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IT leadership Skills
November 1, 2009 at 9:32 pm #84184
Must-Have Skills For IT Leaders
Arun Manansingh, 10.06.09, 09:50 AM EDT
Seven tips to help you manage effectively.
Over the decades, there have been numerous books and articles written about the characteristics and skills that leaders should have to be effective in the workplace. Executives know that these management skills are universal and can be applied to any industry, including information technology.
Whether your title is CIO, CTO, vice president or IT manager, there are fundamental skills that allow you to manage effectively. It is just a matter of taking these concepts that make sense to you and incorporating them into your own style of management. Here are seven tips that will help you become a more effective IT leader.
Learn to communicate effectively. This is a skill that is often given secondary importance in an IT leader’s career. To be effective you need to be able to communicate your decisions, processes and goals upward (with management), downward (with your staff) and side-to-side (with your peers).
Learn your company’s business. As any IT leader knows, the continuing argument is that IT does not understand the business aspect of the company. This debate can hinder an IT leader’s efforts to align technology processes with business demands. As an IT leader you should devote time to understanding your company’s business and workflow processes. Have an open dialogue with business staff. Attend business meetings. Do what you can to understand the business challenges your company faces. By understanding these issues, you can apply technology solutions to answer these challenges.
Learn the game of politics and how to win at it. Corporate politics is the enemy of many IT leaders, but there is no escaping from it because it is everywhere. To win, you must always remember that corporate politics is a game that has winners and losers. Learn the game, the players and the risks involved. How well you can play the game will determine if your agenda will move forward.
Learn to accept responsibility. As IT leaders we are asked to manage difficult projects and tasks. Take ownership of your actions and decisions and see them through to the end. Taking responsibility will help you gain respect from your staff, peers and management.
Learn from your failures. One of the most difficult skills for any IT leader to learn is how to accept failure. As professionals we do not want to fail but it happens. Think of failure as a type of feedback. As IT leaders we need to understand why something did not work and adjust our strategies and thinking until we find processes that are successful.
Learn to build professional relationships both inside and outside the office. Forming relationships with peers will help you navigate through difficult waters. As IT leaders, there always will be situations where you need advice and guidance. Seek out assistance from colleagues and mentors who possess knowledge and expertise that you do not have and form relationships with them. They can help guide your career both in the short term and long term.
Learn to continuously improve yourself. As IT leaders we know that technology is continuously changing and improving. As professionals we also need to continuously improve ourselves by learning new skills and ways of thinking. Continuously improving ourselves should be our ultimate goal.
Being an effective IT leader means understanding our strengths and weaknesses. It is only through learning that we can become well-rounded professionals capable of making appropriate decisions. The more we can learn the better we can be as leaders.
Arun Manansingh writes about his experiences in IT on his blog, A CIO’s Voice.
Copyright 2009 Forbes.com LLC™
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