Achieving a leadership position comes with many challenges, especially in the field of technology. For example, you may realize that strong technical know-how is not enough to lead a team of professionals without complementary, well-polished soft skills.
The need for leaders to improve their team management skills spans all industries, not just technology. A research paper from the Executive MBA Council (EMBAC) stated that the workplace is changing rapidly and leaders face the challenges of managing their diverse teams. It is safe to assume that at this rate of change, even the most prepared leaders may not feel well equipped to adapt accordingly.
Therefore, leaders will need to devise innovative ways to communicate, motivate, delegate and manage their employees to drive organizational growth.
Learn to overcome common technology leadership challenges by earning an online graduate degree, graduate certificate, or non-credit certificate from Michigan State University.
Start learning with Michigan State University.
5 common leadership challenges in today’s technology
What are the biggest challenges tech industry leaders face today? How can you meet these challenges as a leader or aspirant? While the technical leadership challenges are dynamic, the following are some of the most common recurring challenges:
1. Guiding change
Leading an organization in the rapidly evolving business world can be demanding for even the most prepared people. Therefore, it is paramount that leadership development programs equip leaders to manage, adapt and lead change. This is because having a solid understanding of how to tackle complex leadership challenges will come in handy when faced with them.
2. Effective communication
Another challenge most leaders face is a lack of effective communication. Poor communication can hinder organizational growth and cause internal crises.
To drive team productivity, it is essential to define responsibilities and promote transparency and expectations within the organization. You also need an authentic, consistent and clear communication style, as well as the ability to listen.
3. Stress Management
Managing a diverse team and a large number of projects while trying to meet deadlines can sometimes be overwhelming, especially in a rapidly evolving work environment.
Stress can significantly reduce your productivity, affect your decision-making and negatively affect your team’s results. That’s why you need to know when to ask for help and delegate tasks when you’re feeling overwhelmed. You should also understand your team members’ individual personalities and their strengths and weaknesses before delegating tasks to them.
4. Team Building
Building connections among your team members can be a daunting task, especially in this age of remote work. When team members feel isolated, their productivity can drop significantly in addition to their motivation. Focusing on team building using innovative approaches can significantly increase organizational productivity.
There is a common assumption that leaders in the tech space lack the human element that comes from their lack of soft skills, making them unfit to lead a team. Unfortunately, this assumption gradually takes on a strong stronghold, especially as remote working makes it even more challenging to build a cohesive unit.
Too much management can erode a team’s confidence and agility and encourage an over-reliance on the leader. While a leader should monitor the team’s progress, micromanaging a team can lead to the opposite outcome. Leaders should provide guidance and coaching rather than lead every step of project execution.
Giving your team plenty of room to think creatively can boost their collective problem-solving skills, foster interpersonal relationships, and facilitate learning.
Learn how to gain the skills to meet the above challenges with Michigan State University online programs that teach leadership skills development.
How to develop your team management skills
Effective leadership requires understanding your strengths and weaknesses and taking into account the team you lead by understanding the different personalities, strengths and aspirations of the members. This knowledge enables you to align organizational goals with their professional aspirations. While this can be quite a challenge, several models have been developed to give you a starting point.
For example, the Big Five framework, also referred to as the OCEAN model (Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeability, Neuroticism), has been an effective tool for distinguishing and identifying personality traits. This model extracts five factors that can explain a person’s personality: how curious, organized, outgoing, friendly or sensitive someone can be.
While this framework is of great importance in detecting personality types, there is another model that complements the OCEAN model. The DISC model categorizes human expressions into four different behavior types: dominance, influence, steadfastness, and conscientiousness (DISC).
The OCEAN model is widely used in academia while the DISC model has gained prominence in the business world. Nevertheless, both frameworks, along with professional leadership courses, can provide leaders with grounded knowledge on how to identify the personalities within their team and provide effective leadership.
Let’s dive deep into the DISC framework and unravel the guidance it offers you as a leader or aspiring leader and how you can improve your team’s productivity with this knowledge in your toolbox.
Based on the evidence, individuals with this trait are usually results-oriented and will most likely be the first to jump on projects. They get satisfaction from taking on challenges and striving for the desired result. They can also be assertive and forceful – stemming from their need to get the job done as quickly as possible.
Other team members may view these individuals as impatient and uncooperative due to their determination, high sense of competition, and independent mindset. In addition, these individuals appreciate blunt and direct communication.
So emphasizing the desired outcome over the task can effectively communicate tasks to the D personality category. On the other hand, suppose you as a leader also share this quality; your team could benefit from less blunt but supportive leadership.
While these groups of individuals may possess the agility of the D personality type, they are most likely focused on collaboration rather than working alone. In some other DISC ratings, also referred to as “Inspirational” or “Incentive,” individuals who fall into this category value team building and feel the need to reach consensus through their influence and foster relationship building within the team.
Others on the team may find the I’s friendly, supportive, and understanding. They also seem recognizable, talkative and cheerful.
As a leader, pay attention to the I’s and give them an audience when they have something to say or ask a question. In addition, be as recognizable as possible when communicating with them. If you share the I’s personality trait as a leader, it is essential to pay close attention to details and not shy away from providing constructive feedback, as the success of your team depends on it.
Also known as “Supporting” or “Submission” in some models, the S personality traits are zealous and welcoming to others. They value a methodological way of working and prefer to keep a stable environment. Individuals with this trait generally do not respond well to change because it easily disorients them. Members of the team may regard them as patient, calm and conscientious. They can be considered supportive and loyal.
As a leader, you need to pay attention to this category of individuals and show genuine interest in them, especially with the outspoken and agile D’s who can view the S’s as aggressive and unfriendly. You should be able to think of ways to balance these two categories.
This group of individuals is guided by logic and a strong analytical mindset rather than gut feeling. They prefer a stable environment and appreciate any opportunity to showcase their expertise and quality of work. Also referred to as “Compliance” or “Caution”, the Cs are often critical of any proposed change to their routine; they often question the need for change.
Members of the team may consider them perfectionists, attentive and conscientious. However, their desire to produce impeccable results can cause a delay in project completion.
The C personality type requires concrete details and facts to perform their duties. As a leader, it’s important to make sure you have all the details and facts when communicating tasks to this type of person.
It is good practice to consider all personality types within your team so that you can balance your communication with the entire team.
How to Improve Your Leadership Skills
One way to improve your leadership skills is through mentorship. Consider joining reputable professional leadership organizations where you can seek out potential mentors with extensive experience and impeccable leadership reputations. You can also build a network of successful business leaders to understand what drives their leadership approach.
An alternative and effective way to hone your leadership skills is through management or leadership training and development programs. Michigan University’s online Master of Science in Management, Strategy and Leadership program and Strategic Leadership and Management certificate programs are designed by industry experts well-versed in the field and will teach you how to overcome today’s challenges and preparing for tomorrow’s leadership decisions.
These programs can also help increase your motivation as you learn and interact with colleagues who want to develop or improve their leadership skills. The results of the program include:
- Develop communication, collaboration and management skills relevant to today’s diverse workforce.
- Understand a detailed analysis of current trends and innovations and how to leverage them for organizational growth.
- Develop creative skills in problem solving and strategic decision making.
In a rapidly changing work environment, leaders who possess both technical and well-polished soft skills are more likely to drive meaningful change. Therefore, regardless of your organization’s work model, your ability as a leader to lead and manage your team can shed light on your professional career and help you set yourself apart.
The post 5 Common Leadership Challenges and How to Overcome Them with Michigan State University appeared first on ailCFH.