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Why are the top techies leaving?

by on December 20, 2012

Flickr:  lkaestner

A series of departures from top tech firms recently is demonstrating the challenges faced by top organisations in funnelling technical talent into leadership roles.

Among them, Steven Sinofsky, head of Windows at Microsoft, whose sudden exit has been blamed on a belligerent approach to business and lagging behind the curve on tablets, and Apple’s head of iOS software, Scott Forstall, known for his abrasive personality, and the mishandling of the disastrous Apple maps app debacle, which sealed his fate. Whereas Yahoo has been through three chief execs in a year, recently luring Google’s Henrique de Castro with a generous pay deal, as its latest COO.

For technical minds, business insight and soft skills aren’t necessarily second nature, but can be learned. Honing people management expertise should be a focus for ambitious CIOs or anyone hoping to reach senior level whether at a tech company, or as an IT head in any other sector.

Listening, empathy and diplomacy are all key to good communication. Paying attention to other people’s ideas is as important for garnering respect as having clear ideas of your own.

There is also plenty of evidence in favour of positive reinforcement to get a job done well. Showing appreciation for your staff’s efforts is as important as driving them hard to get the job done. Productivity has been shown to be linked to reward, so constructive praise, rather than criticism is often the most effective weapon in your armoury. After all, you won’t kill them with kindness, but a badly thought out criticism might just shoot yourself in the foot.

Modis MD Roys Dungworth: “Top level reshuffling has highlighted the importance of soft skills for the long term success of a senior tech management. Keeping up with industry developments and staying ahead of the curve is essential for CIOs who want to up their game even further.”

Modis has a variety of management courses specifically for tech pros. For more information, head to our Employee Training page.

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