16 Skills Tech Leaders Need to Thrive in the Workplace
It’s not easy being a leader. You have to be aware of team dynamics, make sure goals are aligned with the company’s mission, solve for the customer and deliver results.
It can sometimes be difficult to develop leadership skills in a workplace that changes frequently or where you have no control over the outcome of situations. Nonetheless, it’s important to learn new ways to improve your performance so you can step up to be the leader your team needs.
There are 16 skills every Tech Leader should have if they wish to thrive:
- Deliver Results-This one is a given. You must be able to follow through on your word. If you can’t deliver, you cannot hold the title of a leader in your workplace. Leadership comes with great responsibility including being held accountable for results.
- Be Self Aware- You must know who you are. You should be committed to leadership first and everything else comes after that. There is research that shows that the highest performing CIOs are effective because they embrace the idea that everything they need to accomplish will be achieved through people, by people, and with people.
- They Continue to Grow and Learn- As a leader, you aren’t supposed to have all the answers, but you will gain more experience after each situation. Ask for feedback from your colleagues–not only from your supervisor, but feedback from your peers and direct reports is invaluable..
- They Work Through Other People and Delegate- Don’t try to do it all. Surround yourself with bright people and delegate tasks. This is why diversity is important. If you have a team with different areas of expertise and diverse skillsets you’ll be able to delegate work much easier.
- Have Great Communication Skills- Focus on keeping your message clear. Reiterate your core values and keep the message simple. Remember that you are dealing with people from all walks of life, you want your message not only to be heard, but felt.
- They Are Authentic- You must be able to lead based off of your values, not the one you wish you had.
- They Are Decisive- You must be able to make tough decisions in a short amount of time, and very possibly without the full picture. Leaders know how to make educated decisions in seconds.
- They Create A Safe-to-Fail Environment- Innovation blooms in environments where employees aren’t afraid to take risks. Encourage your employees to think outside the box and solve problems in creative ways.
- Adept At Problem Solving- According to experts, most IT leaders are problem-solvers at heart, but if that isn’t you don’t fret. Recognize that problem-solving isn’t a strength of yours and partner with the expert problem-solver in the company. Problem-solving is a skill that can be developed over time.
- Create a Collaborative Environment- When you become a leader in IT you cease to be an independent employee. Now, you have a network of people you have to work with and through. In order to deliver results, it’s important to foster a collaborative environment where employees are not afraid to share ideas and brainstorm together.
- A Sense of Humor- This can be an effective way to keep your employees motivated. Lynn Taylor, workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant, strongly believes that humor demonstrates “maturity and the ability to see the forest through the trees.” You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian, she adds, “but well-placed humor that is clever and apropos to a business situation always enhances an employee’s career.”
- Integrity- You must be held accountable for your actions and the actions of those under you. You must also be able to admit when you are wrong. In order to be an effective leader, you need to have the trust of your team and that comes from displaying your integrity.
- Empathy- When you are able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes it helps establish a deeper connection. Higher quality work is the result of employees who feel they work for a leader they trust and has their best interest at heart.
- Know Your Customer- You must understand what your customers need and expect. Understanding customer needs and wants is mission-critical for IT leaders if they plan on achieving long-lasting success. GE’s CIO agrees that the best leaders care about their customers’ success and their growth.
- Think Strategically- How do you solve puzzles? Do you look at the image on the box, go with the flow or develop a plan before touching the pieces? To be a good leader, you must be able to dissect the problem, identify the issue and solve for the company by aligning all the factors that play a role in the matter. As you can see, it’s no easy task. You need to be able to know who you’re solving for, what is the deliverable and how to get ahead of the competition.
- Know Your Style- Your leadership style will influence behaviors that are imitated by employees. Want to figure out your leadership style, try out this free quiz !
If your eyes are set on being a Director, VP, or C-level executive, start working on these skills today. Remember to stay humble and learn from every experience you have. Leadership is not developed overnight; it is important to keep in mind that it is a skill that develops over time. As you gain experience in your field, work to move into positions that require more responsibility and challenge your skillset. Leadership is a journey so enjoy the ride!
By: Nathalie Diaz Troncoso
Diversity IT Network is a social enterprise and leadership development program that advances the careers of multicultural technology professionals via training in leadership, emotional intelligence, conversational intelligence, as well as peer-to-peer mentorship and career coaching.