Today’s guest—Emad Georgy—is passionate about technology leadership. He’s a CTO Consultant and the Founder and CTO of Georgy Technology Leadership. Emad has been in the tech industry for over 25 years. His hybrid approach to technology management—focusing on both the practical and cultural elements of leadership—makes Emad a trusted and valued partner helping both domestic startups and global enterprises scale and grow.
In this episode of Simple Leadership, we chat about what cultivating leaders looks like. Sometimes, it involves making difficult decisions for your team. You must also embrace your values and lead your team by example. Listen to learn some steps to help you grow and mature as an individual and as a leader.
According to Emad, if tech leaders really want to solve the root cause of technical debt, they have to start talking about leadership debt. It’s the concept that the decisions you make as a leader results in hidden costs that build over time.
He points out that “It's our responsibility as technologists to bring [those decisions] to the surface, make [them] transparent, hold them and go, "Are we making decisions that enable the durability of the company and/or architecture?".
You don’t wake up one morning and decide to rewrite your whole platform or application—the decision is based on little decisions and mistakes that occur over time. Having knowledge of how leadership debt works helps you make better decisions along the way.
Emad points out a key trait: embracing the concept of ownership. A leader “Must have a collective sense of responsibility—not just about his or her actions—but about the actions of their team and the organization”. It’s about leading by example.
You need to be problem-solvers, not problem-reporters. Emad has learned that pointing fingers only serves to create dissension among your team. It isn’t about who’s at fault, it’s about how you got there. So when something goes wrong, you step up and take ownership—then help your team find and fix the problem.
Emad points out that as the leader, you get to manage the company culture. He defines culture as “the stories you tell every day”. If you spend every day complaining and moaning about the work you’re doing—that’s your culture. That is your contribution to the culture. But you can easily change that. Keep listening as Emad shares some other traits and processes he believes are key to your success.
Emad gets frustrated when leaders claim that they’re “all about their people”, but when it comes down to it they focus less than 20% of their time on their team. He believes it is essential to apply a tangible growth path to your team. Where do you want to see the team go in a year? What will you do for the company in that time? What do you expect from each individual? Are you helping them determine their career path and managing their growth?
Anywhere Emad has migrated in his career, he embraces a people-first approach. He’ll spend his first couple weeks—or month, if necessary—having one-on-ones with his team members. Getting to know your team speaks volumes about who you are as a leader. You need to take the time to show them that you actually care and hear their needs and concerns. Emad points out that the need to have your voice heard is a core human need—everyone wants to be understood.
Emad and I talk about improving customer focus and facilitating conversation between customers and team members. We also talk about being “Process Ninjas”—so keep listening for more great content.
Emad points out that leaders NEED to step up their game in times like these. With the majority of teams working from home, it takes hard work to keep them engaged and dialed in. Leading remotely also exposes any gaps in leadership skills that you may need to develop. While you’re all working from home, you need to continue to recognize your team for their accomplishments. They need to be reminded that they’re still part of something greater.
Emad shares that managers need to constantly ask, what is the larger story for my team? The larger story of the company? Take this time to develop a vision for yourself and your team. How do you define your team and its culture? Nail these things down, communicate them clearly, and reinforce them. To hear more of Emad’s technology leadership recommendations, listen to this engaging episode of Simple Leadership.