Leadership is a buzzword in every industry. From education to sales and IT, everyone praises leadership as an admirable skill. What does it take to be a leader, and is it something that any person can learn? An effective leader has the ability to transform a team or an entire company, and many times, it is a collaborative effort shared among many. Leadership dramatically affects success in the IT industry.
Leadership Knows Strengths and Weaknesses
Leadership does not automatically spell success. A leader is not the only person performing well, with the best education, or the person who takes over projects. A leader is a pioneer who has the ability to see both the strengths and weaknesses of the team and its members, but also the strengths and weaknesses of him/herself. This person(s) possesses the unique ability to look within and feel uncomfortable with complacency.
In the IT world, complacency is dangerous. Complacency paves the road for security breaches, data disasters, intrusions, and user errors. Leaders know the risk before the breakdown and develop preventative strategies and maintenance to reduce or eliminate the threat. As a result, customer interaction improves, employee education and awareness increases, productivity expands and costs remain low.
Leadership is Collaboration
Leadership is not a one-man band; it is a collective effort of many. Yes, in times of stagnant negotiations, cyclical brainstorming, and inter-team conflict, one person tends to take the reins and guide the group toward a beneficial outcome, but it is more than that. Leadership knows each person at the table brings unique perspective, background, culture, education and insight to the business. Leadership within an IT company taps into the differences to unify the team and/or the company, and to develop distinctive ideas and strategies.
The IT industry benefits from networking and collaboration skills. The leader(s) creates a diverse and analytical culture that nurtures innovation, awareness and insight. IT is a complex structure and it takes a team of leaders to make it manageable and secure for all those who embrace it. IT teams with effective leaders use the skills of many to develop strategic IT plans and designs for everyone else.
Leadership is Accountable
Leadership divides the labor among many, which instills a sense of ownership and accountability throughout the industry. Leadership skills are not about discipline and shame, but acknowledgment and growth to help the team members and the company. Effective leadership makes it clear to all that accountability is shared and each role is essential for success. IT leaders do so by raising the bar, establishing standards, and instituting a safe place. When leaders validate the roles of the team members, by promoting happiness and a healthy working environment, personal attention and accountability naturally follow. In the IT industry, accountability establishes a connection between the person and/or team and IT. No one person can do it all, and IT leaders surround themselves with people who are willing to share the burden to protect the integrity of the system, the security of the clients, and the droves of data collected within the system.
Leadership Continues to Learn
An effective leader in IT is one who harbors a drive to learn, to make mistakes, and to tap into the knowledge of others. IT is a fast-paced industry. The rate of change is unlike any other industry. The pressure to control rising costs, and the demand for innovation hovers over the IT industry daily. Leadership is the willingness to learn, to adapt and to re-invent. This permits the IT industry to flourish, to comply with regulations, to adapt to change, and most importantly, to remain engaged.