The Difference Between an IT Worker and an IT Leader
IT TRULY IS A DREAM JOB FOR SOME, AND YET THE AMOUNT OF COMPLEXITY INVOLVED CAN ALLOW FOR PEOPLE TO BECOME COMPLACENT.
Working within IT is a unique experience. Professionals in this field are often on the cutting edge of technology, and they get to rely on systems that ordinary people can only dream of. It truly is a dream job for some, and yet the amount of complexity involved can allow for people to become complacent.
There's nothing wrong with loving the position you're currently in, but but a problem does arise when this comfort keeps you from innovating. IT departments need leaders, and yet so many refuse the role. If you think you're up for the challenge, these simple tips can help you climb to the top of the ladder.
Leaders aren't afraid to speak their minds...
The hallmark of any good leader is the ability to create and implement new ideas. If you can't influence a company's direction on a certain project, you simply aren't leading correctly. This means that you'll need to develop a sense of when to speak up about a particular issue.
For example, a study from CIO Insight found that 40 percent of respondents said their company lacked a disaster recovery plan entirely, and 40 percent more tested their plan only once annually. That's over two-thirds of IT workers who think their organization's operations could cease to work in the event of a catastrophe.
And yet, a majority of respondents stated that they've run into outages of critical applications in the recent past. This means that despite the fact that a majority of people saw a problem, few or even none did anything to solve it.
The number of failing DR plans is astonishing. This is why it's so vital to have someone willing to speak up in the office. No one wants to be the person to address the elephant in the room, but it's essential to do so before it tramples everyone to death. Therefore, it is up to you to discover the areas in which your company could improve and bring this information to the right people.
Of course, no one likes a know-it-all, and pointing out issues in a patronizing fashion is one of the surest ways to be ignored. To avoid this, try to speak using "we language." Rather than saying "your department needs to rethink the disaster recovery solution," try phrasing the statement like "we are facing major downtime if we don't act now."
...but they know when to stop talking and listen
Speaking up is important, but just as necessary is the ability to close your mouth and learn something. A boss is a person who constantly barks orders, regardless of what his or her subordinates have to say. A leader gives direction, but is open to the possibility that they are wrong.
"A leader gives direction, but is open to the possibility that they are wrong."
If you want to be a leader, you need to understand that you can't know everything. What's more, you must be comfortable with the fact that while you're in a leadership position, you aren't inherently better than your subordinates or peers. These people are smart and talented, and they wouldn't be working at your organization if they weren't. The best way to help ensure your company's success is by utilizing all the resources at your disposal, so make sure you listen to those who have something to say.
Integrity is key
On a similar note, a good leader is one who sets an example for his or her team. The best way to do this is to be an honest and upstanding person, both inside and outside the office. In fact, a survey from the World Economic Forum found that integrity was one of the most important aspects of leadership.
If you want to become an example to your peers or are even vying for a promotion, acting with integrity and respect can help show just what you're capable of. Exactly how you go about doing this will depend on your exact position, but it could be as simple as completing assignments before they're do or just owning up to a mistake when you make one.
Never stop educating yourself
IT is one of the fastest developing fields in the world, and while that certainly makes it exciting it can also make life difficult for those working within the sector. Technology professionals must be highly trained to get their job in the first place, but holding onto it and proceeding to a leadership role requires constant education.
However, most people with full-time jobs don't have the time or money to return to school. Thankfully, education comes in many forms, and those working in IT can find an enormous amount of value in IT certification courses. These classes are designed to help keep you updated on the latest innovations, and they're much cheaper and quicker than traditional college courses. What's more, the list of New Horizon courses is so varied that just about everyone can find the right class for them.
If you want to take your leadership skills to the next level, contact New Horizons today to find the right course for you!