Leaders lead people. There’s no getting away from it; that is what leaders do. If they are not doing that they are not doing the job. This can sometimes come hard to people in IT leader roles. The truth is that no matter how rapid the technological change, no matter how great the environmental uncertainty, if you are not leading your colleagues, you are not leading at all.
You may still be a manager: managers are essential in large organisations. They manage complexity through processes which are pre-set and codified. If the process occasionally doesn’t do the job managers have to fall back on themselves and their teams. Every time this happens a leader is born, provided they have the self- belief and determination to get the job done.
Being a business leader is not about commanding a huge department and exercising power over an army of subordinates. Quite the contrary; that was never very effective and in recent times “command and control” has become “command and ignore”. The better you are at leading the less you have to try to exercise formal authority and control.
Research has identified the key strategies that all successful leaders use and these are now taught as learnable skills.
You start with yourself. Leadership is just about the most compelling subject you could wish to study because you are the subject, and the outcome will be increased personal power and success for you. Working with generations of IT leaders going through this personal development is pretty fulfilling: for me it has become part of my professional life and mission.
In leadership development important personal beliefs and values become conscious, together with many of the presuppositions that have been driving behaviour. This is often experienced as a sense of catharsis or breakthrough and leads to a rapid reappraisal of personal capabilities and ambition. When you find you are so much better at something than you thought you ever could be, you naturally wonder how much more you could achieve.
Next you will want to examine what has been holding you back. Inner conflicts form obstacles to the expression of natural talent and resourcefulness in all of us. Good leadership development will provide the techniques you need to achieve a level of congruence that will resolve these inner conflicts and transform your influence on others. This is the basis on which you will then build your most effective personal leadership style and capabilities.
Armed with increased self-belief and enhanced personal power you do not want to remain what Zig Ziglar calls a “wandering generality”. You need to create a sense of purpose, a mission, a new identity even. Here again a good development programme will help you to define your personal vision and contribution, consistent with what matters most to you as an individual.
Graduates of this process report that they are becoming more creative and successful as time goes on; it has had a profound effect on how they see their jobs and their many other roles in life. Align your personal identity with your chosen mission and engage fully with what you have chosen to do and you can never fail because you will never give up. It sure beats working as a wage slave.
Contact Brinley Platts on 07973 745 640 at CIODEVELOPMENT.COM to find out how you can engage your colleagues and team on the issues raised by this article.