How to Survive in IT (the soft evil skills): Page 2

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Make sure that you always deliver but don’t under-promise so much that it looks like you’re over-protecting your flanks.

Image management is the objective: you want the power players to think you deliver, get it done, can be trusted to consistently come through.

Chameleon Leadership

This one is really tricky but incredibly important. The skill here is to make everyone think you’re leading when in fact you’re leading at cross purposes.

Your project team thinks you’re in their corner, leading them to victory. But the managers understand that your team is far from perfect and if it wasn’t for you they might very well fail. You get the idea.

So that’s the short list of evil soft skills. But just so you don’t think I only value evil soft skills, there are good soft skills – project/program management, negotiations, communications – and, of course, good hard skills – specific technology skills – that are almost as important as the evil ones.

But when push comes to shove in corporate America, it’s better to be evil than good.

ALSO SEE: The 2010 IT Salary Guide

AND: IT Salary Levels, 2004-2009

AND: Understanding Your 'Idiot' Manager

AND: When Just Enough Is Enough To Be Fired

Steve Andriole is the Thomas G. Labrecque Professor of Business at Villanova University where he conducts applied research in business technology convergence. He is also the co-founder of The Acentio Group, a new economy consortium that focuses on optimizing investments in information technology, executive education, Web 2.0, technology audits and pilot applications. He is formerly the Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer of Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. and the Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President for Technology Strategy at CIGNA Corporation. His career began at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency where he was the Director of Cybernetics Technology. He can be reached at stephen.andriole@villanova.edu.

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