IT Best Practices

Don’t Forget Charisma When Hiring an IT Leader

Why do IT pros frown upon the charismatic? Perhaps it’s because they’ve seen too many business leaders who are all clout and no substance. Yet that’s not always the case. In fact, from the perspective of many business people, IT technicians seem socially inept (albeit technically brilliant). An article for Tech Republic by Patrick Gray discusses the one-sided folly of limiting oneself to technical acumen:

Increasingly, IT is not solely about technical competence — it’s also about an ability to effect change, convince others of a strategic direction, and influence peers in a variety of other business units and external entities. Beyond a reasonable working knowledge of the technologies at play, these types of roles require a very different set of skills that fall under the broad umbrella of charisma.

Mind and Matter

Organizations tend to separate mind from matter when deploying technology specialists. The technicians go one way and sociable leaders the other. Somewhere along the road they meet, and voila, important goals are met and strategies are executed. But this approach is unnecessary according to Gray, and as businesses become more technically integrated and on-demand services more central, it is also unwise.

Creating a ‘Face’ for IT

This is not to suggest that IT people can become instantly charismatic. One can, for instance, drop a programmer into a leadership role and then watch the fallout ensue. This is not advisable but happens all the time. Instead it is best to scrutinize each candidate to determine the level of assistance they will need in their charisma-bound role. Remember, there is no shame in supplementing one skill set with another, such as when a technical guru recruits a friendly ‘face’ for their interactions with corporate officers.

As more and more companies tear down old silos in an attempt to prime innovation and agile decision-making, you the IT person will be making friends in new (and high) places. The need to interact and to manage the social element of work is a prize worth fighting for.

You can read the original article at

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