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How to become a better leader

Rich Hein | May 2, 2014
Being a great leader takes hard work and dedication, but most of the necessary skills can be learned if you're willing to put in the time and effort. Here are 13 ways to help transform any manager, in IT or beyond, into becoming a better leader.

Be a Better Networker
It's no secret that there are many in IT who chose their profession because they like working with machines and code better than they like working with people. Unfortunately, this mindset won't fly if you want to be a better leader. That's not to say introverts can't be great leaders, but it often means doing things that go against their natural tendencies. "One of the biggest challenges is that in a world where 75% of people are extroverts there is a tendency to view a quiet, introspective introvert as unsuitable to leadership. This is a wrongheaded conclusion, but it does not take away from the reality of there being a bias against selecting an introvert for a leadership position," says Brush.

According to Brush the key to overcoming this is to work against being typecast at the office. She recommends that instead of declining those group lunches and company events, you should attend them.

Be Consistent and Honest
Part of being consistent and honorable is managing by the age-old adage, lead by example. Your workers will emulate what you do and put out there for others to emulate. Being a consistent and honest leader lets those who work for you and around you know what to expect in any given situation. This in turn gives them a baseline for better decision making when you aren't around.

Know Yourself/Be Authentic
"Employees don't respect phonies and being respected by your employees is something a leader can never lose. If he does watch productivity and quality plummet," says Brush.

Authenticity on the other hand allows you to better connect and build trust with your team and coworkers. It also allows people to better understand who you are and what you expect from them. "...in order to use knowledge correctly you need to know yourself. You won't be a great leader if the context you are in forces you to be someone you're not, "Kirschner.

For more information on how to be an authentic leader read, 10 Ways to Be an Authentic IT Leader

Don't Micro-Manage
"If a leader is micro-managing they will fail because it is impossible to focus on the bigger picture and to micro-manage at the same time. You are either in the weeds of detail or you are managing a department. Also if you have an employee that needs to be micro-managed you should be contemplating how your success can be limited by this, "says Brush.

"In my experience, interviewing dissatisfied employees, this might be the #1 thing that drives talent out the door, and not just IT people. I hear this complaint often," says Burns.

 

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