Just to be very clear about things: this article has nothing to do with bashing Indian managers. You will not hear me complaining that “they are taking all of the good jobs”. You won’t hear this, because it’s simply not true – there are a lot of good IT manager jobs out there for all of us. However, when Google announced that they were reorganizing and promoting Sundar Pichai to the CEO position, it suddenly struck me that a lot of guys from India have been doing well lately. What’s up with this?
There Seems To Be Something Going On
So the promotion of Sundar to lead Google is a major success for him. However, it turns out that he’s not alone. A lot of Indian IT managers have been doing very well for themselves lately. The most famous of these is probably Satya Nadella. It was not all that long ago that he was promoted to become the CEO of Microsoft. When this happened, I suspect that there were a lot of people like myself who said “Who is Satya?”
I guess that I really should not have been all that surprised. For you see there are more and more big name firms out there who are being run by (men) who got their start in India. These firms include Microsoft, Google, Nokia, and Adobe. I could understand one or two, but that’s a lot of CEO’s who all share the same trait of being from India. Clearly there is something that is starting to happen here. Is this all about having special IT manager skills?
I guess that it’s actually pretty clear that the firms that are placing Indians into their top-level spot have done a great job of getting over the need to have the company run by someone who looks like the last person who was doing it. Microsoft might be the best example of this: Satya looks nothing like Steve Ballmer. However, there has to be more going on here that just a progressive HR department. What is it about these Indian managers that makes their companies want to be led by them?
Why Indian IT Managers Are So Good
When we’re trying to find out why someone is doing a good job performing a task, sometimes it helps to get some outside help. In the case of trying to find out why Indian managers are getting selected for the top spot, it turns out that we can turn to a study that was done by the Southern New Hampshire University. What their study discovered was that Indian IT managers got the highest rankings in terms of having leadership traits.
What this study showed was that Indian IT managers were more future orientated than their peers. However, what was even more important was that these managers were found to have a “… paradoxical blend of genuine personal humility and intense professional will.” What attracted the attention of the people who were trying to fill the top spots even more was what the study had to say next: “These leaders achieved extraordinary results and built great organizations without much hoopla.” So it’s not about IT manager training, but rather about built-in skills.
What’s interesting about the Indian IT managers who have assumed the #1 spot in their company is that they are not the founders of the company. They joined the company after it had already gotten itself off the ground. After they join the company, they become respected managers. During their time with the company they end up holding a number of different positions and do well in all of them. Clearly these Indian IT managers have shown their firms that they have the skills and talents that are needed to perform IT team building and run the whole show.
What All Of This Means For You
As non-Indian IT managers (or even as Indian IT managers) there is a great deal that we can learn from the recent success of a number of different Indian IT managers. There is really nothing special about what country these folks come from. Instead, what matters is their management style.
What companies are starting to discover is that their Indian IT managers possess the skill sets that they need in order to move forward in their markets. These managers are not all caught up in themselves, but instead are focused on making the company a success. They have the ability to very quietly build great teams. These are exactly the skills that companies are looking for when they go looking for someone to run their company.
You and I can learn from this recent round of Indian IT manager promotions. Now that we understand the skills that companies are looking for in their IT managers, these can now become the skills that we spend our time working to develop. No, I can’t guarantee that you’ll eventually get promoted to run your company, but getting good at the skills that Indian IT managers have sure couldn’t hurt…
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that all Indian IT managers have the same set of desirable management skills?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
As an IT manager, I’m pretty sure that you think that you are hot stuff. You provide your company with a valuable service and if you were not there, then they would miss you and your IT manager skills. However, there is a flip side to this thought – is it possible that you are no longer needed and if you weren’t there nobody would notice?