Leadership in tech: how to *learn to* lead in order to transform the industry

February 9, 2023

Leadership. It’s a word we hear more all the time, and it has various shapes, shades, and nuances. How do we define leadership? What does it mean to lead? Is leadership a position, or is it a role? How do we learn to lead?

From the time we’re young, we’re faced with situations in which we find ourselves leading. We lead while playing and while working in teams in the classroom, or when we’re dealing with complex situations among our friends. Even at school, we don’t learn how to lead per se. We may learn skills and values that are related to leadership, but it isn’t the main focus of the teaching and learning process. So how do we know that we’re leading?

Leadership, according to Peter Drucker, is the ability to influence and motivate a group of people to accomplish a common goal. True leadership isn’t based on power or authority. Rather, it’s based on the ability to communicate a clear vision and align the team’s efforts around that vision. A good leader should be open to learning how to consciously take on a role that goes beyond the position that he or she holds, because leading consists of being aware of one’s own situation, as well as other people’s situations.

According to various authors and experts, the essential skills needed to be a leader are:

  • Clear and effective communication (verbal and non-verbal)
  • The ability to make decisions (even if they aren’t always right)
  • The knack for influencing others by example
  • Flexibility, adaptability, and resilience
  • An aptitude for recognizing and controlling emotions

In the tech industry, change is constant, and uncertainty is a normal state of affairs. That’s why it’s crucial to have flexible leaders who are capable of constantly reflecting, reevaluating, and readapting.

Leadership plays an essential role in organizational productivity, and this reality has led to the emergence of new models and types of leadership that blend in-person and virtual presence, demanding flexibility, resilience, and adaptation. In tech, the ability to lead presents both a challenge and an opportunity to ensure organizational success and innovation, while also fostering an atmosphere of collaboration and continuous learning that keeps the team motivated and inspired.

In an article from StarMeUp, Andrés Hatum, an expert in organizational culture, and Guibert Englebienne, the co-founder of Globant and president of Globant X, shared that “to propel companies into the future, […] leaders would benefit from daring to relinquish control, trusting their talent, and focusing on creating an organizational culture that recognizes people and values collaboration.”

Learning to lead: why and to what end?

Learning to lead is important to the success and effectiveness of the organization and its teams. Good leadership can motivate and inspire, improve decision-making, and foster a positive and productive work environment. Plus, learning to lead impels people to develop skills in a number of areas, including communication, conflict resolution, empathy, and decision-making.

At Globant, we believe that leaders aren’t born—rather, they learn to lead. Leaders grow along with their team and organization. Good leaders first have to be able to guide themselves. This will enable them to lead others and spearhead processes for transformation, change, and innovation, to achieve business success.

In our Learning & DEI department, we design personalized learning approaches for our leaders. We take into account their seniority and geographic region, since considering the circumstances in which learners are immersed is key to developing learning approaches that are meaningful and highly applicable. But how does a leader learn?

When designing learning experiences, we keep certain premises in mind:

  • We start from the idea that leadership is learned. Leadership is constructed (and co-constructed) in an ongoing process of learning and relearning, with the understanding that leadership is not a position, but rather a role to be played.
  • We design training approaches that are varied and highly applicable, serving different styles of leadership and their training needs and placing each Glober at the center of their own learning process.
  • We rely on data about our leaders’ training needs, in order to meet their challenges through learning and innovation.

In this context, we designed the first #LeAPCertification, a leadership certification for the company’s leaders. It’s a gamified, multi-modal approach, where each leader can choose among different learning resources and formats.

Effective leadership learning can be a continuous process, one that may be lifelong. At Globant, we believe that the best way to serve our leaders is by being close, giving them tools to meet their day-to-day challenges, and using technology to promote the development of habits and behaviors within the organization.

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