Through years of experience in the Information Technology industry I have had the chance to see a variety of leaders and bosses.  While everyone has their own style, I have found that one of the true keys to success as a leader is to be flexible.  Flexibility is so important that I recommend that other leaders in the area, both new and longstanding take the chance to become more flexible.

Why You Need To Be Flexible

The number one reason that you should be flexible is fairly straight forward, everyone has a different style of work.  Everyone won’t be able to adapt to your style, no matter how much you try.  If you learn to incorporate your team’s work style into yours, it can make everyone who works for you and with you far more productive.

Being flexible is also important because of today’s dynamic markets, where work needs are quickly moving and changing.  Some people may do their best IT work later in the day.  But at the same time you need to keep the business’s needs in mind. Plans change in the IT industry and being able to adapt to new circumstances is just as important as adapting to your employees.  The IT services we develop and deliver at RAY ALLEN INC are extremely fluid and change with our client’s needs, especially as we have expanded into international markets.

A good example of being able to adapt to change is a complete failure of IT services at your site.  While this may be a worst-case scenario, it is going to alter a lot of people’s plans for the day.   As much as the enterprise works to avoid it, there will always be unexpected failures in the hardware, software or services you are working in.   Whether a small delay in a process, or a significant interruption of service, you will need to come up with a work around depending on departments and a variety of team members and to lead your team properly to handle various issues.

Being flexible is especially important with a leader taking on a new role at a company or department.  You are taking over for a team that you have never met and must work with them.  Even if you plan to change the department, that change will take time and there will be areas that you will need to change as well.

Increasing the Flexibility as a Leader

The first part of increased flexibility is realizing that just because you are a leader in the IT industry does not mean that you are in control of everything.  Acknowledging this fact goes a long way towards making yourself and your team more flexible.  Another step that you should take is to learn to recognize the various work styles that both those below you and above you have.  Understanding these variations in your team will help you identify when you need to work with someone and when someone needs to work with you.  It will also help you identify the ease with which it will be to work with someone.

Working to become better at negotiating and talking with people is also crucial.  There are times when your team members will have to be flexible too.  During these times they look for you to come up with a solution to meet them halfway.  Compromise makes all parties feel as if they have won something and all parties feel as if they have given up something.  It creates equality.

Being a successful leader requires many different skills.  You don’t learn all of these overnight.  I know that I didn’t.  The most important part is that you be willing to learn them.  Learning and growing is part of flexibility.  Flexibility to know that you need to be both a leader and a follower at all times is important.  I hope this is insightful for those who are trying to become leaders in the IT and broader technology industry.  Becoming a leader isn’t an easy but all of the skills you need to become a good leader are those that everyone should be working to develop.  Let us know what skills you believe to be most important in good leaders in the comments down below.

Todd Ringleman

Todd Ringleman

Founder, CEO at RAY • ALLEN INC
Todd Ringleman is Founder and CEO of RAY • ALLEN INC. Under Todd’s leadership, RAY • ALLEN INC has grown from a disruptive idea into a leading partner in the IT Asset Management and Recurring Revenue market.
Todd Ringleman