Things are always changing in the tech industry, and that includes leadership. Today, being an IT leader means something different than it did even ten years ago. Leaders are no longer controlling, reviewing, and directing every aspect of a project-instead, they’re empowering skilled team members to work both independently and collaboratively, doing what it takes to get the job done with efficiency and excellence.
So what makes a great IT leader? Here are a few of the most common traits shared by successful leaders in the tech industry, and how these traits help them guide and develop the most powerful and complex component of IT-human resources.
They know themselves
The best IT leaders are self-aware. They have high degrees of emotional intelligence-understanding their own strengths and weaknesses, and knowing who to surround themselves with in order to complement those aspects. They’re also aware of their own emotional triggers, which helps them to manage logically.
To be a successful leader, you also need to know your own leadership style. When you’re aware of both how and why you manage as you do, you’re able to project an authenticity that your team can detect in every interaction-making it easier for them to respect you.
They create a team environment where it’s safe to fail
Collaboration is essential in today’s IT landscape. A great leader is able to encourage effective collaboration by knowing who should work together on what projects, along with when and where collaborations should take place. Leaders embrace the idea that “none of us is as smart as all of us.”
Working together can also help to cultivate innovation-and a strong leader is aware that innovation sometimes requires failure. It’s important for an IT leader to encourage team members to take reasonable risks, and not to penalize them or call out individual employees if a risk fails. Team members should know that they’re allowed to make some mistakes along the way.
They’re always learning
Without question, the most successful IT leaders never stop to rest on their laurels. Even those who reach the pinnacle of the company ladder are aware that they don’t know everything-and they’re always looking for ways to grow and improve.
This is especially essential for leaders in the tech industry. With frequent changes and upgrades, and continually emerging technologies, the only thing IT professionals can be sure of is that things will be different tomorrow. Staying up to date with the latest advances that are relevant to your company is crucial for successful leadership.
However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t only strive to improve your industry knowledge. If you’re aware that you struggle with soft skills like decision-making, or communication, or strategic thinking, you can continue to learn more in those areas-take a course, read relevant books, or even network with and learn from other leaders you admire.
Most great leaders aren’t born that way. They learn to improve through awareness and experience-and you can, too.
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