In 2011, author Bob Lewis published the book, “Leading IT: Still the toughest job in the world, Second edition.” The book tackles some of the most challenging areas to address in an IT organization. Often the problems have little to do with the technology nor the process. The issues usually have to do with the people, inside and outside of the IT organization.
Here are the takeaway lessons I picked up from reading the book.
Communication is the core skill of leaders. Communication consists of three major activities: listening, presenting, and persuasion.
Listening is how leaders avoid ignorance and making the incorrect assumptions.
Leaders present information effectively to enable followership. Followership requires specific knowledge and context so that the followers can make decisions intelligently.
Persuasion is the essence of leadership. A leader will sell the problem, the solution, and the plan, in that order. Persuasion also requires establishing trust.
Money is an IT leader’s most powerful communications channel at her disposal. If the pay and the message do not line up, people will ignore the leader’s words.
The most important communication skill of all is empathy. If a leader can figure out how the world looks from her employee’s eyes, she can put herself in a much better position to persuade.