IT Management: Effective Leadership Strategies

Leadership is a word that seems to remain in the spotlight because of the power and attention it draws. One who can effectively lead can singularly transform a company’s culture (like when Steve Jobs turned Apple around) or build an empire out of a garage-based business (like Bill Gates). Leadership is often one of the most misunderstood concepts in IT, and takes both years of professional development and an open mind. Here are the a few key leadership strategies to stash in your professional repertoire.

1. Be objective. Measure initiatives by performance, not by arbitrarily developed schedules or projects that “didn’t quite work out like it’s supposed to.” This especially includes pet projects you may have had your hopes up for and failed, or projects that went well that you expected to fail. Use what works, regardless of who designed it.

2. Open new lines of communication. Every IT role requires some level of collaboration, and the more effective the communication, the greater the results. IT professionals need to feel as if their input is valuable, even if it’s not always the most diplomatic (although diplomacy is always best, and a necessary trait in leadership… not all of your subordinates may be as adroit as you). Reciprocally, encourage your team to speak candidly and to “check egos at the door.”

3. Praise your workers. This cannot be stated in strong enough terms. Give them a plaque, send out an e-mail, recommend them for promotion, or just make a positive comment in front of higher management to put their name on the radar. Positive reinforcement yields greater results than any other method.

4. Strategize. Create clear, realistic goals, sub-goals, and outline the means to obtain them. These goals should not be only yours, but your team’s ideas as well – developed in part by their input and experience. If you create goals for them, without their insight, there isn’t much motivation. Studies show that having your team help you craft the goals generates motivation and the “buy-in” required to accomplish them.

5. Create cohesion. Your team should be a singular functional unit – one organic group of individuals who collectively comprise your A-team. (If they’re not an A-team, it’s a good idea to begin looking for new talent). Take time and develop your team culture, build cohesion, and generate enthusiasm among members.

Volumes have been written about leadership, but so many ideas are lofty and abstract that they’re difficult to implement with any real pragmatism. Follow these strategies and you will transform any team into the all-stars the visionary in you has been longing for.

Developing talent is only half of the equation, though. There has to be a pre-existing talent pool to work with. At CultureFit, we can help. We work with businesses and candidates to establish the best fit for maximum long-term productivity. We thoroughly vet and screen candidates, and match their soft skills with a company of a similar mindset. We only retain the elite talent, but we have a wide network and diverse skills. Contact us today for a consultation to see how we can help your business.