With the advent of new technologies like cloud computing and big data, the role of IT in businesses is becoming ever more prevalent. IT leaders stand at the forefront of this development, guiding companies in adapting to the new digital age.
The importance of an effective IT leader cannot be understated. Unlike traditional organisational leaders, IT leaders deal with a host of challenges unique to the IT sector. Continually changing technologies, complex mass integrations of systems, cybersecurity threats, and inefficient legacy systems are just some of the numerous obstacles that they face on a regular basis.
And IT leaders do not just deal with IT. Other than managing the practical aspects of digital operations, they also have to manage IT professionals under their purview. This marrying of technical and interpersonal skills makes a good IT leader integral to the success of any company.
But what really makes an IT leader a great one? If you are considering a career as an IT leader, here are some of the key qualities that you should possess.
Willing to learn
As a hardworking IT leader, it can be easy to get swept up in the hectic schedule of working life. With a constant barrage of deadlines to meet and problems to solve, you may be left with little time to think about anything else. It is natural to want to push personal development to the wayside, in favour of more pressing work-related issues.
However, an IT leader cannot be complacent when it comes to keeping up to date. Regardless of your specialisation, developments in IT and IT service management can progress at a break-neck pace. If you fail to keep your finger on the pulse of the IT sector, you may find yourself out of touch with the rest of the industry, or worse yet, your colleagues.
As such, it is imperative that you make time to upgrade yourself. Take some time out of your busy schedule to develop your technical and soft skills, whether it be through reading books or attending educational courses.
One of the most important and widely applicable sectors of IT is cybersecurity, which you can easily educate yourself on through external educational institutions. For example, several institutions offer a certified ethical hacker course in Singapore. The course equips you with the knowledge you need to conduct and understand penetration testing, an important skill to have when maintaining your IT systems’ security.
While it is crucial to develop the self, IT leaders must also be able to bring out the best in their team members. No man is an island, and it is unlikely that you have the time or knowledge to run all the IT operations by yourself.
Delegation is necessary for a team to run smoothly, such that the work is divided efficiently. This way, team members can also compensate for one another’s strengths and weaknesses.
That being said, you must operate in good faith to ensure amicable team dynamics. While a more commanding, authoritative approach may have worked in the past, times have changed.
Today, the most optimal way to deal with your team members is through building a culture of empowerment and collaboration. This not only builds trust between yourself and employees but also allows you to capitalise on their expertise in a way that a top-down approach cannot.
Fostering such an environment can be challenging in the result-driven working world, but is definitely achievable. There are various IT service management courses which can equip you with the tools you need to make this a reality. The ITIL 4 Foundation training online course is exceptional for this purpose.
A forward-thinking IT leader is a successful one. While your job principally revolves around IT, you have to consider the bigger picture as well. IT has become inextricably linked to the inner workings of every aspect of running a business, from customer service to supply chain management. For all its limitless potential, it is up to you to decide how IT can grow the business.
For this purpose, you cannot lose sight of the company’s overall vision. You have to actively keep yourself aligned to the business objectives, and think about how IT can contribute to those goals.
On the other hand, there is no shame if you cannot think of any innovative ideas. As a leader, your primary goal is to unlock your team’s fullest potential. There are times where members of your team demonstrate initiative and come up with brilliant ideas themselves. Give them the chance to shine, and your company and team members will be better off for it.
As an IT leader, you need to have the qualities necessary to juggle the technical and social aspects of managing an IT team. Beyond that, you also have to constantly develop yourself to stay ahead of the curve.
But that can be hard, given that IT leaders are often up to the teeth with work. Fortunately, several reliable educational institutions providing Project Management online training in Singapore offer convenient and accessible options for busy IT professionals like you.
Here at BridgingMinds, we have a suite of IT and IT service management courses that can help you manage the IT operations of any business. Join us to equip yourself with new skills and ensure that your business operations remain secure and smooth.