I am an experienced IT Leader. Here are a few suggestions on grooming yourself for leadership not just in IT but any industry-
- Think of the bigger picture always. When you are given a task, think from the shoes of your customer, manager and your team too. Understand their commitments to their own customers and managers. That will help you better understand the criticality of your task and your responsibility.
- Take more and more responsibilities as you grow up. Interact more with your leaders, customers and your team.
- Remember Team comes before self. In other words Team Work is greater than promoting yourself.
- Be organised in planning your work, assigning tasks, managing your team and tracking the plan. Do not just manage work adhoc or on-the-fly and cause distress to everyone around.
- Ensure high quality reporting of status. Escalate at the right time in the right manner. This will ensure your leadership trusts and relies on you.
- Stay as calm as possible under stress and escalations. Don't multiply stress onto the team you manage. Dig into the root cause of the problem. Do not get into a blame game. Be honest to your teams, your managers and your customer.
- Your team needs you more when in trouble rather than in good times. So be in the forefront and guide your team especially when there are facing issues at work.
- Contribute to the organisation you work in. Think of your Org can reuse the work you do. Become part of interview panels.
- Get into regular trainings for your self-development and to become up-to-date with industry trends. Develop Planning, Communication, Articulation, Presentation and Negotiation Skills.
- Ensure Org policies are adhered to by you and your team. Set an example.
- Encourage innovation, free thought and feedback mechanism in your team.
- Have clear goals and metrics for your work. Be in control of the numbers.
While there are more, but the above should give you a fair picture of what key aspectst you should to focus on, for your career growth to reach the top positions in any organisation.