7 mindsets of the most effective IT leaders

7 mindsets of the most effective IT leaders

It's more important to be effective than correct: One of seven mindsets that have fueled my leadership career – and might fuel yours

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April 11, 2019

5. You don't decide whether you're a good communicator

I’ve often thought in the past that I’m a good communicator because I talk a lot. But if people don’t understand what you’re trying to communicate, then you’re not getting your message across properly, which means you’re not a good communicator. You can talk and repeat what you say, but if people don’t understand you, that’s your fault, not theirs. They decide whether you’re a good communicator, not you.

[ Read also: 12 bad communication habits to break in IT. ]

6. Look for the problem around the problem

It might be the people, processes, vendors, politics, or culture.

Technical folks have a tendency to focus on the technical problem because it’s the easiest one for them to solve: The cable isn’t plugged in, the VMware host failed, there’s a network problem, or a security issue, for example. If you take a step back, that problem around the problem is the one you really need to focus more time on addressing. The problem around the problem might be the people, processes, vendors, politics, or culture, for example.

7. It’s more important to be effective than right

I sat down with my mentor 15 years ago and he told me, “You know, Robert, you need to stop worrying about being correct and figure out how to be effective.” That was an epiphany for me: I was so concerned about being right that I never took into account other people’s agendas, motives, desires, or focuses. Being right doesn’t matter because that’s not what people care about. They care that you got the job done and that you were effective.

One of the most rewarding parts of being a CIO is grooming talent. I’ve found these tips to be magnificent tools for building more effective leaders. 

[ Why is adaptability the new power skill? Read our new report from HBR Analytic Services: Transformation Masters: The New Rules of CIO Leadership ]

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