Tech leaders are master jugglers.
From developing the right blend of technical and people-management skills, to effectively liaising with an array of business stakeholders (all while delivering results), good tech leaders keenly understand the value of multi-tasking.
But if you want to go beyond the merely ‘good’, and swim in the sea of the great, developing these seven core leadership traits will help.
1. Agile mindset
The pace of change is nowhere greater than in the IT industry. Being able to quickly adapt your mindset when parameters change is essential. This involves more than just keeping your team on track; it’s about honing your strategies so you (and your team) can deal with the unexpected and respond rapidly.
2. Emotional intelligence
By developing your emotional intelligence, you’ll gain a critical understanding of your strengths, limitations and emotional triggers. It will help you better manage your interactions with others and allow you to surround yourself with people who excel in the areas in which you struggle, making for an even stronger team.
3. Adaptable communication style
As an IT leader, you deal with a wide cross-section of people across the company, from marketing to management and beyond. It’s important to understand how to shift your communications to match each audience. Tech jargon may work fine for your team, but marketing will need it in simplified terms that a client can comprehend. Much of this involves effectively ‘reading the room’ (that is, listening carefully and asking relevant questions), and then adjusting your message appropriately.
4. Constant learner
Your team is likely always learning, so you should be too. Keeping up with the latest industry advances is a given. You can go further by schooling yourself in how these align with the greater business goals, building a firm case for adoption.
5. A team protector
Your IT team is a central cog in the business wheel. As such, they may be barraged by requests and demands that impact their ability to get their job done. A great IT leader is an effective barrier against this noise, absorbing the initial hits, filtering what is most important, and feeding that back to them. By providing this shelter, you also allow space for them to problem solve and innovate; two key functions in an impressive tech team.
6. A close eye on the customer
Most digital teams in large organisations have multiple customers. Their immediate ones are internal departments like sales and marketing. Their secondary customers are the company’s actual paying clients; the one’s sales and marketing work hard to capture.
To launch yourself from the realm of the good IT leader to the great, you should aim to ensure you always consider both customers and their unique needs, as well as being adept at translating that back to your team. For instance, the better the sales and opportunity tool you develop, the better personalisation for the customer, the easier it is to convert them. Then hopefully you won’t hear that dreaded phrase again, ‘IT never understand what we need’.
7. Foster an ‘it’s ok to fail’ environment
One of the fastest paths to innovation is via risk taking. However, your employees may feel like they can’t take the risk of failure, for fear of losing their place on the team. By illustrating the good that can come from a failed task or project, you can demonstrate that you value their effort. As a result, they may be more likely to tackle that tricky project in the future, or problem solve their way to an out-of-the-box solution.
Those are just seven traits of a great IT leader, but there are plenty more you can develop. If you are looking for a role that allows you to take that next step, reach out to our Finite tech recruitment specialists.