Success Tips

Five Tips For Leadership Success In A Technical Field

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Everyone’s experience as a leader is unique, so it’s hardly surprising that there are many different definitions of brilliant leadership. I’ve been leading technical teams for the past several decades, and my view of successful leadership has crystallized as a result. I’m currently the director of solutions engineering at Intelisys and served in the role of CTO for several organizations prior to my current job. These five tips are derived from my experience:

1. Admit When You Don’t Know The Right Answer

You will never know all the answers, especially in the IT world where solutions are constantly being reinvented to meet the new needs and expectations of users. Admit your ignorance to increase the knowledge share for your whole team. Admitting this sets a good precedent, and others will likely feel more free and willing to admit to gaps in their own knowledge.

2. Ask Questions Rather Than Filling In The Blanks

Feedback is a critical mechanism to support your team’s development, but it helps to use questions to kick-start those conversations. For example, if you are coaching an employee on their clarity in a client meeting, it can be much more compelling to ask them how they thought they were received than to hand them an assessment. You’ll get a more in-depth understanding of their choices and be a more effective coach as a result. Similarly, if someone is underperforming, don’t make assumptions about the underlying cause — it might be something you never expected. Try to get their perspective and assume best intentions whenever possible.

3. Engage Your Team In Creating Solutions —&nbsp;Don’t Deliver Verdicts

There are hundreds of solutions to any problem. Yours isn’t necessarily the best solution by virtue of your seniority or experience. Engaging the full creative power of your team in problem solving guarantees more effective solutions. Not only are you likely to hear a wider range of ideas — you’re also less likely to settle for a good solution over the right solution. If you hired intelligent, creative thinkers, they will have worthwhile ideas to which you should listen. Collaborative problem solving also gives team members a sense of ownership, and it increases their level of commitment to new programs, processes or conflict resolution agreements. By allowing your team to come up with the solutions, they take ownership of the solution (and therefore the problem)&nbsp;and are more engaged in the total design.

4. Grow A Team Of Experts

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Shutterstock

Everyone’s experience as a leader is unique, so it’s hardly surprising that there are many different definitions of brilliant leadership. I’ve been leading technical teams for the past several decades, and my view of successful leadership has crystallized as a result. I’m currently the director of solutions engineering at Intelisys and served in the role of CTO for several organizations prior to my current job. These five tips are derived from my experience:

1. Admit When You Don’t Know The Right Answer

You will never know all the answers, especially in the IT world where solutions are constantly being reinvented to meet the new needs and expectations of users. Admit your ignorance to increase the knowledge share for your whole team. Admitting this sets a good precedent, and others will likely feel more free and willing to admit to gaps in their own knowledge.

2. Ask Questions Rather Than Filling In The Blanks

Feedback is a critical mechanism to support your team’s development, but it helps to use questions to kick-start those conversations. For example, if you are coaching an employee on their clarity in a client meeting, it can be much more compelling to ask them how they thought they were received than to hand them an assessment. You’ll get a more in-depth understanding of their choices and be a more effective coach as a result. Similarly, if someone is underperforming, don’t make assumptions about the underlying cause — it might be something you never expected. Try to get their perspective and assume best intentions whenever possible.

3. Engage Your Team In Creating Solutions — Don’t Deliver Verdicts

There are hundreds of solutions to any problem. Yours isn’t necessarily the best solution by virtue of your seniority or experience. Engaging the full creative power of your team in problem solving guarantees more effective solutions. Not only are you likely to hear a wider range of ideas — you’re also less likely to settle for a good solution over the right solution. If you hired intelligent, creative thinkers, they will have worthwhile ideas to which you should listen. Collaborative problem solving also gives team members a sense of ownership, and it increases their level of commitment to new programs, processes or conflict resolution agreements. By allowing your team to come up with the solutions, they take ownership of the solution (and therefore the problem) and are more engaged in the total design.

4. Grow A Team Of Experts

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