Rick Delgado feels blessed to have had a successful career in the tech industry and has recently taken a step back to pursue his passion of writing. He's started doing freelance writing where he occasionally works with tech companies like Dell Computers. He enjoys writing about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet.
Every department within a business needs good leadership to succeed, and the IT department is certainly no exception. Good leaders can be hard to find in any profession, but it becomes especially difficult in IT because the business changes so rapidly. New technologies break onto the scene with regularity, and new demands are placed on IT departments frequently. As companies realize the need to foster leadership in IT, they’ll have to ensure their efforts get the results they’re looking for. Fostering leadership requires having an environment that’s built around cultivating young professionals and empowering employees to make good decisions. No matter what role IT workers play, leadership is needed. Here are some useful tips that will help businesses foster better leaders for the future.
Encourage Ideas and Solutions
Problems arise all the time, and in IT, those problems often need to be solved quickly. The main challenge is that IT problems usually require innovative solutions. That’s why businesses need to provide opportunities for their IT workers to create these solutions and propose them without fear of judgment or dismissal. Such a strategy usually needs good forums and channels through which workers and future leaders can submit their proposals. Above all, company executives need to be open to suggestions and innovative ideas. Future IT leaders need to know that their proposals are taken seriously and can lead to company-wide adoption when successful.
Provide Learning Opportunities
Just as businesses should ensure IT workers are comfortable suggesting new ideas, they should also provide added learning opportunities to foster new leaders. Leadership doesn’t just happen; it needs to be developed over time. Sometimes it requires help from companies by making sure their IT workers get opportunities to learn about the latest technologies (like hyperconvergence), new security strategies, and others. This might require executives sending IT workers to industry events, putting them in contact with professional associates, or allowing them to enroll in webinars and training sessions. The more chances IT professionals have for learning, the more knowledge they can bring to the company, and the more leadership qualities they can develop.
Regularly Assess Performance
It’s not enough to provide opportunities, especially if IT workers don’t take advantage of them. To prevent any wasted chances and ensure future IT leaders are progressing, business executives should regularly assess their performance. These evaluations serve as occasional check-ins, looking to see if workers are gaining valuable experiences. They can also check to see if future leaders’ values and competencies fit within the company culture. This strategy also helps executives keep track of each worker’s progress, giving them a way to measure how well their own efforts are doing in producing great future leaders. Companies should also encourage their IT workers to not wait for an executive evaluation and assess themselves.
Investing in IT workers and their leadership development ties into the other points mentioned above. Having the right forums and platforms for idea sharing can only go so far without the right technology on hand. Many learning opportunities (like a training seminar) come with some sort of financial cost. Assessments require an investment of resources, time, and often money. If a business isn’t willing to invest in their IT department, they will rarely be able to foster leadership. A poorly funded IT department is an IT department that lacks the necessary equipment to compete in the rapidly advancing tech world. A well funded IT department, on the other hand, has every resource and piece of technology needed to function well. If the funding isn’t there, innovative ideas won’t come easily and IT workers will focus more on mundane problems rather than looking forward to the future.
Fostering leadership from within IT departments carries many benefits, like advancing IT maturity and promoting more innovation. Businesses would be wise to seize upon this idea and encourage their IT workers to develop their leadership skills. From CIOs to programmers, everyone has the potential to become a capable leader in their organizations, and with the support of the business executives, those goals can be achieved.