The mindset needed to be a tech leader – and knowing when to change it

Harry Gooding, Director, Hays Enterprise Technology Practice - UK and Ireland

How do your values and mindset drive you forward? And do these change as you grow?

Joy Poole shared her thoughts on this (and other subjects) when she discussed life as an entrepreneur as part of our Tech Founders series. Joy, who previously worked at global organisations including Capgemini and Facebook, launched Emergence in early 2020 with the purpose of empowering other organisations with guidance on technology and people-centric strategies.

In other words, she’s pretty much a perfect guest for our series!

The right solutions come from the right mindset

When discussing how she started out in the world of work, Joy talks about the three key themes that have stayed with her throughout her career; “hustle”, “curiosity” and “luck”. We discussed how, when she first moved to London, she needed to ‘hustle’ and that proving herself and adding to her list of achievements felt rewarding. Later on, her motivation shifted as she became more driven by curiosity and instead found fulfilment in asking the right questions with genuine enthusiasm.

This inquisitive mindset is a trait she believes the best leaders have, from senior stakeholders to team managers: “Great leadership is not about having the answers - it’s about asking great questions”.

There are still plenty of benefits to the “hustle”, though. How does she decide which approach to take now that she’s a founder?

According to Joy, it’s about self-awareness and having trust in herself. It’s a topic that also arises when discussing her early experiences as a founder. Her advice for other entrepreneurs: define your personal value set. For Joy, that means literally writing down the most accurate three values possible. That way, when it comes to making difficult decisions (of which there will be many!), it’s easy to be guided by, and attribute those choices to, your principles.

She also speaks about the people she turns to for advice and how the person she chooses to ask depends on the topic. As she says, her mum is a great advisor for some things (parenting for example), but isn’t Joy’s first port of call for tips on other things.

Dealing with “techposter syndrome”

That’s not to say, however, that this self-belief has always been there. Very early on in Emergence’s story, Joy describes the anxiety she felt when discussing technology with her new team and thinking “There is no way I’m going to be able to keep up with these people!” – something totally unfounded given her background in digital. She recognises that this is a form of imposter syndrome that she labels “techposter syndrome”, and now speaks about it openly.

Acknowledging this and overcoming these thoughts hasn’t just helped her bring Emergence forward, but also guide its clients. It’s something that many of us have felt to some extent, and it’s great to see that Joy has put it at the forefront of her business’ purpose.

Want to find out more about Joy’s values and the moments they’ve helped? Watch the event in full below.