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IT leaders urged to transform mentoring styles

IT leaders urged to transform mentoring styles

Mentoring employees is no longer just a case of coaching, life skills, techniques, capabilities and experiential sharing, but also driving transformational change

IT leaders have been advised to change up the approach to mentoring programs to focus not just on the individual, but instead on maximising the individual’s potential in the context of the organisation.

IT consultant, Rob Livingstone, told attendees at a Not for Profits Forum in Sydney this week that mentoring employees is no longer just a case of coaching, life skills, techniques, capabilities and experiential sharing, but also driving transformational change by focussing on issues impacting employees negatively. Livingstone is also a mentor with the CIO Executive Council's Pathways ICT leadership program, a 12-month program that helps senior IT staff develop their business acumen and management skills.

”What I try and do is get to the root of the problem, whether it’s a troubled program or boss and work on ways to try and resolve those particular issues,” he said.

According to Livingstone, many organisations in the corporate world fail to address change they have undergone resulting in employee uncertainty.

“They think, ‘do I have a career here no one is explaining why it’s changing, what’s the impact?’” “From left to right [mentoring] is a highly interventionist process, there’s a mix of tough love and really commanding and demanding things happen… it becomes very practical and pointed and very specific to the technique.”

Technology now has a half life of approximately five years and is decreasing, he said, this presents implications for those IT workers who build their career on a specific technology stream as their options are continually shrinking.

For this reason, Livingstone notes a number of questions and considerations professionals must ask themselves to better their careers:

  • Can you recognise change in the business environment, before it impacts your career? - Overcome this by gaining a greater knowledge of your area of expertise by reading widely and being informed about worldwide technology trends.
  • Can you promote an idea to non IT stakeholders? - Display self confidence, Livingstone says, promote your ideas without pushing too hard or wasting energy on trivial points.
  • Can you differentiate transactional skills vs transformational skills: What’s your mix? - According to Livingstone, each IT career professional should be continually re-investing in their supplemental skills, but not just reinforcing skills in their area of specialty.
  • What’s got you this far may not work for you in the future. - Accepting or repeating past behaviours may not get you anywhere in the future, Livingstone says, being adaptable and having value are crucial.
  • Seek objective and trusted opinions to help steer you towards an outcome that you want
  • Who is responsible for your career?
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