An IT leader can occupy different positions. It can be a CIO, a CTO, a data manager, an analyst, and a team leader. But, regardless of the position, the main task of the leader is to accompany the team to achieve certain goals. A leader should constantly update his knowledge and improve his skills in order to do this effectively. For example, he should read the best books for CTO, learn to organize team building, listen to each team member, and much more.
There are three main areas in the “responsibility zone” of a technical manager: technical experience, team support, and innovation.
What exactly does this mean? First, the manager needs to have superiority in technical terms. He needs this to be able to implement (and then check) the methods and standards of work accepted and realized by the whole team.
Secondly, he must know how to lead an IT team. He must facilitate and motivate, organize the proper workflow, and provide support so that the team can run smoothly.
And thirdly, the leader must be the driving force behind innovation, testing new things, finding new solutions, and experimenting. He should be an example for every member of the team.
That’s why teams have tech leads based on these abilities. This applies to software architects, team coordinators, or people involved in innovation. In practice, their work comes down to determining the general course of work, analyzing code and design, choosing specific tools and frameworks, allocating time, delegating tasks, monitoring group activities, etc.
Key Skills Required for an IT Leader
All IT leaders face countless challenges, including the rapid pace of change in the industry, the complexity of systems and processes, budget constraints, and security concerns. The acquisition of some personal skills can increase the efficiency of work in modern conditions.
Communication And Support
The ability to communicate effectively with the team, as well as communicate with partners/customers, is of paramount importance to a leader. You need to be able to keep track of all the inner workings and identify strengths and weaknesses. Strengthening weak points is the key to increasing the value of the team and professional growth.
Building and encouraging team spirit, mutual trust, and an environment in which it is safe to make mistakes is the hallmark of a good technology leader. A leader must bring out the best in people, maintain morale, and build trust between the IT department and senior management.
When you have dozens of unfinished business and hundreds of things to keep in mind, you just don’t have much time to think. Often you have to make quick decisions that can affect the entire organization. Therefore, if you want to improve as a leader, you must recognize the importance of decisive behavior and strive to behave in that way.
Intelligence And Clarity
A smart IT leader must be able to explain complex systems and processes to non-tech people in a clear and concise manner.
This is even more important when you are working on a specific issue with the developers. You must explain the solutions you propose. These decisions may not be simple, but their explanations should be clear. If your team doesn’t catch what you’re talking about or doesn’t understand your instructions, then you have a problem.
Problem Solving And Strategic Thinking
In fact, every person in the IT world and every tech lead is a problem solver. It can be called an art, which requires both an analytical and a creative mindset.
In general, the process of finding a solution includes a preliminary understanding of the essence of the problem, asking the right questions, visualizing certain processes, evaluating opinions, choosing one or more of them, and monitoring the results.
As for IT leaders, the process of solving is often about breaking down a problem into pieces that the team can solve, as well as clearly explaining options or solutions to the team, clients, and superiors.
Managing teams of tens to hundreds of employees is next to impossible without task delegation. Leaders in IT must be able to select the right people who can help with a variety of daily tasks.
It is quite natural that one person cannot be equally good at everything, so there is nothing wrong with assigning tasks to another person who will complete them better and faster. This is one of the main reasons why companies switch to outsourcing.
Delegation of authority helps companies move towards achieving their business goals. It can also be a motivating factor. For example, when new hires are assigned small tasks, it boosts their self-confidence.
Don’t Neglect Soft Skills
Anyone who wants to be a good IT leader needs to work on their soft skills as well. These include:
- Honesty. In order for your team members to operate with confidence, especially in the face of business transformation, they need to know that they have a strong leader acting in their best interest.
- Sense of humor. This is a necessary quality to lead, motivate and uplift the spirit of the team. A boss who understands jokes can easily relieve tension in a team and create a sense of camaraderie.
- Time management. This includes scheduling, prioritizing, and setting proper deadlines for tasks. All this is sometimes underestimated, but focusing on the timeliness of deliverables is vital for any IT project.
- Empathy. It is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and understand their complexities. Empathy helps in building connections, evaluating alternatives, and choosing the best approaches for teamwork.
In most cases, the main task of a technology leader is to deliver a product on time and with full functionality. IT leadership is critical to the success of any business. If you are looking for a progressive leader, it is best to turn to professionals. The international company Alcor with Ukrainian roots provides IT personnel recruiting services in Poland, Romania, and other countries of Eastern Europe. Experience and deep knowledge of the IT industry allow a company to find a valuable employee with the right skills for a client in a moderate period of time.