In my part 1 on this topic, I discussed how contextual intelligence is the ability to rapidly and intuitively recognize and apply the dynamic circumstances inherent in an event or situation. Tacit Leadership uses contextual intelligence with purposeful changes in action or opinion in order to direct results and exert appropriate influence in that context.
That is the $500,000 way of saying that tacit leadership uses the context of a situation to give the best results. But don’t we all do this by nature?…Yes, to a certain extent tacit leadership is in everyone’s toolbox. Unfortunately, opportunism, resource constraints, entitlement and personality can limit how much some are able to exercise this talent to a level where it is highly instinctual and optimally leveraged.
Sometimes life gets in the way…sometimes life enables. Awareness of the opportunities to flex this muscle can be one of the first steps to improvement.
So, what are the traits that strong leaders have that bless them with tacit IT leadership skills?
|Context Diagnoses||Knows how to appropriately interpret and react to changing and volatile surroundings.|
|Contextual IT Expertise||Having a level of subject matter experience that is enough to provide meaningful application and practical use of given technologies to the mission or use case of the business.|
|Critical Thinking||The ability to make practical application of different actions, opinions, and information.|
|Future Mindedness||Having a concern for where the organization should be in the future…A forward-looking mentality and sense of direction.|
|Influential||Can uses interpersonal skills to non-coercively affect the actions, opinions and decisions of others.|
|Awareness of Mission||Understands and communicates how the performance of others can influence subordinate’s, peer’s, and supervisor’s perception of the mission at hand and the road needed to get there.|
|Change Acceleration||Has the courage to raise difficult and challenging questions that others may perceive as a threat to the status quo. Proactive rather than reactive in rising to challenges, leading, participating in, or making change (i.e., assessing, initiating, researching, planning, constructing, and advocating).|
|Consensus Building||Exhibits interpersonal skill and convinces other people to see the common good or a different point of view for the sake of the organizational mission or values by using listening skills, managing conflict, and creating win-win situations.|
|Conscious Leadership||Intentionally assess and evaluates their own leadership performance and is aware of strengths and development needs. Is action oriented toward continuous improvement of leadership ability.|
|Effective and Constructive use of Influence||Uses interpersonal skills, personal power, and influence to constructively and effectively, affect the behavior and decisions of others. Demonstrates the effective use of different types of power in developing a powerful image.|
As leaders or when we interview candidates for leadership it helps to consider these traits; exercise them ourselves, and Invest in growing them in our reports. Test them in the folks we are considering hiring. This may sound obvious, but in many organizations IT reports up to functions that may not have contextual I.T. background. For example…I.T. may be a sub-function of finance. You may have a very strong financial leader, or even a strong process leader, but their I.T. context might be limited to what technology does for their function and not be equipped with enough technical exposure to set optimal direction for a given I.T. effort.
People used to say, “Change is inevitable”…Today, that does not seem to say enough…especially when leading information technology. Change is not only inevitable; it is more rapid and accelerating constantly. Things that made us experts yesterday are now commoditized and automated. New technologies are always coming in and we need to be able to understand how they fit into the mission of our business rather than just how they work or what they can do for us.