The Point: When we talk about leadership development, especially in the context of communication skills training for leaders in IT, most of the discussion is general in nature. It fails to take the intricacies of different industries and organizational structures into account. For instance, how should a leader communicate in an IT company? This role comes with its unique communication issues, considering that IT jobs typically attract introverted and shy applicants (Something we’ve seen time and again at Tip of the Spear in our Centered Executive Coaching initiatives with IT Leaders). In this post, we discuss three (3) communication skills training for leaders in the IT field… Enjoy!
#3 Building Rapport
Although this is not a rule, but as mentioned at the outset, the IT industry typically attracts introverts. For example, some of the most successful software developers are introverts because this job requires problem solving and independent work. The same is true of data processing managers.
Hence, communication skills don’t come naturally to people who work and even excel in this industry. However, the key to IT and corporate success is building rapport with your team. Even though you work with technology, your employees, partners, and customers are all human beings. This is why you need to go out of your way to regularly communicate with and develop rapport with them. This doesn’t mean that you spend most of your 8-hour shift chit-chatting, but the occasional lunch, team meeting, or even a casual email can prove sufficient.
#2 The Art of Selling
Creative people, especially those in the IT sector, are not the best salespeople either. Hence, communication skills training for leaders should also include pointers on how they can and should deal with clients.
As an IT professional, you may typically know more about your craft than the client (internal or external) you are serving. However, never forget the Golden Rule of Business: The customer is ALWAYS right, even when they are wrong.
Even if the client is 100% wrong, instead of fighting them, you may need to learn to disagree in a way that doesn’t offend the client. And if the client may come off as sounding stupid, you still have to give them the chance to save face by saying something like ‘I completely understand your perspective. Here is what I think…’
In similar vein, you should never take the clients comments about your work personally. This will only make things more problematic (and if you’re like the majority of clients we coach, you’re looking to fill your day with less problems, not more!) This will be a test of your leadership communication skills for sure.
#1 Shun Arrogance
Being highly creative, IT people have a tendency to defend themselves when there is a work dispute (see selling skills addressed above), and for the most part, the other person interprets this as arrogance, which is disaster for corporate relationships. No one is telling you to agree with everything people say, but you should make a conscious effort to listen patiently, even if your argument is 100% right!
To sum up, even if the IT industry is a technical and creative one, there are corporate interests at stake that can only be achieved with sound communication skills. These include being diplomatic with clients, improving listening skills, and shunning arrogance.
For more information on Tip of the Spear’s Business Advisory Services where we specialize in providing communication skills training for leaders, executive coaching, and leadership development training use the CONTACT US page of this website.