Organisations need tech leaders that are resilient, agile, and future-focused. This is the finding that underpins a survey recently conducted by Deloitte.
Historically, the idea of a tech leader was one that required little imagination. A man (primarily) working solo, head down, glued to a screen, reviewing pages of code. Today though, Deloitte’s report has revealed that this can no longer be the case. Tech leaders must be as kinetic and dynamic as the landscape around them.
The pandemic has taught us how much we need tech, digital solutions, and data. Indeed, throughout this period, tech became our social space and our workplace. It helped thousands of businesses remain solvent, allowing them swift responses to changes in customer behavior.
Humanity and technology. The perfect partnership.
So given the ever-changing nature of the tech and digital space, what do we need from tech leaders of the future? How have the roles changed, and can the UK create the tech talent we need?
Industry thinkers believe the pandemic was an education. It taught us a lot. Among them, is the dependence we have on tech as a catalyst for connection.
As well as highlight the capabilities of tech, it also made us re-evaluate the types of people we need behind those digital products and solutions.
There must be a human behind the thinking; one that’s aware we crave human interaction via technology and that can nurture a team to be as productive as it can be.
Tech leaders of today are not the stereotype of yesteryear. They are brilliant, talented, and compassionate people, able to collaborate, listen and empathise. They appreciate innovation, encourage entrepreneurship, and create a space where teams feel safe to try (and fail).
Teams must be brought together and be led in a space where there’s a shared purpose. One where growth is nurtured and teams are supported to reach their full potential.
One recurring theme within the report is that tech leaders of the future will need so-called soft skills in abundance. It will be necessary to demonstrate qualities such as empathy, communication, and active listening. Leadership roles will require individuals that can foster curiosity amid a supportive, collaborative, and inclusive company culture.
Of course, the role of tech leaders also requires technical skills and understanding. There will of course be key drivers behind technological advances and digital change, and leaders will need to be well versed in them.
In particular, the report highlighted that fields such as AI, machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, and genetics and biotechnology are all areas that are growing. Individually and building on one another, these developing disciplines of tech are being layered to create the tech of the future.
Creating the next-gen.
In an era of significant tech talent shortage, how can the UK respond to the need for a new generation of tech leaders?
Overwhelmingly, industry experts believe the answer lies in training current teams to take on the leadership roles of the future.
Opportunities must be provided for tech upskilling that will meet the company’s digital transformation needs.
Digitalisation efforts are at the heart of many organisation’s business plans. Their success requires a strong focus on the people that work within them. Upskilling is one way of ensuring that employees have the right technology skills, now and in the future, to become the next generation of leaders.
Creating a diverse talent pipeline.
Diverse companies are proven to be more successful. By their very nature, they include individuals who carry a variety of lived experiences and viewpoints. These open-minded and inclusive organisations accommodate and encourage those individuals with the empathy, collaborative, and supportive qualities we mentioned earlier.
Technology, tools, and digital skills can be taught, but soft skills are harder to ‘teach’. By harnessing the skills of the team in place, rounded tech leaders can be created.
Is Gen Z the answer?
Gen Z talent is the future of tech leadership. It would seem that fresh grads are emerging with ‘it all’. They have up-to-date tech know-how and soft skills in abundance. This cohort has been proven to value diversity and inclusivity above any other factor when it comes to accepting a job. It’s critical that organisations review and act upon their inclusion and diversity policies if they wish to attract the tech leaders of the future.
A top-down mentality.
Looking more broadly, it will be critical to the economic recovery of the country to make sure the UK can create and sustain the tech leaders of the future.
This mentality has got to come from the top down. Leaders will not only have to upskill their teams, but also themselves.
Self-development will mean they are able to remain relevant in a landscape that is ever-evolving. Leaders can’t possibly have a future-focussed vision if they are not aware of the technology that is on the horizon.
It also sets the standard of the organisation. It creates mentors that can support, teach, and advise those working at a more junior level.
Big tech vs. Start-up.
Will the skills of tech leaders vary according to business size?
Theorists think so. In large organisations, tech leaders are likely to be experts in a particular…innovation, engineering, or product, for example. Conversely, in smaller organisations such as start-ups or scale-ups, tech leaders must wear many hats.
It is likely that in small companies, leaders will innovate, develop, implement, and deploy a solution from end to end.
The pandemic has kick-started the digital transformation efforts of many organisations. Amid a tech talent shortage, digital upskilling of current teams will allow a swift and agile reaction to changes in the business landscape.
Tech leaders of the future will be a different breed of professional. They will need to be well-rounded individuals with both soft and technical skills in abundance.
The pandemic has taught us in the most brutal way that we don’t know what’s around the corner. Current tech leaders must adapt to the world as it changes, and in so doing create the tech leaders of the future. They also need to create and run companies that have digital transformation at their core. These future-focussed organisations not only have the power to create the next generation of tech leaders, but they also hold the key to the wider recovery of the UK economy in the wake of the pandemic.
Are you a tech leader of the future? Do you feel you have what it takes to succeed in the exciting and progressive plans of leading companies and emerging industry pioneers?
We’d love to hear from you. Reach out today or send us your CV.