True characteristics of a Data Leader…

During my coaching sessions, I often hear my clients complain about their managers. While this is their reality and I do empathise with them, these grievances and moans are often driven by emotions and not backed by data. This is exactly how biases arise. Rather than targeting an individual, one should focus on the transaction at hand. Therefore, data leadership becomes important and that is what made me write on this subject.

Data Leadership

A data leader is someone who can drive the change required to create a data-driven enterprise with trusted analytics. A strong data culture helps overcome individual biases and sometimes even intuition gone wrong and that is why it’s essential for every leader to involve data analytics in their operations. While dealing with my team, I often look at data while asking questions as it is more impactful than getting carried away with perceptions.

Not just for managing stakeholders, Data leadership also helps with other areas of business. It improves personalization in communication and customer service and helps identify trends in your business with accuracy as you can predict the changes in demand as and when they are happening. Big data can be used to track and understand your competition better and it can even increase your efficiency by improving your own operations. This means that it allows a leader to get in-depth information about customers and their activities that will in turn help while targeting them.

A true data leader

A good leader should be calm and make decisions based on information. As a leader, one should leverage data more and look at it objectively. There are some key attributes that make a data leader.

Strategizing with data

A data leader must be able to strategize using the data at hand. It is not only about getting the data, but also about using it appropriately. This is nothing but leveraging ‘actionable insights.’ That way, one can ensure that the time and effort put into the data can be measured in terms of the positive impact on the business. A data leader thus merges business and science together and this may require changes in the way things are being done till now.

Being cautious of noise

As a leader, you need to be cautious and not let the hype takeover. Often, we get influenced by noise over good quality information. This is especially so when a leader says something. Simple corelations must not fool you while dealing with data. It is only the data with the highest quality that can yield good analytics.

Business foresight

You need to be committed to the future while dealing with data. Just because you have historic data, one must not stop dreaming. Data gives information and insights into how things have worked in the past, but it is a leader with foresight who can take it forward productively.

Emotional Intelligence

Last but not the least, emotional intelligence cannot be replaced, and it is about time you upped your EQ! Enrich your intuition using data, don’t replace it. As a leader, you need to oscillate and make holistic decisions at times. This also depends on the type of job that you are in. An analyst only needs to look at data, however, a sales guy needs to also be out there, talking to people. However, one thing is clear, new age leaders need to be data leaders to bring in value.

There is a large amount of data that is not being utilised and this will change only if leaders are committed to data management. With clear, organised and useable data, leaders can gather insight and ultimately innovate existing business processes through analytics. If you look at it from a general perspective, absolutely anyone can find patterns from available data. However, a true data leader is one who can find meaningful, actionable patterns that are useful for the business and not just random correlations.

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