Are You A Strong IT Leader?

Sure you're an IT leader, but are you a strong IT Leader?
Sure you’re an IT leader, but are you a strong IT Leader?
Image Credit: RichardBH

The way that most of us become an IT manager is that we just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Somehow we find ourselves being assigned or appointed or even awarded the position of IT manager no matter what our IT manager skills are and then all of a sudden there we are. It’s what comes next that really matters – how good are you at this management thing? Far too many of us end up failing at this leadership thing. This brings up the critical question: why do some IT leaders succeed while others fail?

True Leadership Is All About Action

Funny thing about this leadership thing, no matter how much IT manager training you’ve had, it’s really all about leading. What this means for you is that how effective you are going to be as a leader has a great deal to do with your character. You really need to know just exactly who you are. What your character means for your team is that it determines how willing they will be to follow you. Would they be willing to follow you to someplace far away or just down the block? This will all depend on who you are as an individual person. In order to be a good leader, you need to find a way to spread your passion for the job so that everyone that you come into contact becomes inspired.

Leadership is based on the relationships that you are able to create. This means that you are going to have to take the time to understand who you will be having the most important relationships with. What you need to realize is that you won’t be able to lead your team until you’ve taken the time to develop relationships with them. Your goal has to be to have an impact on your team and you’re not going to be able to do this until you’ve created strong relationships showing how connected and caring you are. Your ultimate goal has to be to learn about the people that you will be working with so that you can find out how you can help them to fulfill their dreams.

Let’s face it, you don’t know everything. What this means is that you need to make sure that you surround yourself with people who know more than you do. Your ability to understand people is a critical part of being a successful IT manager. You always want to be working to learn what other people know that you don’t know. You want to make sure that the people who know more than you don’t feel that you are feeling defensive or threatened. You always want to be working to develop your own competencies so that ultimately you can learn how to influence people more and have an even bigger impact.

Strong IT Leaders Have An Impact

It’s not so much what you will be able to accomplish as an IT manager that really counts. Rather it’s going to be what you are going to be able to inspire your team to accomplish that will matter. Leading is all about IT team building. That’s why a critical skill that strong IT manager must have is the ability to know what people are feeling. If you want to be successful, then you are going to have to learn to find out how the members of your team feel. Having this knowledge will allow you to get inside of their heads and see the world from their perspective. This is how you will influence your team.

There is no way that you are going to be able to get everything out of your team that you need to be able to get out of them if you don’t first take the time to find out what their experiences are. You are going to have to understand what they have done in their careers. You need to take the time to learn what the members of your team are committed to. When they are not at work, what are they spending their time doing? Your team is going to be willing to follow a leader that show that they are interested in their experiences and who want to know what they know. To have an influence on your team, you need to let them know that you really don’t know it all and you need them to share with you what they know.

Finally, each person on your team has a great deal of potential. What this means is that the person that they could become is not the person that they are today. As a strong IT manager, you need to have the ability to know where each one of your team members can develop. The last thing that you want to do is to focus on team member’s weaknesses. Instead, look for ways that you can help them lift their workplace performance up to the next level. If you want to have impact on your team, you need to be willing to focus on their ultimate potential.

What All Of This Means For You

Becoming an IT manager is often just the luck of the draw. If we want to become strong IT managers then it’s going to take work on our part. Successful IT managers realize that true leadership is all about action. It’s what you do that will allow you have an impact and make a lasting impression on those around you.

In order to be a strong IT manager, you first have to understand who you are. Your character is what makes you the person that you are. It will be your character that will determine how willing your IT team is to follow you. In order to lead your team, you first have to develop relationships with them. You don’t know everything so you need to surround yourself with people who know more than you do. You’ll have to be able to understand what people are feeling. You also have to know what they’ve done in the past. Who your people are today is not who they will be tomorrow. Make sure that you can see the potential in your team members.

Being a strong IT manager means that you don’t focus on your position. Instead, you need to be willing to take action. You won’t be given true leadership, instead you will have to earn it. The way that you’ll earn it is by having an impact on the members of your IT team. Keep in mind that to truly impact people you have to first influence them. If you don’t do this, they will not follow you and you will not be a strong IT manager.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: As an IT manager, how can you become better at understanding what the members of your IT team are feeling?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So here’s something that most IT managers don’t spend a lot of time thinking about because we don’t have any IT manager training in doing it; however, perhaps we should. The offices that our IT teams are working in. Generally speaking, the company that we work for has either purchased or leased an office space, our team is assigned to this space, and we move in and that’s it. However, if you take just a moment to think about it, the environment that we all work in is actually very important to just how productive your team is going to be. Is there something that you can do about this?

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