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Problems with Leadership in It

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IT Leadership Paper

As we go into the second part of the first decade of the new millennium the field of Information Technology has turned into a very important aspect of our lives. New and improved technologies are starting to become part of our lives without us realizing what this means. No one can argue that our lives have been simplified and improved by the technological gadgets, that over time we have been able to develop. But underneath the beauty of a product or a service lays the challenges and responsibilities many companies faced in order to be able to provide us with a service or to create a product. It is believed, that in many business, organizations or institutions the Information Technology Department is the area or the field that causes the most problems.

One of the biggest reasons for which people tend to make this assumption or statement is that it has been hard to assimilate and integrate such a volatile department into the structure an organization had. People forget that having an IT department is a recent addition to the structural environment of a company or an institution. It was until computer became popular that people started to consider creating a department that would take care and provide technological solutions to the different issues that arouse due to the new technologies being implemented. Therefore it has to be taken into consideration that IT is an area that has not been fully developed to the extent of being completely incorporated into the traditional structure of a company. One of the reasons for which it has been tough to fully integrate the IT department is because of its constant change and need to stay up to date with the emerging technologies. When I say that it has not been fully integrated or incorporated I mean that we have not been able to understand the complexity of this assimilation in order to be able to get the best results. And by best results, I mean being able to come up with the best solution that arise with every situation and problem that comes up.

It has been so hard to get out of this transitory situation due to the fact of communication problems. Companies and institutions took the wrong approach when the technologies started to emerge. Many top executives decided that it would be better to let the people that knew about computers and programming to focus in the technological area. Instead of being more involved and active in the learning process they began to alienate the IT department and more over the people that formed the IT departments in the many companies and institutions. This was the biggest mistake it could have been made because it created a big barrier between the company and the IT department. In a sense it can be said that it has been a chain reaction; computers and technology emerge-IT department created-separation or barrier established-communication problems.

Communication is the key to success. It is very important to have good communication channel at all levels of the organization. This factor leads to better understanding and to an easy flow of ideas and solutions to problems. It is believed that IT people have a more introverted personality which leads to having bad communications skills. And to make it worst the IT language is very technical which makes the communication between the rest of the departments and the IT hard. This is the result of the decisions executives made in the past of not wanting to learn anything and leaving it to the people who knew and who had studied the subject. Top executives have now realized that it is important to know about the subject as well and that instead of isolating the IT department it needs to be a vital part of the organization. "It is essential for senior management, specially the CEO, to be directly involved with IT decision-making because information technology is a critical enabler of institutional strategy" (Presidential Leadership, Page 2). It is not only important for decision making purposes but in order to keep a good communication channel and create more awareness in the organization.

In order to be able to integrate the IT department into the organization the leaders in that organization must posses other qualities besides having great communication skills. I agree with the list of leadership characteristics Pahal presents in her article. She says that a leader for the new millennium has to have the following characteristics. The leader must have to have vision (a knowledge of the future and how to get there), integrity (absolute dedication to what is right). I agree with her and the authors that she mentions in her article on these two qualities because they are very important to posses in order to maintain professionalism and have a sense for what you are doing and what you want to do. Continuing with the list, the next characteristic in the list is trust (ability to nurture the "leader" in others), selflessness (an idea that their existence is to follow others), and commitment (passion as seen through caring, concern and building perpetuation). These three characteristics are also important in any work environment. Leaders have to be able to trust the people they work with and especially they have to be able to delegate work in order to be more productive and successful. A leader has to be selfless in the sense that good leaders are those who have the ability to make the other feel at the same level as the leader but with everyone knowing and being aware of their boundaries. And commitment is obviously a great characteristic to have because as a leader that person has to be fully committed and inspire other to be as committed as him or her in order to have the results that are wanted.




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