While time and effort are essential, the most crucial key to translating your vision into reality are the attributes of a leadership team to write a humongous success story. The adage, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” quintessentially reminds everyone of the time needed to build great things. Tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Tesla waded through the test to become hugely successful. It was only possible because thoughtful and visionary leaders drove them.
Out of the many, only a few can turn into a trillion-dollar global giant someday. Success does not happen overnight, and there is no specific formula to achieve it. But every company leader can draw insights from the importance of leadership in business and the practices followed by the most popular tech companies to be where they are today.
Who is a Leader?
Successful technology leaders address challenges in novel ways or communicate new technological ideas in unconventional ways. Typically, technology leaders come from the initiation of new technological developments.
Leadership expert & author Simon Sinek claims leadership to be a learnable talent that can be honed like a muscle and practiced over time. To be a great leader, you need to learn the skills like exercising a muscle or learning a foreign language with a curriculum, guidance, and support.
This article focuses on leadership lessons and 5 qualities of great leadership as listed below.
Five Qualities of Influential Leaders in the Tech Industry
1.Transitioning from Vertical to Horizontal Approach towards Development – Gone are the days when making decisions rested solely in the hands of the boards.
True leaders are like doctors who educate patients and persuade them to manage their conditions. A doctor aims to turn patients into collaborators who can change their behaviors in their self-interest to improve their conditions. Likewise, organizational doctors are like interactive leaders who collaborate with employees and share the same view for a common cause (organizational goals).
Let’s take an example of the early days of a startup having three designers, an engineer, and a project manager. The total employee strength is minimal, but everyone works together and knows who is doing what.
Gradually, the company grows and now has 110 employees working on 30 different projects. In the latter case, collaboration with many people becomes difficult without a horizontal leadership approach. This is the new leadership – where the leader has influence and prompts reciprocity across the organization, not just vertically, in silos.
2. Creating a Pioneering Team Spirit – Don’t you agree that it takes an orchestra to create a rhythmic symphony? Unlike the old days, today’s orchestra teams are enormous, so a master/conductor is needed to help the team play in accord and adhere to the music’s rules in solidarity to create a vision on stage.
On a similar note, leadership is about building the willingness and desire of people to help each other, work together, and make them supportive and loyal to steering towards a shared vision. Coach John Wooden – the legendary UCLA basketball coach, is an example of a leader who impacted teams for success. Those with experience playing with him know he was much more than a coach. He was a master motivator, a mentor, and a teacher who knew how to get the best and more out of his players.
According to the Coach, building team spirit is the core responsibility of a leader who can do it by convincing every team member to be ‘eager to join the group, not just willing’. To win, the team comes first, and individual credit becomes secondary. There is no room for envy, egotism, and selfishness.
So, how can a Leader build team spirit?
● Practicing humility – A leader must give credit to his members for good work and inspire them to improve if the reverse happens.
● Praise in public, criticize in private – This is a critical attribute that inspires trust and respect from the team.
● Train members how to communicate with each other – Avoid biased and embarrassing criticism and gossip.
3. Adaptability to a fast pace – Yes, we may be past it, but the pandemic was a crash course for world citizens and corporates in many ways. When the pandemic hit the world, leaders of different nations came together to fight the circumstances and new challenges. At the beginning of 2022, as per a report, the United States contributed 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccines through COVAX to improve access for lower-income economies, and Sweden provided an additional approx. US$243million vaccines.
Global leaders came together to offer committed support for equitable access to COVAX and COVID-19 vaccines. Many leaders took the initiative in their country to reach vaccines to billions of people. Several developed and underdeveloped countries assailed the tough times by adapting to the changed situations and fighting the odds together.
Following are a few vital lessons that the pandemic taught about leadership:
- Adapting to changing external pressures
- Accepting changes as positive
- Revising plans as necessary
- Considering people’s concerns during the transition
- Adjusting management styles to changing situations
The pandemic tested everyone in ways no one could have imagined. So, the key tech leadership focus has been on adapting to the changes in offices and processes without losing sight of the team’s fundamental needs.
4. Dealing with Setbacks and Obstacles with the Right Mindset – The success story of Henry Ford did not have a glorious past. It turns out Ford experienced failure twice in establishing his automobile production. But he continued until his company succeeded with the Model A car series.
For Henry Ford, disappointment or setback did not hinder innovation; instead, it served as an impetus to improving his vision for a technology that could bring transformative changes to the world. His vision and resilient mindset made him a true leader.
Similarly, the increasing unpredictability in the post-pandemic business sectors taught businesses a great deal about resilience. The only rational way to adapt well in the face of roadblocks, adversity, stress, and setbacks is to stay courageous, agile, and flexible.
Many must have heard the story of Edelweiss CEO Radhika Gupta. She is known as the “girl with a broken neck.” It is so motivating to see how a woman rose above her emotional and physical challenges and became the CEO at the young age of 33. She created an inspirational, triumphant account of herself to motivate others to surmount obstacles and emerge a winner. Her major takeaway from her leadership role has been – Do not panic if you hit rock bottom.
So, how can you culture a sense of resilience and flexibility in leadership?
● Be eloquent – Practice effective communication to help others understand expectations and changes so that you can orient them to new directions. There’s nothing better than a good old pep talk!
● Build trust – Build trust with your team by being open to differences.
● Focus on your passion – Try meditation, outdoor games, and yoga to foster mental strength
● Be a risk taker – Resilient leaders are ready to take bold measures that help them increase their resilience to strive for success, inspiring their team members also to follow suit.
● Develop others – Resilient leaders focus on the development of others and create growth opportunities for deserving team members.
5. Take Care of your People – Win the heart first and then the head – This is a proven leadership mantra.
A fine example is the Disney Institute. The institute cares about showing personalized recognition for each cast member. Its approach to serving customers shows a lot about how caring for people genuinely is a vital sign of leadership.
It’s the same with IT companies too. Because, whether we are consciously aware or not, everything is people-driven, even technologies!
The US business sector spends approx. $166 billion to enhance leadership skills and ensure leadership development every year. According to a survey, 78% of business leaders actively focus on employee engagement programs.
As a leader, how can you ensure the well-being of your employees?
● Be available and accessible – A leader must schedule enough time for meaningful talks with their team members.
● Listen with empathy – Understand employee concerns and address them timely with appropriate solutions.
● Know your people – Ask questions and inquire about your employees’ health, grievances, and concerns to understand them better. This is a very underestimated quality. Knowing your employees well enough has a huge impact on productivity.
● Give respect – This is a straightforward quality – ‘give respect, get respect’.
● Be honest – A leader’s integrity inspires employees to enhance their performances when they can rely on you.
Leadership is not solely about being “understanding” and “nice” but more about tapping into individual motivations to enhance their capabilities. Effective tech leadership ensures employees’ long-term development to create a continuous learning culture. This, in turn, translates into higher commitment, the eagerness to experiment with new ideas, and brings innovation to the table.
After all, a tech leader must ensure the organization’s sustainability alongside several goals like – innovation, environmental sustainability, stakeholder profitability, well-being, and most importantly, drive growth and cutting-edge technology.
Techwave is a global leader in Enterprise Digital Services, Enterprise Applications, and Engineering Services. We are committed to innovation in a rapidly changing marketplace. Techwave is established as a diverse, egalitarian, and inclusive environment to make our employees and clients feel valued.
Our vision is to become the most reliable digital transformation provider, bringing together the most incredible industry expertise in Strategy, Planning, and Execution. We work towards encouraging our employees to constantly learn, grow, and be entirely true to themselves. And this we achieve with the help of our inspiring and distinguished leaders.
A snippet from Techwave CEO, Rajasekhar Gummadapu’s Letter from the CEO reflecting the true nature of tech leadership. “We have always fostered a culture of inclusivity and fueled the inherent rush to learn and adapt quickly. From clients to partners to employees, at the core of our enduring relationship lies Techwave’s drive to empower success for its ecosystem. With every day, we advance our impact-focused goals and our unrelenting focus on empowering our network to succeed. This is what we call evolution.”