Experience and technical skills will always hold merit in IT, however as the workplace is evolving, the IT department is no longer seen as a standalone environment; instead, it is heavily reliant on teamwork and consistent collaboration across an organisation.
Leadership is a trait that is recognised on a global scale. Being a leader implies that an individual can manage a group of people in a way that allows them to flourish. Leadership demonstrates versatility and adaptability, and Deakin University’s Professional Practice degree in IT leadership is designed for IT managers that are looking to gain formal recognition for the skills and experience they have acquired in the workplace. The course content focusses on credentials such as communicating effectively, self-management, teamwork and ethical decision making at a strategic leadership level. Research and development in Information Technology are ascendible across the globe and in any industry.
When discussing communication skills, it can often be taken for granted because we communicate and engage with people every day. However, for a leader or manager, there are effective ways to communicate with your team versus ineffective ways. Communication is more than just delegating tasks and giving orders, it should revolve around team effort. In this style of working, there is an inclusive culture, in which all team members are valued for their opinions and contributions, which can only result in better collaborations. The role of the manager has evolved over time from only dealing directly with the boardroom; to also managing numerous stakeholders. Possessing the appropriate skills to communicate with people across all business levels is imperative.
The term leadership is often confused with management. Yes, these two terms can be synonymous. However, the significant difference between the two is that leaders should inspire and have a team that follows them, whereas managers have a team that works for them. According to Forbes, management can be defined as directing, controlling, dicing or handling, whereas, leadership is about influencing, coaching, guiding and is more focused on the development of the team rather than the individual.
Influence and Empowerment of Employees
Successful leadership means providing the correct information and being as transparent as possible when allocating tasks. A true leader should also take a step back and allow their team to be autonomous. It has been proven through extensive research that when an employee is independent and trusted they are more productive and proactive resulting in efficiency and employee satisfaction. For example, in a recent study about autonomy and wellbeing, it was demonstrated that when individuals have greater control over their task and schedules it can generate vital benefits for the employee, resulting in higher levels of wellbeing. People are often willing and capable but may feel like they are not trusted in the workplace to allocate or complete a task without constant supervision. Ultimately, giving power is much more influential and beneficial than micromanagement.
Openness and Acceptance of New Ideas
When a leader is flexible and open to new ideas, they provide a supportive environment, which is the type of individual often sought out by potential employers. One of the main reasons the workplace requires leaders versus traditional managers is that leaders are skilled in operating in unpredictable situations. As such, by having leadership qualities, they are thinking of innovative ways to increase productivity through the introduction of new systems or tools. Employees flourish in a supportive and inclusive environment and through continuous encouragement, employees are more likely to consider a new change and innovate themselves within the organisation.