5 Traits of effective IT leaders

With the level of access to both data and influence within an organization IT leaders should have all of these traits to be successful.  Every organization has a requirement for some level of technical expertise, but that skill is an ongoing growth that is required.

Here are six traits that you or your  IT leader should have to be successful as an IT leader:

  1. Integrity: Integrity is first and foremost in any IT role but especially in leadership.  IT professionals have consistently the highest level of access to sensitive information than any other department.If you’re managing a leader in IT and you question their integrity its likely time to find a way to validate that fear.  Having someone in this position with lots of influence and access can destroy your business.If you’re working for an IT leader that demonstrates a lack of integrity it  is likely that you’ll need to take extra care to keep records and documents of your action.  Often the option of finding a new work location can be a better option than staying in a toxic environment

Honesty and integrity are absolutely essential for success in life – all areas of life. The really good news is that anyone can develop both honesty and integrity. – Zig Ziglar


  1. Openness: IT leaders should be very open to listening to feedback and ideas all around them.  So often we as leaders can get tunnel vision and focus on tasks that we miss some real gems of ideas and information from those that we lead.
    An IT leader should be spending time out in the community of users to understand their pains and frustrations.  Tracking efforts and communicating efforts to remediate these will develop good will for the leader.

I always say be humble but be firm. Humility and openness are the key to success without compromising your beliefs.- George Hickenlooper



  1. Competence: Let’s face it some IT staff members can be ruthless in their expectations of their leadership.  Leaders should be able to spell out their core competencies and explain them to their staff.  Being competent in those areas should help build rapport with his or her staff.


  1. Vision: Leaders in all areas but especially IT should have a strong strategic vision.  Ideally generating a roadmap that both demonstrates where the organization is now and demonstrating efforts to strengthen areas that are most in need.    Additionally, leaders should continue to focus on the strengths of the team that is being lead to leverage their time as efficiently as possible.Strategic thinking and planning are vital to successful IT groups and organizations!

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality- Warren Bennis


  1. Caring: Personally, I struggle with this.  I tend to not be the most “warm and fuzzy” person.  An IT leader needs to recognize that the motivation for many team members is not that same as their own.  Some team members may need more outward praise, some may need higher level work, and some may need more autonomy.
    Meeting all of these needs requires that the leader spend time getting to know their team.  For me this is often a one on one time.  Additionally there are many tools that can help you get a glimpse into their mind and desires.


Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.- Anthony J. D’Angelo


  1. Excellent at Communication: This is one area that most leaders really struggle with, not just in IT.  Communication has to go on from many different levels.  Again, a requirement that the leader knows their audience is crucial to effective communication.   In my organization we have a full range of individuals some who are extremely verbose and leave people drowning in information.  My tendency is towards the other end venturing into being terse.   An excellent leader finds the sweet spot in all of these

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.- Tony Robbins


To be an effective leader all of these traits should be demonstrated and fostered. My question,  What other traits should IT leaders have? Leave a comment or question and I would be glad to help you.