Leadership is both a challenge and a blessing. It is transformational in its core essence. It is a unique opportunity to get a vision from abstract into material, from generic to specific, from dreams to realities.
Over the past years I have been in different IT leadership capacities, which provided a rich context for continuous personal and career development for peers, subordinates, supervisors as well as for myself.
Today, I am writing about 10 Qualities of IT Leaders to illustrates my reflections and lessons learned which might shed the light on critical traits needed to succeed in such senior role.
Leaders understand that things take and need time, specially in a startup environment where no structure exists. Time is a critical factor, sometimes a challenging factor against a leader realizing a vision or a goal. Coping with delays and obstacles makes the difference between a successful leader and otherwise.
2- Creativity and innovation
Finding creative and innovative ways to solve challenges, constraints and obstacles is vital. Leaders face these daily, and applying innovative and creative tactics to handle obstacles is a key differentiator of a high caliber leader.
3- Understanding and caring
Having a broader understanding of the motives, behaviors and rationales behind stakeholders actions or reactions means a lot to the leader when it comes to decision-making and reacting to sudden and prompt events. In this context, emotionally intelligent leaders are the most successful leaders.
5- Openness and transparency
Using various communication channels be open and accessible with the team members and stakeholders to break barriers and close the door against misunderstanding. Transparency with the team will fortify relationships and minimize conflict.
6- Sharing and involving
Getting everyone involved enriches the sense of responsibility needed to keep tasks, activities and projects moving with least follow-up and monitoring. Sharing concerns and issues and seeking input and feedback is a very helpful technique of building involvement. Keeping the team engaged through team building, monitoring, follow up, and continuous guidance and coaching meetings and workshops.
7- Dedication and commitment
Passion is all that is needed for a leader to be successful. Passionate leaders allocate countless hours and abundance of effort. A passionate leader will be there early before anyone in the team and will be there late after everyone leaves. Commitment and dedication are contagious. This is a very good leading-by-example lesson.
8- Decentralization and empowerment
Leaders doesn’t do things themselves; they get other to do them. Leaders develop leaders through empowerment and decentralization, which enhances a sense of commitment within the team and opens the door for team development and growth. Decentralization is a true measure of successful leadership. A leader eager to empower team members will definitely gain commitment in return.
9- Contextual and resourceful
Know your stakeholders and manage their expectations. Context aware leader successfully manages stakeholders expectations. Among key stakeholders are team members. Know the capacity of your team and make use of it, develop it, nurture it, encourage extracurricular activities among your team. All this transforms an ordinary leader into a resourceful leader.
To succeed, leaders needs a punch of skill sets. Leaders should be highly organized, with superior time management skills. Presentation and communication skills is a game changer.
Last but not least, the IT leader is a lifelong learner. I can’t emphasis more the importance of this trait. Seeking knowledge and wisdom is a key ingredient of the leader success formula.
From my point of view, these qualities are the driving forces which keep leaders motivated and moving forward.