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Will leadership skills help in your career path?

Discussion in 'Polling Station' started by tripwire45, Jan 6, 2009.

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Will leadership skills help in your career path?

  1. Yes

    42 vote(s)
    80.8%
  2. No

    3 vote(s)
    5.8%
  3. I haven't the faintest idea

    7 vote(s)
    13.5%
  1. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    I just read a small article published at Certification Magazine called Developing Your Leadership Skills and it got me to thinking. A question came up on a Technical Writers discussion in a group I belong to through LinkedIn. The topic is Can a technical writer break into managerial roles in an organisation? We have a lot of people on this forum who have just entered the IT field or are trying to enter it and probably haven't thought of life 5, 10, or 15 years down the road. After all, you won't want to be upgrading PC RAM all your life. With that in mind, I decided to post this thread and poll.

    Remember, "leadership" just doesn't mean being "the boss". It could mean, for example, moving into project management, or a similar role, where you'd be directing a team. Responses?
     
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  2. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    I think soft skills are becoming almost important as tech skills when it comes to most on site roles.

    Read anywhere like techrepublic and they have reams of articles re the importance of soft skills, and the BCS encourages development of soft skills as well.

    I personally, am looking to develop my soft skills once ive reached MCSE, things like time management, project management, writing, people skills and so on, can only help progression.

    Then its just a case of showcasing these skills in your job role.
     
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  3. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Yes, soft skills are very important, but not just when you reach a particulalr level. Nor do you only start learning those skills when you reach a level, such as MCSE.

    IMHO, you begin to learn those skills - the management of your time, workload, communications, and so on - from the first day on the job. You continue to develop those skills throughout your career, even though you may not realise you're doing it.

    It's only when you come to write up a CV that you actually appreciate you've been doing it all along: communication, leadership -training, mentoring, managing; customer facing; project managing - installation of IE7 onto 200 PCs in 3 weeks; installation of 10 PCs in an office in Wick, with all apps and updates delivered in a 1 week timeframe; taking and dealing with issues raised by customers...

    I meant to add that any good manager should seek to develop those qualities in staff, to add to soft skills by giving different tasks and developing a role where possible and sometimes moving a person or promoting them to push them further.
     
  4. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I'm not sure what to put because having leadership skills can be a good thing when applying for jobs BUT developing those skills whilst in a job and getting some sort of authoritah :) over your team mates can have a negative effect.

    I suppose it depends on how you handle it and how your team mates handle it.
     
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  5. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    I would personally rank soft skills, time management and team playing as very important for any job be it IT related or not.

    On the other hand leadership skills would be more appropriate for senior roles i.e. supervisors, team leaders and managers and the likes. However, the above skill sets are mandatory for any role or job function. Just my three pence worth of opinion:)
     
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  6. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    Thats the joy of good soft skills, its also about being able to manage people without them feeling like you think they are s**t on your shoe (although this particular skill is sadly lacking in alot of managers)
     
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  7. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    I think leadership is also important in any job even if you are first line, when you take a call in first line I think most companies make the call taker the call owner so to a degree you need leadership skills to chase up 2nd 3rd line or where ever the call goes.
     
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  8. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Valid point, that's true to a large extent but was looking at it purely from a managerial job view point. Thanks anyway:)
     
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  9. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    I haven't read the article concerned, but am quite happy to post up my own experiences.

    I still believe I was hired more for my soft skills than my tech know-how (as I didn't really have any at the time!)

    When I applied for my first IT job, I'd worked in sales for a concrete slab manufacturer for a year and a half, having done manual labour and driven forklift trucks at the same company for two years previous.

    I used to hang on the shoulder of the IT tech at work when I was in the yard, but opportunities to flex the IT muscle were few and far between, aside from occasionally using Crystal to print off picking lists.

    When I was asked to work in the office, it gave me the opportunity to sneak a peek at IT a bit more (but never enough to be satisfied!). When the IT tech left to work for a law firm (you can see where this is going) I thought I'd get a few more opportunities to flex my muscles, but again, sales had to take prevalence. I had a "sales territory" that consisted of the north east of England, Scotland, Japan, Australia and America (only about a dozen suppliers between the export ones, but a hella load of orders from them!).

    When I interviewed for my first IT job, I resolved to place the emphasis on my soft skills.

    Whilst I had the A+ and was studying for the N+ I didn't feel I had justifiably used my (IT) skills enough in a working environment for it to count. So whilst the IT was mentioned, a lot of focus was given on my customer service-driven attitude. This included time management, communication with clients and with co-workers, and management of service (for the sales area, chasing up leads, chasing up external sales team and complaints, and a whole myriad of other things).

    Now, I'll say first and foremost - in my case it was probably knowing the IT tech from my old place that got my CV on the desk. I wouldn't have known about the job otherwise and I wasn't really looking at the time.

    But when my CV was seen, I was considered 'strong' enough to interview for the First Line Supervisor role - without any previous commerical IT experience.

    And I did interview for that role. Which was great. A most nerve-wracking experience, but it was a great one nevertheless. I had to go for a second interview, and ended up getting the first line role, with a proviso to review me at six months (end of probation) and seeing if I'd hit the ground running enough to take on the team leader role.

    And the rest, as they say, is history.

    It certainly wasn't my tech skills that got me that (or this) far. Soft skills are underestimated in the workplace, and leadership isn't the only one.

    Though leadership isn't necessarily about the management of others, as Dales has already rightly pointed out. Organising your own work time without (or with!) SLAs is demanding enough. Balancing client calls and the asset register, and keeping in contact with second and third line about outstanding calls as well as taking on projects takes the same skills as it would take to be a manager - it's just that a lot of people don't see those as transferrable.

    In a job like IT, and especially IT support, you're managing people all the time. It's just they're normally called 'customers' and it's known under the term 'customer service' :)
     
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  10. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Absolutely.
     
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  11. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    I think there is an article on this very subject right here at CF, its a few years old now too I believe ;)

    The author was an awesome fellow
     
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  12. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Must have been you. BTW, welcome back from the wilds of Montana. Haven't seen you on Twitter/Facebook/wherever lately. :wink:
     
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  13. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Montana kept me busy
    squeezed a 75h project into 5 days, did over 60 actual hours
     
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  14. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

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    Soft skills and leadership skills are definitely something you cannot do without in the IT workplace.
     
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  15. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    Ill rephrase my original post to say further my soft skills lol.

    In the past I have done NLP, listened to sales technique audio tapes, leadership audio tapes and so on, will be nice to revisit these and expand upon these.
     
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  16. Jamie P

    Jamie P New Member

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    Yes, I appreciate your idea that "leadership" just doesn't mean being "the boss", It's an ability to control the orientation of the company's development. I need to learn more as I'm gonna be promoted in my position.
     

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