Cranfield course aims to equip future IT leaders

Ambitious IT managers are being offered intensive training in the skills of internal politics and relationship building as part of a course that aims to train future directors.

Ambitious IT managers are being offered intensive training in the skills of internal politics and relationship building as part of a course that aims to train future directors.

Cranfield School of Management has launched a twice-yearly course to equip those in management roles with the people skills they need to lead their employers' IT functions.

Joe Peppard, director of Cranfield's IS research centre, said, "Many IT executives have not developed key relationships within the organisation. Many of them are uncomfortable in situations where there is lots of complexity.

"They also lack the leadership to drive the organisation forward in the use of technology."

The first IT Leadership Programme runs from September to December this year, with a second course running between January and April 2007.

Up to 16 students at a time will be taught the skills needed to lead a company's IT function.

About 60% of the course will cover soft skills, with the other 40% concentrating on subjects such as best practice in IS management.

The course focuses on people skills because Cranfield's research identified aspiring IT directors as likely to be weaker in this area than in technical skills.

Peppard said, "IT executives have studied engineering, science or mathematics. Their first jobs were as junior programmers, then as senior programmers, then as project managers. Their jobs have always been driven by prescriptive rules."

The students are taught how to manage by showing them how to identify different people's preferences.

The course costs £7,500 plus VAT and has three residential blocks spread over four months. Students only need to be on campus for a total of eight and a half days.

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