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Common Traits of Great Tech Leaders

Common Traits of Great Tech Leaders

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Common Traits of Great Tech Leaders

July 23, 2015

Great leaders like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have a lot more in common than just a long list of awards and accolades from their numerous years of experience. In fact, many great leaders share common traits that make them great leaders. One of such great leaders, Andrew Carnegie, a self-made industrialist in the early 20th century, asserts that successful leaders, regardless of background or upbringing, possess a certain set of shared traits. Here is a small snapshot of these 31 traits common traits that Carnegie outlines in “Think Your Way to Wealth.”

Great Leaders surround themselves with talent

Carnegie asserts that great achievement is rarely the product of one individual’s efforts but rather it is the result of a group of people working towards a definite goal. A great leader creates a “Master Mind alliance” and surrounds him or herself with talented, supportive people who share a common goal and are active in achieving it together. When interviewed, Steve Jobs described Apple as “an incredibly collaborative company,” demonstrating the need for successful teamwork.

In the process of building an effective team, a great leader identifies a definite goal and are continuously motivated to achieve that goal. A great leader is able to surround him or herself with like-minded individuals to achieve a common purpose.

Great Leaders do not give up and can take criticism

Great leaders are persistent with a strong drive to succeed. They are not fazed by setbacks. Carnegie notes that many people are good at starting ideas but are very bad at seeing them through to the end. Many people balk at the first sign of difficulty and never get far enough to see their goals realised. Thomas Edison blew through 1,000 different designs before he got the lightbulb to work. Persistence leads to success in technological innovation.

One of the first signs of difficulty that many people face while leading is criticism. Great leaders are capable of responding to criticism with grace and without resentment. In the words of Carnegie, “Bigness overlooks the smallness of criticism and carries on.”

Great Leaders are enthusiastic

Many great leaders are genuinely enthusiastic about what they do and are able to direct this enthusiasm to definite goals. Enthusiasm is infectious and coworkers can feel the enthusiasm buzzing in the air when their leaders get motivated, energized and excited to work for a goal. On the other hand, the lack of enthusiasm is equally contagious and can quickly break the morale of a well oiled team. Being able to channel their positive enthusiasm to others help great leaders keep the people around them motivated to achieve a common goal.

Great Leaders take responsibility for their team

Great leaders assume responsibility for the work that their team does, regardless of who actually did the work. Great leaders do not shy away from admitting when poor work has been done and take responsibility for their team’s shortcomings. No successful leader shifts failure or blame to others.

In this line of thought, great leaders do not only take responsibility for the failure of a team but also recognise the achievements of others and commends people for excellent work. Clean, excellent code deserves praise from remarkable leaders. People are motivated by recognition and approval and great leaders are able to motivate their team by recognising their achievements.

The number of startups in Australia has steadily increased by as much as 23% in 2014. Great technology startups require great leaders to take charge and see their companies find success. It is not enough to possess only some of Carnegie’s listed traits. Rather, great, successful leaders possess almost all of the 31 different traits that Carnegie lists in “Think your Way to Wealth.” These age-old traits are still relevant in today’s technology-centric world.

What traits do you think should be added to Carnegie’s list? Can you think of a leader that has inspired you with some of these traits?

Share some of your experiences in the comments below.

Steve Revins

Senior Tech Talent Manager
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  • author

An Irish cat living the dream in Sydney I don’t know what to tell ya! Even though I’m a long way from the homeland I’ve successfully built up 5 years of local industry knowledge specialising in emerging technologies. I have a strong JAVA and Ruby on Rails following in NSW and VIC. I also have extensive experience sourcing specialist software development teams for technology companies with highly transactional, high volume, data intensive environments. Let’s catch up for a pint, but do send me a message and we’ll see what happens!

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  • Steve Revins

    Senior Tech Talent Manager

IT & Digital Recruitment Without Guesswork

"Our strength lies in understanding the complete client environment, which includes not only the technology but also the mindset of the individuals working in IT environments. We provide a hiring solution that serves both the needs of its clients and candidates. We provide a premium IT talent management service supported by well thought out business processes and operating methodologies." - Steve Wilson, Founder CITI Recruitment

  • Steve Revins

    An Irish cat living the dream in Sydney I don’t know what to tell ya! Even though I’m a long way from the homeland I’ve successfully built up 5 years of local industry knowledge specialising in emerging technologies. I have a strong JAVA and Ruby on Rails following in NSW and VIC. I also have extensive experience sourcing specialist software development teams for technology companies with highly transactional, high volume, data intensive environments. Let’s catch up for a pint, but do send me a message and we’ll see what happens!

    Steve Revins

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