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Transforming IT Culture: How to Use Social Intelligence, Human Factors and Collaboration to Create an IT Department That Outperforms by Frank Wander

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Chapter 10

The Servant Leader

Prosocial and Authentic

The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit. . . . This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.

—Peter F. Drucker

This chapter develops the notion of servant leadership, a paradigm in which the leader’s needs are subservient to those of the workers. As in Chapter 4, I am going to use music as a metaphor to show how one conducts an information technology (IT) organization. With so many programming languages (our notes), technology shifts (musical eras), and tools (our instruments), IT has a much more complex orchestra from which its conductors must unlock great music. The hyperspecialization in IT ensures that the performers know their instruments far better than the conductor ever could, so focusing on creating an environment where they can give a great performance is paramount. In an IT organization of 1,000 people, 150 areas of knowledge specialization are not unusual, so the complexity is real and ever changing.

To craft an orchestra that flourishes, the conductor must remain outwardly focused, shaping the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of the group to unleash productive interactions and desirable outcomes. ...

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