Outstanding in your field... or out standing in your field?

John Maxwell has said "If a leader thinks he/she is leading, and has nobody following, he/she is merely talking a walk".

The most important component of your IT leadership is the team you lead.  Too often the discussions of IT leadership revolve around hardware, software, upcoming trends, business cases, and more often than not, the latest gadgets coming down the pipeline.  While all of these are important, it becomes impossible to deliver on anything without a solid team.  As a matter of fact, your team is more likely able to keep the network running, and key operations going without you.

How much time do you invest in your team? Do they have the resources they need to do their job well?  How much have you budgeted for skills upgrading? How much latitude do you provide them in decision making?  Jim Collins in Good to Great outlines the importance of getting the right people on the bus, (and the wrong people off the bus) in order to be able to have your organization deliver excellence. If you as the CIO do not take an active role in determining the skills mix and the culture your IT team should have before you hire new people, then you deserve the organizational dysfunction you likely have. 

There is much to unpack in this area, and  I will do so in future postings, but for now let's stick with this one thought.  If you do not spend as much time in developing your leadership skills as you do in planning your technology infrastructure, then you are missing a key element in your ability to lead a 21st century IT organization.

Otherwise, you will end up as the fellow in the photograph... out standing in your field... all by yourself.


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