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The Benefits of Power Skills for IT Leaders, and How to Build Yours!

The Benefits of Power Skills for IT Leaders, and How to Build Yours!

By Lucy Grimwade
April 17, 2024

Historically, IT leaders were valued primarily for their technical knowledge and ability to solve complex technical issues or problems. As businesses and professions evolve, so has role capability.

Where perhaps some technical knowledge used to be viewed as somewhat essential and is often seen as a benefit – the role of an IT leader now has such a broader set of responsibilities it truly goes beyond SME technical abilities.

Successful IT leaders need to develop and lean into a set of power skills. 

Lacking essential power skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy, communication, influence and directiveness can harm both reputation of the IT leadership team and the stability of IT departments.

From a cost perspective, recruitment expenses are substantial, and low productivity can lead to significant financial losses for businesses annually. Additionally, it can widen the gap between the IT department and other sectors of the business.

It’s not the 90’s anymore. The changing face of IT leadership is shifting as new generations enter the work force. Perhaps now it is more important than ever to have power skills in IT Leadership Teams.

Let’s look at the benefits of power skills in IT leadership:

  1. Effective Communication. IT leaders must communicate technical concepts in a way that is easily understandable to non-technical stakeholders. Strong communication skills enable leaders to articulate their vision, gain buy-in from team members, and build rapport with stakeholders across the organisation.
  2. Emotional Intelligence. Understanding and managing emotions is essential for effective leadership. IT leaders with high emotional intelligence can empathise with their team members, resolve conflicts constructively, and create a supportive work environment conducive to collaboration and innovation.
  3. The pace of change requires IT leaders to be adaptable and flexible in their approach. Leaders who embrace change and demonstrate a willingness to learn new skills can effectively navigate shifting priorities and new or different technologies, driving continuous improvement within their teams.
  4. Empathy and Empowerment. Empathetic leaders understand the individuals’ strengths, challenges, and aspirations of their team members. By empowering employees and providing opportunities for growth and development, IT leaders can build a culture of trust, loyalty, and high performance.
  5. Collaboration and Team Building. IT projects often involve cross-functional teams with diverse skill sets and perspectives. Leaders who excel at collaboration can leverage the collective expertise of their team members, driving innovation and delivering results that align with the organisation’s strategic objectives.

Developing power skills is a continuous personal development activity that requires self-awareness, practice, and feedback.

Here are some strategies for IT Leaders to develop or enhance their Power Skills:

  1. Ask for feedback. Request feedback from colleagues, mentors, and team members to identify areas for improvement to gain valuable insights into how your actions impact others.
  2. Invest in Training and Development. Attend workshops, seminars, or invest in coaching that is focused on leadership, communication, emotional intelligence, and other relevant Power Skills.
  3. Practice Active Listening. Listen attentively to the concerns, ideas, and perspectives of others without judgment. Demonstrate empathy by acknowledging their feelings and validating their experiences.
  4. Lead by Example. Model the behaviours and attitudes you wish to see in your team members. Be approachable, supportive, and willing to collaborate with others to achieve common goals.
  5. Take time to reflect on your interactions, decisions, and outcomes. Identify areas where you excelled and areas where you could improve and use these insights to inform your future actions.

In essence, the future of IT leadership lies in balancing technical expertise with a strong foundation of power skills. By prioritising effective communication, emotional intelligence, adaptability, empathy, and collaboration, IT leaders can inspire their teams, drive innovation, and achieve sustainable success, for themselves, for their team and for the business.

Lucy Grimwade is an Improvement & Leadership Consultant as well as an Accredited ICF Coach. She has worked in global businesses and multiple industries including Banking, Retail and Telco where she has led cross-functional & international teams as well as worked on multi-million £$€ and NDA projects. In 2023, Lucy moved into the freelance space – giving her time to work on co-authoring her first book as well as being involved in various thought leadership projects.

Connect with Lucy here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucygrimwade/


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Disclaimer: The ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of International Institute for Learning or any entities they represent.

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