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Courage, trust, and empathy: a leadership mindset

by | April 12, 2022

WomenTech Network is hosting the third edition of the largest virtual tech conference for women, minorities, and their allies in tech. The WomenTech Global Conference 2022, 7-10 June, aims to bring 100,000 women in tech from all over the world.

The theme for this year’s conference revolves around the Future of Work, Open Collaboration, Tech Innovation, and how we as a community can make an impact and drive change in the world.

Ildiko Sas, who leads Xoomworks Technology – a specialist Digital Product business that is now part of Accenture, is a conference track chair.

She talks about her personal experience leading diverse, high-performing teams remotely and delivering tech and product innovation to clients.

“We share the same challenges that the whole industry is facing right now. Top talent is scarce, and demand continues to rise. At the same time, business and world events that affect us are changing at a frightening pace.

The pandemic certainly tested our ability to manage change. We didn’t know what to expect or how things would evolve, so we planned for the worst and hoped for the best. There were issues our clients needed to deal with, as well as the emotional impact on our people. It’s a testament to the trust that we have in each other that we were still able to grow and thrive over the last two years – even becoming part of Accenture!

Just as soon as it seemed we had found new ways of managing post-pandemic, we found ourselves shifting focus to support a team struggling to process the reality of war in a neighbouring country.  We needed to support them both personally and in their efforts to help those who are being displaced in any possible way.

Nobody has a recipe for successful leadership – much less in times like these. There isn’t a “10 things to do as a leader” guidebook that equips you for every situation; it’s about being adaptable and knowing the people involved and what makes them tick.

It’s about leaning into what makes us human.

Of course, you still need to get things done, and sometimes you need to take a directive approach. But this should be the exception, not the rule.

Courage to follow opportunity

Leadership is about the capability of every individual in the team and cascades throughout the organisation. It is one reason why we have focused on developing the leadership skills in our regional teams at Xoomworks.

Our business is made up of high-performing, cross-functional teams. We work in a highly collaborative environment where we encourage our specialists to have a strong sense of accountability in solving problems for our clients. When you collaborate, trust is implicit. Without trust, we could never achieve what we do.

When asked what advice I would give to someone wanting to move to a leadership role, I would say, ‘be courageous and take the opportunities presented to you’. Experience of any sort is always valuable and may lead you in directions you had not planned. Experience builds knowledge – and with it, resilience. It equips you with the planning, professional and personal skills you will need in the future.

Being a leader can be lonely at times, and you won’t always be popular. As they say, ‘If you want to be liked by everyone, sell ice cream!’ The bottom line: be human, empathetic, fair, and respectful of people. You will find you suddenly have more allies than you imagined!

Leadership is a mindset

Most things can be learned, and the same is true of leadership. Leaders are made, not born. With the courage to stretch yourself and the right support around you, you can develop the skills you need to lead well – even in times of uncertainty.

Leadership is a mindset, not a role. Most leadership roles don’t even include the word in the job title. You can be a leader, even if you are not in a leadership role. Many leaders are influencers rather than managers.

Over the years, I have had many great role models, and I have tried to stay connected to those who have inspired me the most. I have mentors from different industries and organisations and continually learn from them. Surround yourself with as much experience and knowledge as you can!

As we have discovered at Xoomworks – now a part of Accenture – ensuring you have a culture that helps more women move into tech leadership roles can only positively impact your business.

People do business with people. Staying human and connecting with empathy as a leader is vital.”

 

If you are a data specialist, analyst, or software engineer looking to find their space, “own” and deliver problem-solving digital products for businesses, customers, and communities, explore our latest career opportunities

To understand the Xoomworks approach and our role in helping businesses create compelling and inclusive digital customer experiences, get in touch.