Do you need to develop leaders in IT differently? Some people think so.
In "IT Leadership is Nothing Special", the author Marc Schiller claims that there are three significant differences for leaders in technology units that are not addressed in general leadership development programs:
(1) different model of leadership
"the focus of IT leadership is more appropriately placed on leading a variety of people through an initiative over time than it is about leading people on a day-to-day basis"
(2) different context
"In place of 'typical' management scenarios, IT professionals need help learning how to address the most common IT problem areas.... leading difficult stakeholders, driving change integration and delivering 'bad' news to senior executives"
(3) different orientation
"Every successful IT leader knows how critical it is to manage user expectations….the method and manner of expectation management as practiced by a front-line project manager is very different from how it is practiced by the CIO"
Whether this advances the dialogue beyond the various books and articles of the past decade about developing IT leaders (e.g., The New CIO Leader, Adventures of an IT Leader, "Unlocking the Performance of the Chief Information Officer", "Mastering the Three Worlds of Information Technology") is a matter of perspective. Few would argue about different competencies, but with the flattening of organizations and with the quickly assembled cross-unit teams, the claim that influence and communication are unique doesn't seem to hold weight. Still, it's worth a read to understand the context. Read Marc Schiller's "IT Leadership is Nothing Special".
Ross/Michigan professors discuss what it takes to lead today and how to best develop leaders.
The term "born leader" often is invoked during times of change and disruption when leadership is at a premium. Are leaders born fully formed or are they developed through experience? How does one acquire those qualities Tom Wolfe called "the right stuff?" Leadership can be taught, but it requires more than lectures and books, say three Ross professors who immerse students in action-based scenarios, simulations and challenges that pull people from their comfort zone and expand their leadership capacity. Introspection and self-assessment are key components. Prof Perry Wooten suggests that skills need to be sharpened and leaders need to invest in developmental opportunities. Teaching leadership is more than just analyzing cases and listening to lectures. It’s learning what to do and how to do it. It should be an action-based learning experience that calls for awareness, self reflection, and the application of new skills and concepts. Teaching leadership demands stretch assignments, where the leader is learning how to bring out the best in the team and to create extraordinary organizations. Read the article, "Leadership Learning Curve".
Developing Leaders to Recognize and Manage Cultural Differences About Confrontation
Everyone knows that a little confrontation from time to time is constructive, right? And the classic business literature confirms it. Patrick Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team, for example, discusses at length how to achieve the right amount of confrontation for ultimate team effectiveness — and concludes that fear of conflict is one of the five major barriers to success. But what if you come from a culture where confrontation is downright rude? Or what if you just happen to have people from such cultures on your team? The fact is that all-American teams — or mono-cultural teams of any nationality — are becoming a thing of the past (except in the classic business literature). In one recent survey, a full 63% of randomly selected respondents at multi-national companies indicated that nearly half of their teams were located outside their home country. It is possible to manage a global team and to reap the benefits of disagreement. But you have to tread carefully, using tactics like the following and respecting the various cultures on the team. Read the HBR blog posting, "Managing Confrontation in Multicultural Teams"
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Former Googler Julie Clow spent five years focusing on team effectiveness, leadership and management, and organizational culture. During her tenure, she discovered the power of freedom and autonomy for creating a thriving workplace. In her book, The Work Revolution: Freedom and Excellence for All, she has distilled her experiences working for companies like Google and Two Sigma Investments to articulate a vision of the future of work. Besides offering some keen insights on culture and practical insights on how to improve engagement, this book is a great reference for anyone who has ever wondered what it is like to work at Google, but more importantly, how individuals can bring some of the Google "magic" to their own organizations. Definitely worth a read. Buy Now
In book The Collaborative Organization: A Strategic Guide to Solving Your Internal Business Challenges Using Emerging Social and Collaborative Tools, Jacob Morgan (the principal and cofounder of Chess Media Group) gives you a strategic approach to building, implementing, and using social and collaborative technologies—such as those created by Jive and Yammer—to create innovative products, solve business problems, and create new processes that will foster lasting success and growth. Buy Now
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