Tag Archives | development

Technology Leadership Series: Caring

There’s an old adage that is used quite often. In fact you can probably find a cross-stitched pillow bearing this monicker at any craft store. It says, “People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.” It’s certainly sometimes true, but I never ask my mechanic how much he cares about my car, or me, before I ask him to change my oil. One of the most important pieces to the puzzle of corporate culture is is whether or not employees can consistently answer the question “Does my supervisor, or someone at work, care about me” with a yes. Employees want to work for managers and leaders who are caring.

Do you UNPLUG? Are you, as a technology leader, CIO or CTO view your employees as people or as resources? Are you caring enough to allow your employees to unplug? A good indication of how much a company or a leader cares is the balance they create, and insist on, between work and non work. I have worked places that have really struggled with this- requiring me to be available for phone calls and emails when I was on vacation, even internationally; or discouraging me from taking vacation altogether. I’ve also worked for companies which required all employees to use all their vacation days each year. As a leader, caring can simply be allowing your employees to have a life outside work that is more important than their life at work.

Do you DEVELOPAnother old anecdote has a Mid and Senior Level executive talking, the mid-level executive asking the Senior if they can send some employees to training. The senior executive replies with “what if we pay for their training, they develop the skills the need, and then they leave?” The mid-level executive ponders for a minute then retorts “what if we don’t train them, and they never leave?” One key way to be caring os to develop your people. Nothing is more caring than helping and allowing your employees to be able to take the next step in their career, even if it isn’t with your company.

Do you REWARD? Recognizing employees’ contributions is a free, and easy, way of affirming a culture of caring. Whether it is sharing positive customer experience feedback throughout the company, or regularly scheduling appreciation lunches, employers who recognize and reward the hard work their employees contribute understand the value they bring to the organization.

Caring is significantly more than remembering birthdays, and writing get well soon cards when people are sick; although these are important as well. An easy way to retain key employees is to be caring, allowing them to unplug when they need and want too, pouring resources into developing them for the next step and then rewarding employees’ success regularly.

Each Friday, for the next several weeks, a new post will be released with another key characteristic of what it takes to be successful in technology leadership. These posts are in no particular order; I’d love for you to provide feedback and let me know if you think I’m missing something, or if you’d like to see a particular trait addressed please feel free to email me, or leave a comment. I’m hoping this will be a useful dialogue about what is necessary to become a successful technology leader.

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Leadership, Technology

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Technology Leadership Series: Management Skills

Technology Leaders, CIO’s and CTO’s must be more than good manager  to be successful. However, it’s difficult to have success in an organizational leadership role without having strong management skills.  Management skills extend beyond some of the typical roles of a manager one might think: scheduling employees, hiring applicants, ensuring adequate coverage and meeting goals. Strong management skills include a dedication to not only improving their individual performance, but also the performance of their team. Successful leaders develop the talent they manage, preparing them for future advanced roles within the company. Successful leaders motivate their team to accomplish more than expected, and exemplify excellence as the standard.

In college I worked in retail and food service, arguably two of the worst managed industries. I’ve had terrible managers that used their authority to manipulate and coerce employees; but, I’ve also had several incredible managers who motivated me to be a better employee and person. I can recall one day, while working in a restaurant, I was vacuuming carpet and I saw the store’s General Manager walk out from the restroom with a cleaning cart. Jokingly I asked what he was doing, and didn’t he have someone to do that for him, since after all he was the manager. He smiled and explained the cleanliness of a bathroom can have a impact on a guest returning to the restaurant. Even cleaning a bathroom can increase the restaurant’s success; his job as a manager was to increase the restaurant’s success even if it meant scrubbing toilets.

A successful CIO must be proficient in directing and supervising people, projects, resources, budgets, vendors and other business partners is essential. In addition, great management skills entail team building, motivation, coaching and mentoring. Great managers ensure priorities are set appropriately and projects are completed on time and budget. . People with great management skills take advantage of delegation to ensure all work gets done and to engage team members in the success of the organization.  Organizations require excellent managers to be successful; the level of management skills in an organization’s leadership can be a good barometer of the organization’s health.

Each Friday, for the next several months, a new post will be released with another key characteristic of what it takes to be successful in technology leadership. These posts are in no particular order; I’d love for you to provide feedback and let me know if you think I’m missing something, or if you’d like to see a particular trait addressed please feel free to contact me, or leave a comment. I’m hoping this will be a useful dialogue about what is necessary to become a successful technology leader.

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Leadership, Technology

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The Value of Continued Learning

I’ve worked in the audiovisual industry for the better part of a decade. Being experienced in higher education classroom A/V, pro sound, video editing and studio recording I thought I had a great grasp on all things A/V. After this week, however, I’ve come to find my grasp isn’t as tight as previously thought. Don’t get me wrong, my knowledge didn’t deteriorate, nor did everything I know become obsolete, methods and standards didn’t change over night either. Rather, I took a three day class on all things audio video in preparation for a certification exam. For three days I sat in a room with 40 or so people from various portions of the a/v industry in a multitude of vertical markets; for three days we shared stories, and complications that are both universal and also specific to certain verticals. 

My point is, though the information discussed wasn’t groundbreaking, or unfamiliar to me; the value in the experience is two fold- first, networking with fellow industry professionals, especially those from other vertical markets is invaluable. The second point is learning, and pursuing new ideas and information is absolutely vital to being successful. As I said previously, I didn’t lose any knowledge, but rather had my eyes opened to a lot of other opportunities for growth and learning that I had not previously considered. 

What do you think?

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Personal Development

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