The 7 Most Common Mistakes New Technology Leaders Make and How to Avoid Them
Here are some of the top mistakes that trip up new technology leaders — and tips for how to avoid them.
Technology leaders are responsible for sharing IT strategies and visions that support their companies' goals. It is also crucial that they maintain a budget that makes it possible to implement such decisions and make them fully actionable. Technology is significantly changing and improving business operations, from task automation to advancements made to enhance time-consuming activities.
Unfortunately, there are numerous mistakes that technology leaders make that might translate to high turnover rates and negatively impact revenue creation. Some include underestimating the political nature and impact of their role and trying to implement too many changes at a go. A better part of these mistakes is due to bad habits, stress, poor preparation and internal and external pressure. Here are some of the common mistakes that trip up new technology leaders:
1. Trying to implement too many changes too fast
Innovation and change are one of the top responsibilities of technology leaders. These professionals are considered the lead change-makers of business strategies and technology initiatives. Consequently, this can put too much pressure on new technology leaders, leading to drastic changes. New technology leaders are tempted to implement too many changes, often leading to potential challenges. Generally, business organizations can only absorb a specific amount of change at a time. Therefore, new technology leaders must set realistic expectations for ultimate success.
2. Using inaccurate and unreliable data sets
New tech leaders should learn to detect and avoid faulty data sets as early as possible. This is because flawed data sets generate inaccurate results in the final algorithm's output. New tech leaders should go above and beyond to ensure proper parameters are defined and reliable data is presented. After all, starting their technology initiatives with inaccurate data can translate to misalignments of goals, objectives and targets, causing a wide range of decision-making and implementation challenges.
3. Poor communication
How technology leaders communicate with their teams can make or break a project implementation process. Leaders can choose to share face-to-face or electronically. If you are a new tech leader, you should remember that just because the information is clear from your perspective does not mean it is the same for the entire team. Besides precise details, you should provide specific communication guidelines that your team will accept. Take time to lay down your proven schemes, but remember they should be all about mutual understanding, and you cannot impose them on the rest of the team. Fortunately, the technology industry boasts state-of-the-art and practical tools, including project management tools and instant messengers, to enhance organizational communication.
4. Implementing technology without a clear goal
So, how will the new technology help enhance your organization's daily operations and productivity? Most new technology leaders start piloting and implementing new technologies without a clear goal or vision. Note that you will be stuck in the theoretical stage without a clear view of the expected results. New technology and strategies must be modeled to enhance the company's productivity, revenue generation and solving real business problems.
5. Being afraid to let people go
In their first 100 days, information technology leaders might find it hard to clean the house and try hard to keep everyone on the payroll. They feel that no employer deserves to be fired, but in some cases, there is a great need to let some people go. Understandably, the leaders want to make an excellent first impression and maintain the status quo with the team. Therefore, they do not want firing people to be one of their first moves. New technology leaders should take the time to evaluate the existing team, identify any toxic personality that pulls down the organization's productivity, and let them go. That is among their top responsibilities as leaders. If you ignore it for too long, the problem might get worse.
6. Relying on technology as the ultimate problem-solver
Contrary to popular belief, technology cannot solve all organizational problems. Technology should be implemented as an effective way to serve you, not the other way. Therefore, tech leaders must stay on the lookout to ensure everything is flowing and working as it should. Start slow, and do not ignore anything, as people have different levels of understanding and retaining information.
7. Failing to access the business culture early on
If you are a technology leader, you have probably come across the "culture eats strategy for breakfast" quote from Peter Drucker, a renowned management guru. However, that is not always the case. One of the most common mistakes of new technology leaders is the failure to analyze and understand their organization's culture and fabric. While most new leaders are all into their 100-day plan, the fact is that the pace of business technology composite and method will vary with different organizations. They should therefore take the time to assess their teams, peers and overall business structure and culture before embarking on an excessively aggressive approach. After all, organizations win when they have the best and most well-connected teams.
With that in mind, by understanding your business culture early on, new technology executives will know when and how to adjust and implement changes to help them remain effective moving forward. While there are several leadership styles, your business culture will determine what works best.
From trying to fly solo and leaping without looking, there are numerous mistakes that new tech leaders should avoid. They should understand that authentic and effective leadership goes beyond giving orders and expecting things to go their way. Technology leadership is about setting clear, attainable goals, being open to challenges and new ideas, investing in training, providing enough tools and resources and encouraging teamwork.
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