The participants in a recent blog came to this conclusion very quickly, which pleased me, although the subsequent discussion wasn’t as focused as I would have liked. An IT Leader’s goal is to work effectively with The Business leadership to help shape and understand Business Strategy, and rally the IT organization to deliver quality products and services that are aligned with that strategy.
I believe that it is the “People Skills” of the IT Leadership that drive the success of IT within an organization. An effective leader must have the ability to interact effectively at all levels, from the Board Room to the Mail Room, and externally, with both Customers and suppliers/partners.
In my view, the IT Leadership must possess the following key people skills:
Be a Listener – you must have strong listening skills – and listen to everyone; both concerns and great ideas can come from many different sources
Be a good Communicator –
- constantly communicate the mission, vision and direction of the IT organization to not only the IT Team, but Business Leadership, Key Stakeholders and Business Partners
- situational awareness – communicate not only organization successes (constantly), but keep people in the loop and manage expectations throughout projects and operational hiccups
Be a Relationship Builder (up, down and across the organization and externally) – based on trust, respect and productive interactions
Be a good Mentor and Coach – mentoring is personally satisfying and rewarding; coaching underperforming team members up-or-out is challenging, but best for the overall health of the organization and the individual
While “people skills” are important in any organization, I believe they are most important to the success and growth of SMB organizations, where the existence of stellar performers or poor performers is magnified; thus, making the people skills of the IT Leader even more important.