Network World posted an interesting article a couple weeks ago about the "soft skills" management needs to look for when hiring tech talent.
It bears noting that, according to a Network World poll, 58% of managers cited lack of soft skills as limiting the productivity of their companies. Over half! Wow. Things are changing indeed.
Here is our "take" on the six soft skills mentioned in the article that will drive the next generation of technology talent.
- Adaptability: Network World refers to it as "learning agility". We call it the ability to turn on a dime; being able to translate the issues and challenges within their organizations into technology that advances their cause.
- Culture Fit: Culture matters more than ever in today's business-scape. Especially for younger employees who are drawn to employers who are sensitive to things like cultural diversity and the environment. In the case of "culture fit", however, you may need to look within your team as well. Established workers and senior management may need to adapt, culturally, to attract and retain fresh millennial talent.
- Collaboration: Our educational systems are increasingly encouraging team work and collaboration among students. That has spawned a generation that is used to pulling people together to solve problems and meet challenges. Those who become adept at team building will become valuable assets as technology continues to grow in complexity and scope.
- Leadership: This role has grown to include more than just an ability to head up a department. Today's leaders are evolving to are those who have established themselves beyond the office. Those who are have taken a leadership role within their communities; taking part in local programs and causes.
- Potential for Growth: How will an individual grow his or her own capabilities in an environment full of change? Those who remain static in their approach run the risk of being sidelined. They will be outpaced by those who embrace change.
- Prioritization: How an employee uses his or her time speaks volumes about their ultimate success with an organization. Understanding, at any given time, what needs to top the action list and how to delegate properly will become critical in an ever changing environment such as IT.
Clearly, some of the above traits all managers seek in bringing new talent on board. All are important. Just as clear, however, is the dynamic shift away from the IT/Telecom managers of the past (who spent most of their hours fixing things and trying to maintain control) towards a new breed, with a new skill set – working in lock step with management, and taking a leadership role in providing the technology and the data intelligence to move the company forward.
As industry veterans ourselves, we think that's a good thing. And, possibly some recompense for all the geeks of the world who, decades past, were simply told to "fix it" or "make this work."