Overview of This Book
In Chapter 2, Why Geek Leadership is Different, we examine the definition of a leader and the challenges geeks face in leadership roles. We explore the Information Technology industry, taking a look at failed IT projects. We expound on the leadership potential that is intrinsic to geek leaders. In order to increase the success rate of IT projects, geeks need to understand their intrinsic power and utilize it to lead projects and organizations. This chapter concludes with a Leadership Assessment Questionnaire that can help you analyze and understand your leadership strengths and weaknesses.
This leads to Emotionally Intelligent Communications, which is discussed in Chapter 3. Good communication skills are essential to effective leadership. Helping geek leaders to communicate with emotional intelligence enables them to connect with their team members, their management, and their customers. In this chapter, I introduce the “Missed Signals” use case, which is based on a couple of actual events. Then, we describe three building blocks: (1) emotional intelligence, (2) the Communications Cycle, and (3) the basics of reading body language. These three building blocks are then combined to describe the process of communicating with emotional intelligence. The chapter concludes with an Implementation Checklist designed to assist the geek leader to become a more effective communicator.
Emotionally intelligent communications require the geek leader to know himself or herself. Chapter 4, Self-Leadership, begins with a use case that describes a challenging selfleadership situation. I then provide tools to help the geek leader discover himself or herself and to define the type of leader he or she would like to be. Then I explain how geek leaders can “rewrite their code” and take incremental steps to become the leaders they need and desire to be over time. At the end of this chapter, you will find a checklist that can help you take a proactive approach to improving your self-leadership.
Followers must accept being led. In Chapter 5, Followership, I present a use case describing a situation in which a geek leader has trouble obtaining support from her followers. I describe what it means to be an effective follower and the relationship between effective leadership and effective followership. We will discuss the leader’s responsibility for resolving conflicts among followers and for creating synergistic solutions. I introduce a technique I call “Reverse Micromanagement,” which I have effectively employed on several occasions to ensure that my leadership has the information they need to make decisions and up-channel status. The chapter concludes with a Followership Assessment to help you analyze how well your team members engage in followership.
A geek leader without personal credibility will be frustrated and ineffective. In Chapter 6, Personal Credibility, we discuss the importance of being an organized leader. We discuss the meaning of acting in a proactive manner. I will introduce techniques for prioritizing initiatives. We discuss keeping commitments, as an essential element of leadership is accountability—accountable geek leaders prevent IT project failures. Putting these principles into action produces a geek leader with a good reputation and substantial influence, which we will explore. We will conclude with an Implementation Checklist the geek leader can use to increase his or her personal credibility.
In Chapter 7, Project Leadership Systems Integration, we bring it all to-gether with an overview of the CompTIA Project+ project management life cycle and product life cycles. Systems integration in this context means integrating IT leadership into the project management life cycle. I will introduce the Leadership Integration Plan, which provides guidance for defining, implementing, and assessing leadership within the context of the CompTIA Project+ project management life cycle. This chapter concludes with a Leadership Integration Plan template.
In Chapter 8, Closeout, we finish our examination of geek project leadership with a business fable about a CEO facing the challenge of injecting leadership into the project management practices within his company. We will explore three established and pertinent leadership models: the Exemplary Leadership Model, the Team Leadership Model, and the Situational Leadership Model. Each provides leadership concepts that can aid the geek leader in overcoming leadership challenges.
This book provides geek leaders with resources to assist them to continually improve their leadership abilities. My goal is to provide information to help geeks in leadership roles better understand leadership and become better leaders. This information can help geeks aspiring to advance their careers into management and earn more money and prestige. As presented in the overview, this book is designed to coach IT professionals in leadership positions on how to lead their teams within the context of being a leader in their organization. After you complete this book, you will be able to overcome leadership challenges with emotionally intelligent communication.
I am confident that this book will help geeks become better, more effective leaders, embodying the leadership characteristics described earlier that have made others successful leaders. This book can also help non-geeks better understand geeks, IT projects, and the impact of leadership on the success of IT projects. The management instruments at the end of Chapters 2 through 7 can help you put what you have learned into practice.
The information I provide in this book will help geeks progress in their careers by being aware of leadership expectations and adapting their styles accordingly. I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it for you. Now, let’s continue with Chapter 2, Why Geek Leadership Is Different.