Effective Leadership in Technology

By Mostafa Sayyadi, CAHRI, AFAIM, CPMgr

Leaders play a critical role in technology and fundamentally affect the way corporate functions run. Look at Steve Jobs, who dramatically changed Apple Computer, Inc., and fundamentally built a different organization. He created a more effective organization built upon challenging the company norms and continuing to fundamentally change. Elliot and Simon in their book, The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation, state that Steve Jobs could build a highly effective organization through taking a change-oriented leadership approach, which highly manifested itself in product. The evidence from these studies suggests that leadership can help organizations to thrive technology in order to achieve a higher degree of effectiveness. In the absence of effective leadership in technology, companies lose the required direction to achieve a high degree of competitiveness, and cannot adapt to today’s uncertain business environment.

Technology, as one would imagine, is often associated with information and communication dispersed within companies. When executives have people in place to manage technology and embrace leadership, the organization can see increased revenues, better satisfaction by employees and customers, and most importantly enhance their own effectiveness as leaders. Information technology is an important resource for strategic planning. Information technology enables strategic planning by using three possible mechanisms: impersonal, personal, and collective. Executives can facilitate impersonal mechanism through enacting regulations, procedures, and rules aimed at coordinating intellectual capital within organizations. Information technology disseminates protocols among members, and allows them to be knowledgeable of their progresses toward meeting determined milestones stated in the strategic plans. The personal mechanism can be also enhanced by executives to the vertically and horizontally exchanging knowledge between employees and collective mechanism is improved when information technology manifests itself as a synthesizer of ideas and knowledge acquired from multiple organizational members. Thus, executives can facilitate IT implementation through encouraging people to embark on technological facilities, such as shared electronic workspaces, to provide new ideas and possible solutions for solving organizational problems

Executives can also facilitate communication technology, which enhances interactions among organizational members and departments. They can use information technology as communication mechanism manifestation and deployment and decision-aid technology. Communication technology provides the ways to enhance interactions among members and departments within organizations. Communication technology can eliminate the barriers of organizational communications while improving the extent of knowledge sharing and access for all followers at various levels of the organization. In addition, executives can implement decision-aid technology as a cohesive infrastructure to store and retrieve knowledge to enable followers in creating more innovative solutions to problems and managing operational risks. Ergo, executives can support information technology by enabling interactions and providing more comprehensive and effective solutions to solve organizational problems.

Executives are also role models for their followers and they are often admired and respected by subordinates. Thus, information technology could be perceived as a critical resource by organizational members because an executive becomes a role model who uses technology to build shareholder value. Executives can, therefore, serve as role models who highlight the importance of the application of information technology.

In conclusion, this article introduces a new and dynamic perspective of technology leadership within organizations. I suggest that executives embrace leadership to thrive technology. The key here is that there is positive effect of leadership on information technology performance. In fact, without a grasp on this tenet executives are bound to fail.

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Mostafa Sayyadi, CAHRI, AFAIM, CPMgr, works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies, and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to HR.com and Consulting Magazine and his work has been featured in these top-flight business publications.