Leadership Challenges for Technology Companies in 2023

Technology companies love to be ‘market leading’ and be featured in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant but despite cutting-edge technological advancements, unless the leadership of these companies addresses the people issues, growth will be short-lived.

Employee Burnout

In a recent research report “The State of Burnout in Tech”, 30,000 IT professionals were surveyed across 33 countries:

  • 56% of men and 69% of women can’t relax once their workday is over
  • 43% feel disengaged from their work, and 27% don’t see the value in it
  • 51% feel they are achieving less than they should

Tech burnout is caused by unrelenting stress and manifests as exhaustion, cynicism, and negative self-evaluation. The burnout problem stems from the early days of Silicon Valley, where working until you drop was a badge of honor.

The 'burn and churn' attitude of leadership has an actual human cost, with two out of five tech professionals, and 50% of IT security employees, suffering from burnout.

Toxic Culture

A toxic culture contributes to tech burnout and is often the result of leadership pushing hard to satisfy investors.

A toxic environment is where people feel “psychologically unsafe.” This lack of psychological safety is due to bullying, shouting, discrimination, and unrealistic expectations.

Even when working from home, managers and employees can experience a toxic lack of boundaries when they receive a message on Friday night for a task to be completed by Monday morning.

Talent Acquisition and Retention

Technology companies require skilled and experienced employees to develop, design and implement their products and services. There is intense competition for top talent, and attracting and retaining the best candidates can be challenging.

In addition to offering competitive salaries, benefits, and opportunities for career growth and development, leadership must address burnout and toxic culture issues.

So, how can technology leadership create a positive workplace culture that values employees and encourages them to collaborate and innovate?

Motivational Speaker for Technology Companies

Simply put, motivation happens when people feel a sense of autonomy over their actions, and have an expectation that these behaviors will result in an increase in performance that will be recognized and rewarded.

As a leadership coach and author on the topic of self-leadership, I have worked with disruptive Silicon Valley Startups, and complex Multinationals, like Microsoft, Red Hat, and SAP. I have seen first-hand the challenge to present growth to the board while creating a culture of engagement and innovation.

In 2020, I was commissioned by one of my Silicon Valley tech clients to write a culture book to align their values with leadership behaviors. The book and accompanying training was delivered in 2022 and the results have been four quarters of growth, and the company has earned its Great Place to Work for the second year in a row, in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

The New Leadership Playbook: Being Human whilst Successfully Delivering Accelerated Results is the expanded version of that culture book. Containing seven leadership principles and twelve leadership plays, or conversations, the book addresses burnout and toxic cultures by getting to the heart of motivation.

These insights make my motivational keynote speech, Accelerating Results through Self-leadership a hot topic for your next technology conference.

In Conclusion

Technology companies face a range of people issues that can impact their success. When leadership recognizes the human and financial cost of burnout and toxic culture, and focuses on psychological safety and having effective leadership conversations, they will be positioned for sustainable success.





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