Should an IT executive know how to do the work of their staff members?

616 views4 Upvotes11 Comments

Senior Information Security Manager in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees
If that is an expectation, then the IT executive would have to be a jack of all IT trades and master of all of them.


With an IT staff of over 10 people, it is an almost impossible task.
Director in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
They need to have had some expertise in an area. And general knowledge of many IT topics. I’ve worked side by side and above leaders who went straight into managing and usually they were not the best performing

There are always exceptions but I’d take the experienced leader over the technically inexperienced 9 times out of 10
CTO in Software, 11 - 50 employees
No, they should be able to speak  their language.
CTO in Healthcare and Biotech, 11 - 50 employees
In my case I do. Since all of my team are developers and I’m an excellent developer. This helps them code better, whenever they have doubts or a problem they can’t fix, they come to me and I’ll guide/help them.

In the end, it helps a lot to know how do their work for the team.
CIO in Education, 201 - 500 employees
As an IT executive I believe we should know what they’re doing and, most importantly, why. Managers and Directors should have more hands-on skills. The higher the rise, the less the hands-on. I miss it.
Director of Information Security in Energy and Utilities, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
IT executive should have a pretty good idea on what their teams are doing from technical perspective. However I don't think they should be involved in hands on all the time as that is not primary role and function. Technology changes very rapidly too so you run a higher risk of issues if you have some IT executive do work that they haven't done in a couple of years. Senior manager and below should be fairly technical and director and above are more leadership roles (unless its a small startup where CTO's are frequently hands on developers etc.).
Director in Finance (non-banking), 10,001+ employees
Familiarity, yes, possibly the ability to cover in an emergency, but there is a slippery slope between being a resource for your team and micromanaging...
Chief Information Officer in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
This question reminds me of the old saying, people don’t quit bad jobs, they quit bad bosses. The question also seems to insinuate that for an IT executive to be a good boss the executive needs to know how to do the work of their team members. I my experience, this does not make a great boss. Technical competence in an IT executive is an important aspect of leadership, but it is not the only factor of a good leader.

Studies have shown that the benefit of having a competent boss is the largest positive influence of a team member’s job satisfaction and performance. But what does competency look like? Technical acumen or the ability to support the team member in their role to be successful?

There have been many instances of IT leaders that lead highly technical teams but do not have the same background as their team. Truly effective leaders add value by enabling things to happen, not necessarily by doing the work. Good leaders practice seeing the bigger picture, and leave mastering the details to their team.
CIO in Finance (non-banking), 51 - 200 employees
No but they should know how to evaluate the effectiveness of their work.
VP of IT in Retail, 10,001+ employees
They soups have fundamental idea on the in’s and out, but I don’t think they need to have the same knowledge as their technical people.

Content you might like

Accountability - There's no system for accountability - we just rely on people keeping their word33%

Innovation - There's a structured process to contribute an idea and see the eventual outcome and decisions53%

People - Our company finds it difficult to do any of the above33%

People - Laggards hold things back but certain people and teams make it happen31%

General - We find it difficult to do any of the above15%

IT - We are held back from most of the above by legacy systems and a dependence on IT24%

Processes and Workflow - We've reached a point where email, chat and documentation have been replaced with accountable tasking and repeatable processes17%

Processes and Workflow - We publish processes or documentation and try to keep it up-to-date13%

Something else (comments below)1%


4.9k views6 Upvotes2 Comments




1.1k views1 Upvote

CTO in Software, 201 - 500 employees
Without a doubt - Technical Debt! It's a ball and chain that creates an ever increasing drag on any organization, stifles innovation, and prevents transformation.
Read More Comments
47k views133 Upvotes324 Comments

Community User in Software, 11 - 50 employees

organized a virtual escape room via - even though his team lost it was a fun subtitue for just a "virtual happy hour"
Read More Comments
13.5k views27 Upvotes67 Comments