It's never too late—or too early—to evolve. Learn more about how you can establish or reassert yourself as a seasoned, inspirational and innovative technology leader.
Leadership in technology today calls for a capable and level-headed professional who understands technology and its importance in driving business goals, and can communicate efficiently with their teams, supporting them in their own career paths. Business leaders around the globe are striving to adapt and improve their organisations through innovation, making this type of leadership the key to a company’s success.
With innovation and creativity needed to help companies and their ideas stand out, leaders need to be clear about their vision and goals. To become an effective and innovative leader, it takes a considerable amount of time and effort to develop more efficient methods of operation. This includes incorporating soft skills like articulating a company vision effectively, influencing and inspiring your team, becoming more agile and being open to new ideas.
For those C-suite executives who are looking to freshen up their credentials in a technology-enabled, modern and ever-changing workplace, or if you aim is to become a C-suite executive like many in HotTopics’ community, discover how to establish yourself as an innovative technology leader using the below guidelines.
How to become an innovative technology leader
- Step out of your comfort zone
- Hire the right people
- Inspire others
- Focus on the bigger picture
1. Step out of your comfort zone
“Creating this alternative reality took executives out of their comfort zone and drove greater engagement across the experience” – Steven Goddard, Head of GTM Strategy, Nutanix, and member of HotTopics Marketing Leaders community
Some leaders prefer to stick with what they know but others who maintain relevance venture beyond their comfort zone. This could include taking more responsibility within the technology function or spending more time on developing innovative projects that can drive further growth within the organisation.
Changing your habits is the first step. This could mean taking more initiative in meetings, making more difficult decisions—and not being afraid to take ownership of the mistakes and the lessons you have learned—, addressing conflicts and learning about myriad topics you haven’t allowed yourself to explore beforehand. These changes can turn an already-seasoned C-suite executive into a more proactive leader, allowing for fresh development and new opportunities.
2. Hire the right people
Being able to hire the right talent for your organisation is an essential part of any leadership role. The process of sourcing, assessing and hiring talent is a demanding one, with the pressure on the technology leader to choose the best fit for the team. With a competitive workforce market in place, leaders need to devise an innovative hiring strategy to secure the right candidate for the job.
With more people looking for flexible and hybrid working, the interviewing process will naturally become hybrid as a result. In order to prepare for this, it’s important to source the right technology to accommodate this digitised hiring process. At the same time, leaders need to determine if that candidate is the right cultural fit for the team.
For an innovative twist to the traditional hiring process, leaders and C-suite executives can explore different ways of interviewing potential candidates. Rather than the conventional Zoom or Teams call, recruiters could be conducting metaverse interviews in the near future.
3. Inspire others
More often than not, leaders are expected to motivate and inspire their teams. While this doesn’t mean handing out a dramatic team pep talk at every morning meeting, it requires giving encouragement and guidance where possible.
Wrench Group’s CIO, Robert Sheesley, stated in a HotTopics roundtable debate that leaders need to be more purposeful in the way they engage in conversation with employees. He argued that this doesn’t just apply to professional conversations, but also organic workplace interactions. In the same roundtable debate, Alex Bazin explained that his organisation implemented a variety of small, innovative changes in their operations. This included adopting more “exciting” things such as AI workflow automation.
4. Focus on the bigger picture
Another responsibility leaders are encouraged to take on to become more innovative is adopting a broader perspective. Anticipating and offering recommendations for mitigating potential issues is something a leader should be practising in order to see the bigger picture. This situational awareness can come in handy when handling complex projects and tight deadlines.
One other way to achieve this mindset is to share responsibility and work collaboratively with the team. Delegating tasks gives executive technology leaders the time and ability to focus on higher-level tasks as well as allowing others to learn and develop new skills. In addition to this, leaders are provided with an opportunity to work with creative thinkers who can add to the company’s vision.
Setting up mentoring relationships with your team is a great way to keep tabs on the progress of the technology function within the organisation. In addition to fostering innovation, this gives technology leaders the time and space to up-skill the team members with potential. By establishing and keeping up to date with the latest technological innovation, leaders can pick and choose the technologies that they believe are relevant to the company, according to OVO Energy’s CPTO, Christina Scott.
Making innovation a core value within the technology team can create a multitude of benefits such as increased competitiveness, a renewed proactive approach and improved staff retention. Being transparent and open while discussing new ideas with team members can help foster innovation and encourage collaboration within functions. One way leaders can help mentor their technology teams is by offering training to inspire new thoughts and ideas for the business.
In today's fast-paced business environment, being an innovative technology leader is one of many keys to a company's success. In addition to their technical skills, C-suite executives and technology leaders need to practise their soft skills to inspire and influence their team. By implementing the five different strategies outlined above, leaders and future leaders can develop more efficient methods of operation and drive innovation within their organisations.
Want to learn more about the C-suite, innovation and leadership? Watch our HotTopics roundtable debates featuring C-suite technology leaders, filmed at our industry event, The Studio.
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