Traits of an Excellent IT Leader
Traits of an excellent IT leader
It takes more than managing to lead
Let me just say this: A good leader is focused on achieving the mission, but always acknowledges it takes a team to do so. Leaders inspire teams to be the best they can – to strive for excellence. A leader lifts people up. A leader teaches. A leader guides. But sometimes leaders have to make hard decisions and sometimes leaders pivot, but successfully leading a team is what defines great leadership.
The best leaders know how to apply the right amount of motivation and the right amount of discipline. Great leaders build relationships up, down and across the chain of command. To a great leader, these skills are effortless and second nature.
The typical CIO lasts less than three years in the role. The reason is not complicated. This business is demanding and requires faster results than ever before because of the accelerated pace of change.
But the pothole for IT leaders is the perception that technology is a cost center rather than a strategic driver. This means technology leaders have to deliver results quickly to achieve credibility. A balance of giving the business what they want and need, while maintaining an eye towards maintainability and future leverage is a challenging proposition.
IT leaders want to feel appreciated for the work they do. They want their ideas to be taken seriously and for the company to appreciate the value of a clear technology vision. Executives should understand the major concepts of technology infrastructure – but they don’t have to be experts. It is no different than understanding the basics of accounting, marketing, sales and operations in today’s environment.
How do IT leaders motivate their teams? The same motivators must occur at the lower levels as well as the senior levels. Team members want to feel appreciated and, more importantly, they want to be heard. Everyone wants to have an opportunity to have an impact. A savvy tech leader knows how to use his teams to create that impact.
Leadership is a collaborative process that will always begin with the simple philosophy of inspiration, innovation, and success — and a team mentality.