define the boundaries and act in a suitable fashion if a failure takes place.
An impressive IT leader will never stop learning just because they have achieved their dream role. Instead, they will go above and beyond for learning key industry skills and earning important certificates within the industry.
Although leaders hardly have the time or energy to contemplate continuing their education, IT leaders must always stay updated so they don’t get left behind in the ever-changing world of technology; they need to evolve alongside and learn all they can to stay on top of trends.
For example, know all you can about new coding languages the moment they come out. If necessary, attend online classes or take classes at your nearby college to stay on the ball at all times.
Earlier, only individuals working in sales jobs thought they needed to master the subtle art of persuasion. But IT leaders too must exhibit this skill as they are often required to “sell” their concepts and ideas to others before they can meet with success.
If you have a new venture or project, you must persuade others to provide the necessary help. However, don’t confuse persuasion and influence with threatening others to achieve what you want. That is a poor sign of integrity.
Demanding something be done is misusing your authority. Persuasion is more of a give-and-take situation, almost like a negotiation. The more charismatic you are, the better you will be at getting others onboard and achieving success in your career.
Making that breakthrough to an IT leader
Many aspire to be an IT leader but few achieve that position. You need to work on the skills mentioned above if you want to stand apart from the competition and get recruiters to take notice.
Featured image: Pixabay
More IT Career Guide articles
- Most promising computer science jobs for the next decade
- Weathering the storms: What you need to succeed in your IT career in good times and bad
- Key skills you need to grab a machine learning job in 2019
- IT employee monitoring: 5 reasons you should do it — and 5 you shouldn’t
- Just stop! 7 mistakes that could doom your IT career