5 Essential Skills for the IT Leader

    Never before has business success been so dependent on technology. Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics and the need to secure all of that has meant that the business depends more and more on IT.

    This all means that IT has a seat at the C-suite. The IT leader is required to not only direct the business in what technology to buy to meet strategic plans, but that person must also lead the IT team on how to implement and maintain that technology.

    Being a leader in the IT industry is different from being a leader in any other industry. Successful IT leaders have to have very specific skills, but still know how to run a team. And that means they must master the so-called soft skills that are not taught formally. To become successful, and remain so, strong IT leaders take initiative in educating themselves in a variety of aspects of the tech industry; they delegate tasks in order to improve efficiency and maximize the strengths of team members; and they focus on problem solving – or find someone who can, if they need backup. Read on to find out more about the skills that really help get the job done.

    In a recent email conversation, Bill Peppler, managing partner at Kavaliro, an award-winning IT recruiting firm, talked to IT Business Edge’s Toni Bowers about what successful IT leaders do.

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    How to Be a Successful IT Leader

    Click through for skills IT leaders need to master to successfully lead an IT organization.

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    IT Leaders Continue to Learn and Grow

    IT leaders don’t just stop their education when they get to their dream position. They take initiative to go above and beyond when it comes to learning new skills and earning certificates within the IT industry. Even though most leaders don’t even have time to think about continuing education, IT leaders need to make sure that they don’t get left behind in the tech world. It is imperative to continue to evolve as the industry is constantly changing. As new coding languages come out, learn them! Take an online class or head to your local college to stay ahead of the game.

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    IT Leaders Delegate

    When it comes to teams, IT leaders need to surround themselves with people who will help make their life easier on a day-to-day basis. It is important to find employees who complement their strengths and weaknesses. If you are not great at documentation, for example, hire a team member who is.

    IT leaders also need to know when to delegate certain tasks, and when to help others who are falling behind. They need to inspire others to move along on the right track.

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    IT Leaders Create a Safe Environment

    Creating a safe-to-fail environment where employees are encouraged to think outside of the box and take chances will ignite innovation in the workplace. With the constantly changing IT landscape, innovation is key.

    People will be more willing to take on the difficult projects when they have a leader who will motivate them every step of the way. The leader will need to define the boundaries of this environment, and show how to act when “failures” do happen. While it’s a difficult environment to maintain, it truly makes all of the difference.

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    IT Leaders Have Outstanding Problem Solving Skills

    Most leaders are problem solvers at heart. This is another skill that most IT professionals working in the industry have as well. If problem-solving isn’t your strong suit, then find someone on the team to help you work on this skill. Letting the team know you rely on them will help them rise to the challenge.

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    IT Leaders Have a Sense of Humor

    Humor will always be an important skill when it comes to office morale. To be a leader in any industry, you need to realize that you cannot take everything seriously all the time. But IT is full of surprises and demands, so a sense of humor for dealing with those is especially welcome. Loosen up a bit, and enjoy the little things at work.

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