Kyle Mills has brought his philosophy of learning and “translating” to various organizations, including a startup, a healthcare company, and his current employer in distribution. His accomplishments include helping to grow a 16-employee startup to a bustling marketing company of nearly 500 people. Along the way, he has approached projects with an open mind and willingness to learn so the information his team communicates to the world has the greatest possible impact.
For all those efforts, Mills, director of channel marketing at ScanSource, has received CompTIA’s 2022 Future Leader Spotlight award for his work within a CompTIA corporate member organization by demonstrating success and originality as an entrepreneur and industry professional.
Mills recently spoke with CompTIA to discuss leadership strategies, the modern workforce and more. Here’s a look at what he had to say:
Why is being a future leader important to you?
“Any successful leader should constantly be thinking about the future and how to become a better ‘future leader.’ Because the world is constantly changing, being able to adapt and understand new leadership styles and develop your teams is of the utmost importance. If you stay stagnant, using only tactics you learned years ago, you risk your team losing energy and drive.
What current challenges and trends in the IT industry and workforce warrant more attention?
“The modern worker has completely changed over the last two years, both in IT and the general workplace. Companies need to think about the comfort of that worker at home and in the office. From the hardware they use to the software they work with, the employee’s shift from office to home—or home to office—needs to be seamless. Can they remotely and securely connect from anywhere? Can they easily access what they need for meetings?
“I use the term ‘work from anywhere’ as opposed to ‘work from home’ because a lot can happen to prevent your employee from working at home. Perhaps their internet goes out and they have to go to a library or coffee shop. It’s up to companies to make sure they can work efficiently; otherwise, productivity goes out the window.
How are you working with CompTIA to help address those issues and promote awareness?
“When the pandemic started, my company had to quickly accommodate all of our employees working at home. I was in healthcare, and there was a ton of security processes that required us to really focus on making the shift seamless. Fortunately, we used CompTIA as a resource and were able to get our systems in place quickly, and educate our team on why security was so important.
“Now that I’m in distribution, in the modern communications segment, I use CompTIA as a resource to create content around awareness of the IT industry and its rapid evolution. The CompTIA community as a whole emphasizes making things understandable for any level of employee, which is very rare in IT, so CompTIA is a great asset for myself and my company.
What are you most proud of in your career and what’s helped you get where you are now?
“I can say, without a doubt, that I’m most proud of watching those I have managed grow in their careers and become leaders of their own craft. They don’t always take the career path they started, but I’m a firm believer in finding happiness in what you do in some capacity or else you won’t truly make an impact. When I help someone understand that, I know I’ve succeeded in being a leader. I was able to start making that impact on people at a young age, which has given me absolute happiness in all of my career choices. It’s something I intend to do forever.
“It may seem cliché, but listening to people has really helped me get where I am. I listen to my employees, colleagues, clients, and people in different roles, which helps me pick up on so many different things. I always tell people as they start a new career to keep their ears open to everything.
What advice do you have for MSPs and other tech businesses around developing successful leadership skills?
“Early in my career I was a freelance copywriter for various industries. I quickly learned that many people read at a fifth-grade level. At first it was a shock and caused me to rethink everything I was writing, but when I put it into perspective, it was less about the grade level and more about how people digest information.
“People understand things at different paces and with different words. As a leader, you have to remember you’re not just relaying messages to people within your industry, but also trying to help others understand the topic. Word of mouth is still the most powerful form of marketing. If someone knows how skilled you are at communicating, they may refer you. I’ve carried that mentality through most of my career and it’s afforded me some great opportunities. I hope businesses pick that up and do the same.”