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10 ways to be an authentic IT leader

Rich Hein | July 16, 2013
Getting all your people onboard and moving in the same direction is paramount to success in the fast-paced environment of IT.

Trust is gained in a number of ways, according to Rucker. "Regardless of what process you use, you want to lead in such a way that people know that you are honest, fair and you are concerned about others."

3. Lead with Vision
In order to do this you have to lift your head out of the daily trenches of the workplace and get a good understanding of what's going on inside your niche of the IT industry. An authentic leader genuinely cares about what's happening in the industry, his or her company, and the employees within it. A great leader can mold all of those into a successful and achievable vision.

"The more I trust that my leaders have a vision and I can trust them to behave in consistent ways, based on clear values, to achieve that vision, particularly if that consistency involves watching out for the interests of everyone on the team, I'm more likely to be increasingly engaged in the effort," says Eiler.

4. Have a Clear Strategy (and Execute on It)
"It's one thing to have vision, and another thing entirely to turn that vision into strategy," says Rucker. Experts agree that you can't wait for someone to hand you a great strategy; you need to build one yourself. You need to know your business, your competition, your customers and what's going on in your industry in order to do that.

5. Be a Better Listener

Oftentimes ideas come from unexpected places and if your employees feel like they can approach you with an idea and not be scorned, ridiculed or dismissed you might be surprised at what you find. "Listen - not just hear people moving their lips, but listen to them and try to incorporate their ideas to make your vision and plans stronger," says Eiler.

5. Be Transparent
It today's IT and management, in general, things tend to be siloed. We need to break that mold in order to be as productive and innovative as we possibly can. In order to be an authentic IT leader you need everyone you work with to understand your vision, your values, your goals and your plan. This means putting it all out there, such as what you do well and what you don't do so well.

"Some of the best leaders I've ever had the pleasure of working with relished the opportunity to build a group of peers who were talented and valued, with each one knowing that they were an integral link in the chain of success. The same leaders shared information freely inside our circle of trust. That built an environment where we not only worked with each other, but for each other, because everyone knew the score and worked toward a common goal," says Rucker.


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