10 Leadership Traits To Look For When Onboarding IT Employees


When onboarding a new member to the IT team, assess their hard skills like coding and technical expertise, as well as their soft skills like creativity and problem-solving ability.

A good balance of “soft” behavior and personality traits and “hard” technical skills make a strong IT candidate that will add value to your company. These are team members you can count on to tackle a wide range of tasks and projects.

One of the most significant behavior skills to look for in a new hire is their leadership quality. You might not think to look for this trait unless you are hiring an executive, but onboarding an individual with leadership traits will bring a lot to the table.

These candidates are meticulous and eager to learn, and they have good communication and problem-solving skills. This creates a higher standard to live up to, as these are qualities other employees will likely strive for.

A new addition to the work team can be a hit or miss, and every mistake costs money, time, and effort. If you are looking for an employee that will stay for the long haul and can add to the company culture, these 10 leadership traits are what you need to look out for when onboarding in IT.

10 Leadership Traits To Look For When Onboarding IT Employees

leadership traits

1. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) is crucial to being a good team player and leader. People with a good understanding of others and with innate empathy can understand and control their feelings, while being able to comprehend and handle others’ feelings, too.

Having that knowledge, employees are more likely to create positive outcomes and improve productivity levels.

As part of an organization, members with high emotional intelligence are better at communicating and engaging in human interactions, have a bigger capacity to deal with challenging situations, and make a favorable candidate for a future leader. Therefore, hiring a candidate with solid EI can undoubtedly contribute to the company culture as they are more likely to identify with and understand coworkers and clients.

2. Aspiration to Learn

The business world is changing faster than ever, and developing technologies are accelerating the change every single moment. In an industry that is so dynamic, the one trait a new hire cannot lack is an intrinsic aspiration to continuously learn and grow. Whatever knowledge and expertise a candidate has at the moment, this will not be substantial for long if they don’t keep developing it.

An individual who is hungry for knowledge and is interested in every part of the work is a keeper. Not only will they be willing to be involved in projects that are out of their job description, but they also will motivate other team members to broaden their scope.

If an employee shows great interest during the onboarding process and the training period, is proactive when given tasks, is genuinely curious about new ideas, and wants to learn from others, you might be looking at leadership material and a strong asset to your business.

3. Striving for Excellence

Leaders need a variety of qualities to climb the corporate ladder and manage others. With the IT market being super competitive and rather cutthroat, only a person who goes the extra mile can create success and development.

Regardless of whether it’s a simple task or a big project, striving for excellence means creating value that is better than the competition and worthy of the clients.

To ensure you are not bringing a half-hearted or superficial worker to the team, require specific metrics and models of previous projects of the candidate to demonstrate their thoroughness and showcase their work. A detail-oriented candidate will pay close attention to the task they are working on and provide high-quality work that has little or no errors, meaning less time to revise and correct.

Again, this creates a standard for everyone around them and enables precision, accuracy, and neatness that are at the core of a good IT product.

4. Passion for Technology

The IT industry is one of the highest-paying sectors at the moment, attracting a great number of high-school graduates to start their education in the industry, as well as drawing individuals from other professions to migrate to the tech world.

Even though IT offers a great variety of roles, not everyone is an appropriate candidate for the field.

When hiring new people, look for individuals with a passion for technology, both for current technology trends and emerging tech trends and developments in the sector. This can be easily noticed in their enthusiasm when working on projects, in meetings, or during presentations.

IT employees must carry the company into the future and connect multiple options in software, databases, networking, storage, analytics, hardware, and ecosystems for current and future needs.

5. Good Communicator

This is an essential soft skill in every industry, but the importance of good communication among IT employees cannot be stressed enough. IT professionals regularly communicate not only with their team members but also with other departments within the company and clients outside the company.

These skills apply to written language, verbal communication, and visual exchange. In written communication, it is crucial for an employee to be able to express their thoughts in a well-organized manner and be able to give clear instruction, free from distracting grammatical errors.

Correspondingly, both verbal and visual exchange should leave no room for doubt of what should be achieved in mutual tasks. Future leaders should communicate effectively and continuously.

6. Flexible and Adaptable

Apart from being a fast learner, the one trait that should not elude any tech employee to matter their status is the ability to adapt to change. Employees that can adjust to different circumstances, personalities, and inquiries tend to be better problem-solvers and more productive in any given task. Open-minded people can work better under pressure and they subtly handle stress.

On the other hand, a person who has difficulty adjusting to change is more likely to complain, have trouble communicating with coworkers and clients, and be less productive overall. Team leaders need to have a positive attitude in any situation and a certain level of maturity to reflect this trait to their coworkers and subordinates.

7. Decision-Maker

Smooth seas never made a skilled sailor, and the tech world is rarely a smooth sea. It is filled with decision-making, ranging from a simple button on an app to tough decisions on whether to kill a project or when to walk away from a deal.

The ability to take a stand on tough choices decides if you lead your business toward success or bankruptcy.

When interviewing a potential candidate, let them elaborate on a difficult choice they have made or ask them to make a decision in a hypothetical situation. Instead of just giving a definite answer, let your candidate explain the thought process behind the decision and assess their critical thinking.

8. Team Player

One of the most obvious soft skills needed to work on a team, yet a trait not everyone possesses, is being a good team player. This means having the ability to actively work on their own tasks while being perceptive about team goals and the work of others.

In the development of any project, it is critical that the entire team be aligned in vision and goals. Not only do good team players understand the importance of the group’s success as a whole and actively participate in joint efforts, but they also share responsibility when times are rough.

Leaders need to be able to have a good working relationship with teammates and respect everyone in the group as a professional and as a person. In meetings and discussions, it is natural not to agree with everyone’s opinion; however, a good team leader should be able to work with others who think or operate differently than them.

9. Open to Feedback

When a professional is open to criticism and feedback, they have an absence of ego and are dedicated to improving and excelling in their career. This not only shows that a person is easygoing and probably easy to work with, but it also demonstrates an eagerness to learn from the current situation and alter future ways of working.

Ask a candidate about the feedback they have received and how they responded to it. Evaluate their analytical thinking when assessing the feedback and if they believe the positive criticism improved their focus and results.

10. Strategic Thinker

Project management has a final goal that needs to be met, but without detailed organization and action planning it will remain a vision instead of a reality.

Having multiple ongoing projects in the IT department is typical, and being able to handle such a workload demonstrates multitasking and organizational skills, as well as superior time-management abilities.

A team member that can create a strategy and action plan to reach goals will positively affect the time and efforts of everyone working with them and contribute to better overall productivity.

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Author: Doug Walker