Assessing Your IT Leadership Competencies
Look at the list of competencies in Figure 1.2. For each phrase under the main competency title, indicate whether you think your competency is High, Medium, or Low by writing an H, M, or L. Review each grouping of phrases and give yourself an overall assessment score for each of the 10 competencies, again using High, Medium, or Low.
Figure 1.2 The 10 competencies of IT leadership.
If you'd really like to jumpstart your experience, ask your boss and/or a couple of your team members to offer their assessment of you. Remember, no one is perfect in all of the competencies, and it's critical that you understand your own strengths and weaknesses. Don't focus entirely on trying to fix the negatives. Instead, consider supplementing your weaknesses through collaboration with others.
Leadership is a complex, fluid undertaking. Each person has a unique need for leadership, and the context of that need will vary at any point in time. A leader must be able to adapt constantly to those needs.
Interestingly, your strengths are also your weaknesses. As people succeed, they tend to limit the competencies they bring to each situation to those that have been successful in the past. The Last Word on Power by Tracey Goss is a provocative book on this subject. Referring back to an earlier example, a middle manager promoted because of technical prowess will go right back to manipulating technology under stress, returning to the competencies that are most natural. An IT leader must remain mindful and alert to these tendencies. Look for overused competencies, and notice when you use them.
We've written these chapters on two levels. They provide technique, knowledge, and self-understanding for the leader, along with guidance for working with the team. Even if you discover that you are strong in a competency, briefly scan the chapter for that mindset to learn some new ways to grow that competency in your staff.