How To Identify a Tech Leader
Updated: Apr 16, 2020
Leadership is a vital part of any thriving group, whether it be a sports team, army platoon or indeed work team. In the tech space, although we might not always want to admit it, it is just as important, if not more so, and comes in different shapes and sizes.
Leadership can essentially be defined as movement – or more specifically moving people from one direction towards a certain strategy. That is the simplicity of what leadership entails, however the reality of achieving it or someone getting it right is not something that is easily attained.
And by leadership I’m not referring to management or many of its various mentoring and coaching forms, but people that can literally set up a direction and strategy for people to head towards and inspire them to move there.
So, what does it require to not just be a leader, but to be a successful one on the tech space? I will discuss that by breaking it down int 4 specific categories that for the purpose of sounding cool, all begin with the letter C. These are not the only attribute of leadership that exist nor an exhaustive one, but in understanding each of them and being able to assess them correctly, you should be able to identify and determine leaders in your tech space correctly.
Firstly, a person needs to feel called toward the direction they want to move towards. This should no be something that is merely delegated. They should have clear vision and purpose of what they want to achieve and even if all the details are not clear yet, they are committed to figuring these things out to get there. A person with the right calling is deeply passionate, will do whatever it takes to make a success for moving people towards a task and takes personal accountability for the end result, without blaming others. It does not mean they will always be successful, but their passion is evident and they are willing to learn and rectify the ship where appropriate.
You can teach someone how to do the job, but character is something that is much more inherent in an individual (though to a degree, can be nurtured, though not taught). This is the integrity of the person and the truthful, honesty and personal accountability in which they conduct themselves in any driven project. People without a strong character inspire others to follow because they know where they stand and that they have e leader who will be forthright, honest and do the best to do what they say. They are not someone who promises the moon and grandiose dreams with no chance of delivery but will focus on more realistic visions and be aware of their shortcomings and admit their mistakes.
Ultimately in the tech space, a leader also needs to have some level of ability to get the job done. They don’t need to be the strongest developer, a subject matter expert or have the most technical mind, but they need to have a strong enough knowledge of the subject matter to separate the good ideas from the bad, dive deeper and ask the right questions. If you can’t articulate your vision in the right technical terms and delve deeper into the design of the solution, you are going to likely to frustrate people who wont know how to achieve the vision you have for them or get to muddled in the details.
And lastly, chemistry. We are all human beings and have a certain connection with each other. A real leader builds that report with the people around them and knows how to connect with each person individually. The rest of the team doesn’t need to be close, but they do need to feel connected, valued and align to the leader. People don’t just follow a vision or an inspiring technically minded idea, they follow a vision and goal they can connect to and a leader an only bring about this through chemistry.
As companies look to the future, the ability to identify the leaders of the future become more important, even more so trying to harness and develop them over time and hold on to them long-term. Hopefully taking into account the 4 C’s described above will at least make that identification part a little easier for you and help you to put the right leaders in the right places to move your company forward.