Being an IT leader or professional is neither just a status quo nor about having a certificate. It takes a lot of learning, thinking, experimenting, dedicating, and mastering.
Due to the fast pace of technology update and information flow, IT skills gap is the reality, not fiction; due to the complex nature of technology, and intense workload of IT, IT leaders and professionals have to continue updating knowledge, staying focused on solving complex problems, and always challenge the new way to do things. Compared to many other professionals, the high-quality IT professionals have to learn more intensively, do things more creatively, think and make decisions more intellectually. What are important traits in IT high-professionalism?
Creativity: Creativity is the #1 most wanted skill in the 21st century. This is particularly true for IT professionals, because creativity is the wind under technology’s wing, and creative thought accelerates information flow. Creativity is not a "thing," it´s a process that happens as a proactive mental activity to a problem. As IT leaders/managers/professionals, you need to understand what the organization’s expectation from IT through an innovation lenses. There’re a lot of opportunities to clarify the role of IT in innovation.The creative IT leaders and professionals can solve the business problems in an intelligent manner, to either bridge the gaps or delight customers. IT leaders and professional need to be extremely open-minded, because they are the “brainpower” behind technology which is often the disruptive force of digitalization and societal progress. When IT profession becomes a “status quo,” and information gets stuck, the business and the world also keep stagnant due to change inertia and culture friction. Therefore, being learning agile, do not be afraid to say what you think or make a fool, do not let that stop, be fooled if you must, get out of the “fear,” liberate the imagination and come up with a new approach to the world.
Dedication: Although the latest technology gadgets seem “fancy,” there are a lot of hard thinking and work behind them. Due to the complexity of technology and overloading information, either you are a specialized IT generalist or a generalized IT specialist, dedication is often the decisive quality to differentiate the best IT professionals from the average one. Dedication enables your energy flow and laser focus on the things you need to accomplish. It’s not about keeping your hands busy, but more about how you can generate a specific energy in yourself to help consciously achieve the goals, and create the authentic impact you choose. The pitfalls of dedication are distraction, style over substance, “busyness replacing concentration,” “keep the hands full, not being mindful,” “focus on building capabilities, not just beating competitions.” Dedication has nothing to do with the personality, though, you can be either introvert or extrovert; passionate or cool-headed, but a dedicated one can laser focus on what he or she is doing or want to be. Dedication becomes more important quality for IT professionals or any knowledge workforce in today’s multitasking, multi-devicing digital workforce in a workplace full of distraction, because dedicated professionals can better integrate their talent, aptitude, and attitude, manage time and resources to achieve their goals in more professional way, and keep their energy flow in a positive way, not letting negative emotions distract themselves, or destroy surrounding. They are more self-motivated and be accountable for what they choose to work on, how to get it done, and understand the purpose of work, to manage their career from “just a job” mentality to autonomy and mastery.
Learning Agility: Technology keeps changing faster than any other domains, hence, learning agility is also the “must have” quality for today’s digital IT professionals and leaders. The capabilities to adapt to unpredictable, ride above the learning curve are critical to making continuous improvement and leaping smooth digital transformation. At both individual and organizational level, change capability becomes a key differentiator between digital leaders and laggards. And there are no other choices for IT professionals but being change agents and change champions because IT is often the key driver for business changes these days. Therefore, from talent and performance management perspectives, recognize your change agents, because they will serve the organization with more energy and determination, to break down status quo, to cultivate next generation of IT talent, to attract global IT talent for blending innovative cognizance, and to solve IT talent/skill/capability shortage for the long term.
Being an IT leader or professional is neither just a status quo nor about having a certificate. It takes a lot of learning, it takes more thinking to be a highly effective IT leaders or the digital workforce, it takes dedication to sharpening skills and build cohesive capability portfolio. And it takes creativity, dedication, agility and continuous delivery to ride above the learning curve and present high professionalism and mastery.