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16 traits of great IT leaders

Rich Hein | Oct. 24, 2013
If you want to succeed as an IT leader, you have to develop a set of traits that will serve you and those around you. Industry leaders and career experts share their thoughts on what behaviors make an IT leader great.

"While there are some things one cannot change about individuals, some leadership traits can be learned. There are very few people who are natural leaders - leadership is something people have to work at. Knowing what your shortcomings are, and recognizing them as such, is half the battle," says Boardman.

Both leaders and managers within IT who don't continue to hone their craft will be left behind. Whether you're the CIO, an IT manager or a developer incorporating the traits listed here will help you grow personally, professionally and ensure your continued success in IT.

They Always Deliver Results
This one, most would say is a no-brainer. In order to be a solid leader or manager for that matter you've got to consistently do what you say you're going to do. "You don't even get consideration if you don't deliver results, "says Robert Reeg, president of MasterCard Technologies & Operations (MTO).

They Are Self-Aware

To be a self-aware leader you must know who you are, before you can look at yourself in the context of your company or in the context of your peers. "I don't believe you can be an effective leader without emotional intelligence and self-awareness. Understanding yourself and your own limitations — what you're good at, what you're not good at, is critical to ensure you are surrounding yourself with the right people that maybe leverage your weaknesses or enhance your strengths," says Dan Brodie, CIO of BuildDirect.

Emotional intelligence is knowing your strengths and weaknesses as well as your emotional triggers. Knowing this will allow you to better focus on the people you interact with, so that you can recognize and interpret what's happening within them, and manage your interactions with them based on their emotions.

This is very difficult to do, according to Rucker, especially in heat of a corporate battle. "It's absolutely vital, though, because emotional intelligence accounts for 80-90 percent of the difference between average and outstanding leaders, and is twice as important as IQ. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen this played out in real-life. Effective leaders know how to gauge the environment and the players, and manage their communication so that the listeners get what their emotions are telling them they need."

They Continue to Learn and Grow
There are always fires to put out and deadlines to meet, but when you don't have a lot of extra time, setting time aside to learn can be difficult. However, professional development and continued growth are the only surefire ways to make sure you don't get left behind in the tech world. Whether you're talking about technical skills or business skills, you've got to continue to evolve.

 

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