IT Leadership: A Few Skills All Managers Should Try to Master

Are great leaders born with it, or are they learned from years of trial and error and personal experience? What exactly makes a great IT leader? Having great leadership skills are an asset for someone looking to move up in an organization. When you possess these skills, you have the golden ticket needed to move up from the lower floors in the company to the executive floor in a short period of time.

While leadership is often seen as the role of those individuals in upper management, front line managers also have leadership skills that are critical to operating any company smoothly. Sure, their influence is not as powerful as upper management’s, but the skills needed to lead at the manager level are quite similar. Keep in mind, most of those in upper management positions were once front-line managers. Developing valuable leadership skills will not only make you a better manager in the present, but they will also give you the skills needed to grow into a senior leadership role in the future.

Good leadership is helpful at all levels of an organization

Whether one is an office manager or a project leader, all good leaders require several skills to help them positively interact with senior management, team members. Matrixed environments, or 3rd party vendor relationships. Employers actively seek and value these skills in candidates they hire.

Here are a few important skills that will help to make you a strong IT leader:

#1. Communication

Seems silly to point this out, it should be a given that we all know this one, but it sometimes gets forgotten or taken for granted. Bosses who don’t communicate effectively get in the way of their team’s effectiveness. Make it a major goal to master every form of interpersonal communication and make it your own: one-on-one, small group, full staff, email, social media, and of course, effective active listening, because a large part of communication involves good listening skills. Leaders should make themselves regularly available to discuss issues and concerns with their employees. Have an open-door policy, or have regular team meetings.

#2. Motivation

Leaders need to inspire their workers to go the extra mile for their organization, ensuring it will survive in perpetuity. Paying just a fair salary to employees is typically not enough to inspire just about anyone (although it is still important). There are many ways to motivate your workers: you may build employee self-esteem through recognition and rewards, or by giving employees new responsibilities to increase their investment in the company. There are 4 key motivators to remember for all employees, known as the 4 “R’s”: responsibilities, relationships, rewards and reasons. Take the time to determine which combination works best for your unique situation, and apply them to encourage productivity and passion in their work.

#3. Ability to Influence and Persuade

It’s not just for salespeople anymore! The valuable art of persuasion must also be embraced by IT leaders as well. IT leaders must often “sell” their ideas to others and having the skills to do this can be the difference between success and failure. If you have a project or initiative you want to be implemented and successful, it will, without a doubt, take the help of others to get it off the ground.  Often these people must be persuaded to give you the help that is needed. Being influential and persuasive does not mean using fear or threats to get your way. It is not using your authority to demand something be done. It’s often like a negotiation, a little give and take by both sides. It helps to be a charismatic leader, but a reputation of achieving results can help establish credibility, get others on-board as “willing” contributors, and share in the success.

#4. Show Positivity

A positive attitude can go a long way in the office. It’s ok to laugh at yourself when something doesn’t go quite as you wanted it to; this will help create a positive work environment for everyone, even during those intensely stressful periods. If employees feel they work in a happy and healthy environment, they will be more likely to want to be at work, and will therefore be more willing to put in the extra effort when they are asked to.

So, advance your career: Learn these skills, refine these skills, and never stop practicing these skills as well as others. If you already possess these leadership skills which are constantly in high demand from employers, now might be a great time to talk with one of our IT Staffing Professionals here at CultureFit. CultureFit Technology Staffing is a full-service Chicago IT recruiting firm for corporate cultures and IT professionals that value organizational fit, employee satisfaction, and an extremely high level of technical IT skill.