People who work in IT aren’t, let’s say, the typical team member. IT professionals require a particular set of leadership strategies, according to this article by Cindy Waxer. Unlike other business professionals, IT professionals are singularly focused on projects, and more often than not on the final product. This singular drive is what makes them so useful in the IT field ““ after all, being able to see a complex IT project from start to finish isn’t a skill that comes naturally to most. Citing the book “Leading Geeks: How to Manage and Lead People Who Deliver Technology” by Paul Glen, Waxer talks to how stranded some IT professionals can feel, as “92% of technology professionals work for traditional, non-technical corporations”.
What does this mean for those IT folks? To start with they aren’t dealing with people who are familiar with their concerns and working processes. This means that the business assumes that IT approaches projects the same way that the rest of the company does. According to Glen, this is simply not true. The IT techie needs to see the problem in front of them in order to address it, and thereby need a very organized structure to work in.
The next point brought up in the article is the misconception that techies are evasive when it comes to deadlines. Oftentimes portrayed as committing to any agreed to date for completion, Paul Glen explains that techies often don’t leave any room for “fudging” numbers, which is something that often happens in other areas of the business. This is a sin to most IT professionals, but in the world of business it comes off as flightiness. Add to this the likelihood that IT professionals carry the stigma of being poor communicators, and you have a recipe for frustration between all parties involved.
The way to get past these misconceptions is two-fold. Step one is to simply recognize that the differences exists between IT professionals and the rest of the business. This seems easy, but changing the mindset of an entire workforce who interacts between IT and business is tricky to say the least. The next step is to create channels for IT professionals and business professionals to effectively communicate, interact, and gain value from the relationship.