COVID-19 has brought an abrupt new way for IT to get done. It’s also providing senior leaders with an unprecedented opportunity to not only evaluate existing leaders but to also identify who their next leaders should be.
We all know that real leadership is not manifest in a job title but rather in other’s willingness to follow. Now, more than ever, we see that many of our traditional hierarchies and ways of working and managing have gone out the window. So, what’s taken its place?
New ways of working and getting things done have been developed on the fly and in real-time. What’s working remains, and what didn’t add value was quickly cast aside. (Sound familiar?) Creativity, innovation, and experimentation have been required to keep IT organizations delivering value through these challenging times.
Ask the Right Questions
If there is such a thing as good news right now, it is that a sense of urgency and focus has not been lost as face-to-face interactions are no longer possible. We continue to hear story after story from CIO’s and IT leaders from multiple sectors that the anticipated loss of productivity never materialized. In fact, many are experiencing increases in productivity and major implementations proceeding with only minor adjustments to deadlines. So, all is well right? Maybe.
What senior leadership needs to be asking is, “Where is all this coming from?” Who is bringing people together, staying positive, experimenting, and enabling? In many teams, this is coming from good managers adapting to the new environment. These people need to be recognized. In others, it’s coming from your next crop of real leaders. Team members not afraid to experiment, stay focused on the goal, and bring others along with them. They may need some near-term support to keep the momentum.
We all have an ideal leader we want to follow. You know, the one who takes ALL the heat when things go wrong, fades into the background, and holds up the team when things go well, and, while we’re at, remembers everyone’s significant other’s name, birthday and interests. As we continue to build more of those, be sure you are looking around and paying attention to where your organization’s real leadership is coming from. Those individuals are shining right now!