Between specialized college degree programs and ongoing training and professional development, technology leaders are among the most highly educated professionals in the business world.
They also play a critical role in an organization’s ongoing growth and success. Tech leaders are key members of the executive team, with Chief Technology Officers supporting the development and implementation of an organization’s overall strategic plan.
Technology teams also keep the day-to-day business operations running smoothly — technology is the backbone of a remote and hybrid workforce, personalized customer experiences, and a secure enterprise. But while tech leaders must keep current with the latest technology tools and trends, they also require several soft skills in order to find success in their roles.
The Importance of Soft Skills
Soft skills are interpersonal skills that help people in all types of roles relate to one another. They include qualities like empathy, flexibility, and the ability to work well on teams.
According to the United States Department of Labor, today’s employers view soft skills as more important to work readiness than job-specific hard skills. A recent LinkedIn Global Talent Trends report noted that 89 percent of recruiters say when a hire doesn’t work out, it’s the result of a lack of soft skills.
Top 5 Communication Skills in Tech
From negotiating for budgetary allowances to educating teams on technologies that streamline processes, tech leaders need effective communication skills to find success in their role. Being able to effectively communicate about technology will also help drive the long-term success of an organization because technology is often so intertwined with a company’s strategic plan.
Here are the top five communication skills every tech leader should learn:
1. Active Listening Skills
Technology can help people do their jobs more efficiently and effectively, and can help solve problems as well. In order to build and implement the right technological solutions to support teams across the organization, it’s important for tech leaders to first listen to what those teams need.
Through active listening, tech teams can learn about current processes, workflows, and pain points. They can also understand what technologies employees need to help them perform their jobs better or break through process bottlenecks. Based on what they learn, tech leaders can then recommend and implement technology solutions that truly solve problems and improve efficiencies.
Active listening is also important in the pre- and post-technology implementation process. If new technology that must be implemented requires downtime, communicating with teams about what specific timing may work for that downtime will help for a more successful and smoother implementation.
Once technology is implemented, tech leaders with strong active listening skills can discover what worked well during the rollout and what areas need improvement. They can then take those learnings for the next implementation, which creates goodwill — and buy-in — from teams across the business who know their voices are heard.
2. Excellent Writing Skills
Leaders from all areas of business should have excellent writing skills. They often have to effectively communicate with their teams through email, especially in remote or hybrid working environments.
Crafting clear and concise written messages eliminates confusion and often saves time on projects — which can also save on budget.
For technology leaders, writing clearly about complex technology is vital to its successful implementation. Technology leaders have to work with communications teams and technical writers to translate complicated systems and processes into clear communications to inform and train their organization on new technologies and will help other teams build the effective communication tools that are part of a successful implementation plan.
3. Presentation Skills
Technology leaders are often tapped to present information to internal teams, customers, or at industry events. Tech leaders need the confidence to get in front of people to present complex information in a way that is easy to understand.
Having compelling presentation skills will keep audiences engaged. Customers are more likely to purchase from companies that have a tech leader who can give informative, interesting, and thorough presentations that explain not only the technology, but why it is important and how it will improve their business.
4. Persuasion Skills
Being a tech leader involves more than just building and implementing technology. They must persuade people throughout the organization about the benefits of technology to gain approval and to earn buy-in. Tech leaders spend time persuading:
- C-suite executives to authorize new innovations or large-scale technology initiatives
- Finance teams to allocate budget for new technology tools and services
- Procurement teams to allow them to work with their chosen vendors and to acquire technology components in the right time frame
- Front-line employees to obtain buy-in on using the new tech, especially if they are hesitant to embrace new technology or follow a new process
Tech leaders need to be skilled in the art of persuasion to help people at all levels of the organization see their vision and understand the benefits that new technology can deliver.
5. Change Management Skills
Technology moves so fast, which can be intimidating. People may also be fearful of changes that new technology can bring.
Along with being skilled in the art of persuasion, tech leaders need to understand the steps involved with change management, which rely heavily on effective communication skills. Implementing any new technology should include a communications plan that informs teams about the implementation timeline, addresses employee concerns, generates excitement, and prepares people for working with the new tools.
Plans could include town hall meetings, employee newsletters, or countdown calendars. Tech leaders who understand change management can build an effective plan based on their project and organization.
Communication Training for Tech Leaders
The Harvard Division of Continuing Education offers a two-day, immersive Effective Organizational Communications course through its Professional Development Program. This course is designed to help professionals across industries and at all levels of their career improve their communication skills to deliver messages to diverse stakeholder groups including C-suite executives, employees, customers, and strategic partners.
Through hands-on activities, attendees will learn how to:
- Generate ideas for organizing, preparing, and delivering effective presentations
- Build trust and credibility quickly, and effectively handle resistance
- Learn and apply the principles of logical reasoning to lead audiences to action
- Use various communications strategies to achieve desired outcomes
- Understand the powerful impact of storytelling and learn how to incorporate stories into communications
- Lead and communicate in a crisis
Attendees will receive a Certificate of Participation upon successful completion of the course.Find success and advance your career in technology by gaining effective communication skills.
Learn more about all the Communications programs offered and enroll today.