The world of technology has been in a state of continuous evolution. While most organizations focus on reskilling and upskilling initiatives to prepare the workforce, the focus of the same rests primarily on improving technological skills. However, along with doing so, it is essential to also focus on the power skills, aka soft skills, of the technology managers to give them the tools that come with changes in workforce dynamics.
Power skills are essentially human skills. Given the ‘human’ element, they are complex and behavioral in nature. These skills are a mixed bag of personality traits, abilities, experiences, and mindsets. It is those managers with the right power skills who can lead their team to success.
So what are the critical power skills that technology managers must possess to drive success?
‘Growth mindset’ is a mindset based on the theory that intelligence can be developed. It encourages people to view every obstacle from the lens of opportunity. Developing this mindset gives managers the capability to be persistent in the time of adversity and helps them see every obstacle as a learning opportunity. Even in criticism, they find an opportunity to improve and do better. For managers with these skills, ‘effort,’ both individual and that of the team, is the road to developing mastery.
Such a mindset helps technology managers become more empathetic towards the challenges of the team and helps them be more solution-driven in their managerial approach.
It can be quite natural to fall in love with a particular technology and desire to remain loyal to that technology alone. However, with the pace of change rising incrementally in the tech universe, technology managers have to move away from this attitude and move towards improving their learning adaptability.
Having a mindset of continuous learning thus becomes imperative to stay abreast of all the changes in this landscape. It also helps them become better solution providers as they no longer remain restricted to the confines of ‘a’ particular technology.
Given the number of stakeholders involved in any technology project, it is essential for technology managers to have the capability to understand and relay complex ideas. They also need to have the ability to convey details of a solution or a problem to both a technical and a non-technical audience.
Learning how to communicate with the stakeholders becomes even more essential with the rise of a multi-generational workforce. The rules of engagement keep changing with all these generations. The millennials, for instance, will have different communication expectations as compared to the baby boomers.
Projects in today’s age are also often cross-organizational. The methods and skills needed to manage such projects also demand excellent communication skills owing to the number of stakeholders involved from the technical side, the business side and the client-side.
Robust documentation skills would also fall under the purview of communication skills. With dispersed teams and global operations, technology managers have to ensure clear communication through documentation to warrant the smooth progress of the project.
Critical thinking involves the capability to look objectively at a problem, analyze its different perspectives, evaluate the facts, and acknowledge all biases to reach a positive outcome. It pushes technology managers to look for out-of-the-box solutions by taking a purposeful and goal-driven approach.
Managers with this skill can deal with problems and contradictions in a reasoned manner by harnessing the qualities of inference, assumption-recognition, deduction, evaluation, and interpretation. This ability helps them make rational decisions to ensure a positive impact on the well-being of a project.
Technology managers have to have the ability to look at situations objectively, analyze the data at hand, and consider all the risks involved before giving the go-ahead for any action. Decision-making capabilities become even more essential as technology managers have to regularly address break/fix situations, manage change, delegate work, push-back and negotiate on challenges, plan budgets, and also plan for the technology evolution of the product or service.
Adaptability and Resilience
In the world of software development, change is constant – projects can get derailed or delayed, chaos can come in even in the wake of preparation, deadlines can get tighter…Adaptability and resilience thus become essential power skills to learn
In situations like this, they must have the ability to roll with the punches, maintain composure, go back to the drawing board, and start over again…without any loss of enthusiasm. This attitude helps them do their best work at all times and ensures that every problem is addressed with ease.
It is a no brainer to assume that all technology managers have to possess great technological skills. However, along with that, they have to hone their power skills to forward their career graph and ensure that they lead their team, and consequently, the organization to success.