There has been a great deal of focus on the IT skill gap at the employee level, but given the age of many people in tech leadership positions, there is a growing gap occurring at the top of the IT chain of command. Experienced leaders are retiring or are opting for second acts as consultants, and many organizations struggle to replace successful leaders from within. Forward-thinking companies would be wise to start focusing on developing their next generation of IT leaders today, so they aren’t left with a vacuum tomorrow.
Break Through The Silos
Traditionally, tech employees have been taught to stay in their lane, but technology no longer exists in a bubble. The work of the tech department impacts all aspects of business, and it is important for employees to get a feel for how things fit together, so that as leaders they understand the business impact of their decisions.
There is a growing trend in having people from the tech department rotate through other departments for a few weeks at a stretch, and vice versa. This promotes understanding between departments, but also ensures that future tech leaders will develop a more holistic view of technology.
Develop A Leadership Training Program
Talented tech professionals who express an interest in moving into leadership can be nurtured through a formal leadership training program. In these types of programs, trainees learn many jobs throughout the department and the organization, helping them develop new skills while also receiving training on developing leadership qualities.
Formal leadership programs ensure that future managers develop the right skills to succeed within the organization, and they also build loyalty and improve retention. A leadership training program helps people picture a future with the company, and when the company invests in developing them, they will be more likely to keep their talent with the organization.
Focus on Succession at All Levels
Strategic leaders think about more than just who will become CIO next year. They understand that the pipeline of future leaders reaches all the way down to the most junior of employees. They know that an organization’s leadership is only as strong as its bench. This is true whether you’re talking about the C-suite or the entry level.
Every group in the tech department should be focused on succession. Managers should be trained to identify employees with strong leadership potential, and those individuals should be mentored, developed and nurtured so they can be retained over the long term and to ensure they are prepared to step up when opportunities arise.