Costa Koutakis
Costa Koutakis Executive Head: Enterprise

Some people say that effective communications can hold a business together. However, it’s not only business, every facet of human interaction relies on communications – and when there is a miscommunication, you can be sure that problems will arise. Diversity strengthens businesses because different people bring fresh perspectives to projects, but it also affects communications – especially when it takes place between the CEO and the IT manager. Both have strong ideas with different views on what is best for the company.

The CEO might not understand the need for technology and the IT manager might want a system implemented without considering the business implications. The communications should not be about technical versus business objectives. The CEO and IT manager need to converge their thinking through effective and improved communications and draft solutions that make business and technical sense.

Consider your IT manager’s view

Employees hate to be perceived as just a number. What’s worse is that they are too afraid to approach the CEO because they feel they will get the cold shoulder if they start a conversation. It is important for people in leadership positions to be respectful (not in the sense of speaking politely) but to possess the proper combination of body language, active listening and consideration.

Entrepreneur magazine provides a few quick tips for improved communications:

  • Understand why your IT manager sees things differently from you. Why not try and verse yourself on the technical aspects to better understand them?
  • If you do not understand, get valuable feedback.
  • Use the correct communication channels. With so many to choose from now, it’s fairly easy to choose the channel you feel most comfortable with or the one that’s most convenient. Face-to-face communications are ideal, especially when you’re discussing important business decisions. If it’s a tension-filled situation, having a chat over lunch away from the office is a great way to get people to open up.

Make a human connection

We could all benefit from communication training. Unless you rely heavily on communications in your job, it is often an undervalued and lightly regarded discipline in corporate leadership.

According to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz , you need to stop thinking about the products or services you sell and focus on creating a human connection. When you get this right, everything else will fall into place. Never turn away an employee who is trying to pitch an idea to you. If you are swamped with work, or have a lot on your mind at that moment, it is best to push that aside for a bit.

Proper use of communications in any form – verbal, non-verbal or written – will go a long way in getting things done and inspiring others. As a CEO, you must be approachable no matter where you are – in the boardroom or at the coffee machine. When your IT manager pitches an idea to you, provide feedback in a way that does not shut them down nor have them interpret your input as an idea that will not work.

IT has a vital role to play in the business, such as providing market intelligence to supplying IT solutions for decision analysis and improved business operations. If CEOs want to use IT as a strategic advantage, they need to better manage this resource. To acquaint yourself with the technicalities of your IT development, read our 5-step guide to IT budget development .

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