Five Key Characteristics of Highly Successful IT Leaders
The right leadership can make or break any business. In the information technology space, leadership can be even more challenging. Safeguarding sensitive data, instilling the right atmosphere for innovation and adapting to changes in the marketplace, are all part of the IT leadership equation.
Highly successful IT leaders possess important characteristics which separate them from their peers and enable them to be the best at what they do. Here are 5 of those key characteristics which the best IT leaders have in common, and recommendations for adopting them.
1. Excellent Strategic Planning
Great IT leaders excel at strategic planning. Establishing a good strategic plan for activities and assets is a necessary first step toward good leadership. As a result, Strategic Planning for Information Technology has quickly become a required course of study for future IT Leaders in universities across Canada. While across the border, strategic planning tops the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) list of suggested best practices in information technology.
Here several recommendations for implementing successful plans in the organizational setting:
- Maintain Accountability
Assigning and tracking responsibility for the IT resources of the organization is an important first step in the strategic planning process.
- Think Big
The GAO recommends preparing an enterprise-level plan for the use of IT resources and the acquisition of new programs and software assets that covers the activities of the entire organization. This can provide a valuable framework on which to build future success.
- Incorporate the Mission
Integrating organizational missions and goals into the plan will ensure that it offers the right support for other activities throughout the business.
- Create Annual Reports on Progress
Documenting all aspects of the organizational strategic IT plan is highly recommended by the GAO. This will allow businesses to record progress toward company goals and objectives.
- Trust and collaboration are essential elements in increasing engagement with the goals and objectives of the organization. By encouraging staff members to work as a team and by providing the right tools for IT collaboration, managers can foster an atmosphere conducive to productivity and performance.
- Delegating tasks and sharing leadership roles will also promote a more innovative and integrated workplace. Letting go of some responsibilities will also give leaders a better sense of the strengths and weaknesses of staff members, which can allow more effective deployment of these human resources.
- Outsourcing some functions to a managed IT service provider can sometimes result in improved workflows within an organization and improved function for all IT services. By recognizing the value of expert help, IT leaders may be able to establish cost-effective and practical solutions without a huge investment in onboarding and training new staff members.
2. Always Putting People First
Creating a collaborative working environment is essential to the success of modern IT. The best leaders understand this principle and employ many strategies to accomplish this. According to Gartner a leader in market research and analysis for modern businesses, managing the modern IT team requires a people first approach to inspire employees to participate in the mission of the organization. Here are their recommendations for implementing this:
By focusing more on the human elements of the work process, IT leaders can foster creativity and cooperation in the workplace, which are important for the overall success of the organization.
3. Exceptional Foresight
Another important characteristic of amazing IT Leaders is their exceptional foresight when adopting new technologies. An article published in February 2018 in the International Journal of Medical Informatics outlines necessity for IT leaders to stay current not only with regulatory requirements but also implement the technologies to help the organization achieve success in the future. While the conclusions relate primarily to organizations in the health care industry, the same principles apply to companies in most other sectors of the economy.
The article recommends that meeting frequently with stakeholders and staff members will provide greater insights into the obstacles to progress and allow IT leaders to find the best emerging tools and technologies to overcome these barriers. By taking a longer-term approach to the planning process, it’s possible to increase the scope of the organization’s IT plan and integrate it with other business functions more successfully.
By exercising strong foresight, IT leaders can help their organizations manage IT resources in the most practical and effective ways, while staying competitive regardless of changes in regulations or other market conditions.
4. Fastest Recovery Times
Successful IT leaders don’t only implement practices to prevent data compromises and disasters, they also put strong emphasis on strategies to reduce down time after an incident occurs.
Data compiled by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse indicates that in 2018, more than 1.3 billion records were involved in a data breach. This constitutes a serious risk for companies both in terms of financial liability and in damage to corporate reputation.
A report published by the Ponemon Institute in June 2017, however, indicated that it took an average of 191 days for companies to identify data breaches after they occur.
The best IT leaders understand that in the modern connected environment which we live in, compromises are inevitable. Therefore, the true measure of data security is in how fast the organization can recover.
5. Excel at Time and Resource Management
Time is one of the most precious commodities. The ability to find new ways to free up time for core processes and missions, is a critical characteristic of successful IT leader.
Outsourcing some or all IT functions to a managed services provider, is one solution which enables successful IT leaders to allocate the right amount of time and resources to the mission-critical activities of their organizations, while providing essential IT support to staff.
Putting it all Together
Successful IT leaders know that success is not just about getting the job done. They know that real success is measured by the impact of their leadership on the overall success of the organization.
By integrating these five characteristics as best practices into their everyday routines, IT leaders can promote a forward-thinking culture and can increase the odds of success for themselves and their organizations.
Outsource IT is dedicated to helping IT leaders achieve greater success. Our Managed IT Services offering has been a critical factor in helping our clients to meet and exceed their challenging IT needs. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your organization.