How CTOs leave their power and authority on the table

75% of CTOs leave their power and authority on the table, in my experience.

What do I mean by “leave their power and authority on the table”?

I mean they do at least one (if not many) of these things:

◇ they don’t realise that the culture they don’t like was created by them. They can also create a different culture, they “just” have to change their behaviour

◇ their team’s behaviour and performance is a mirror of their actions, if they acted differently they’d get different results

◇ they are in a position of authority in the business with the power to get the rest of the C-Suite and board to do things they want done, if they make a clear business case

◇ they don’t actively seek to understand what is it that they’re doing that’s getting them the results they’re seeing. Introspection is the secret weapon to confidence, assertiveness and replicating success.

◇ they act as a Senior Principal Engineer not as the “Chief leader of technology” that they are, who’s meant to lead engineering so it delivers on the business aims

◇ they don’t see themselves as a translator between the business aims and engineering, they see themselves as the top geek

◇ they don’t seem to realise the huge power they have in the business — without their department delivering, most companies would be dead in the water

◇ they’re not asserting what they would like to do, often are filled with lack of confidence and self doubt

◇ they might complain about tech divas in their department but don’t seem to realise it’s within their power to have those tech divas dealt with, either by themselves or the VP Engineering

◇ they avoid correcting course for teams that go astray because they’re worried about coming across as a jerk

◇ they’re afraid to check where teams are at for fear of coming across as micromanaging

◇ some are paralysed by democracy — they want to be inclusive leaders by listening to everybody but keep avoiding making a decision

◇ they complain about not having the power to do anything, when in fact they’re just not doing the things that influence people.

CTOs, please hear this:

You have the power! 💪
You have the authority! 👍

Please stop waiting for anyone to give it to you.

You have it! Own it! Act on it!

Become obsessed with understanding everyone in the CSuite and the company’s priorities!

Work on yourself to gain the confidence, assertiveness and communication skills to live out the power and authority you already hold!

What other ways have you seen C Level people leaving their power and authority on the table?

Follow: #reengineeringleadership for Tech leadership insights.



Adelina Chalmers a.k.a The Geek Whisperer

Helps Engineers who are Leaders (CEO/ CTO/ VP) get buy-in from their peers/teams/investors by transforming Communication techniques into Algorithms