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I work at a company where the head of the IT department has no background in IT she has been there for years. She knows nothing about APIs coding new software. The executive teams also have no idea about anything related to IT as well. They put her there because they don't know better.

Anyways one of my tasks in my department has multiple digital transformation initiatives going on and I can't really do anything because I have to explain every single thing or small software purchase to her and her IT department.

Questions:

  • Should I just stop trying to explore new things?
  • Should I tell my boss I can't do this part of my job, if everything I do I have to run it through IT when they have no idea what it does?
  • The way I figure it these people should tell me what is on the cutting edge of technology for my department not the other way around. Am I wrong in this situation?

closed as off-topic by Philip Kendall, gnat, Jenny D, sf02, Ed Heal May 3 at 11:05

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    IT != development – HorusKol May 3 at 4:17
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    In your own words, what do you think the purpose of an IT department is? What are they trying to achieve? – Cort Ammon May 3 at 5:00
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    She knows nothing about APIs coding new software - Is she a developer or is she the IT department head? Why do you think as the IT department head that she needs to understand software development? Do you think that all IT managers should have all of the technical skills of their staff? – joeqwerty May 3 at 5:47
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If you get a position as a manager it's normally because (someone believes that) you have leadership skills (ability to manage people, build consensus, prioritise, structure work). Of course not all managers have these characteristics to the same degree, but they are what really matters in the job.

I know plenty of IT heads who come from other areas (finance, strategy, logistics, etc.) and don't have a deep IT knowledge.

Managers don't need to know details, you as a subordinate, are paid for knowing the stuff. It's better if they have a general knowledge of the field - normally they acquire it in the process of managing anyway - but that's it.

Also, there's nothing more common in the world than an employee who believes they are more competent than their bosses.

Show them you are reliable, competent and communicative (!) instead of attacking them because of your ego. The ability to explain complex topics in an easy way is important and if you learn this skill you will profit from it in the future.

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    It's also common to find managers who believe themselves to be competent... – Solar Mike May 3 at 6:10
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I think attacking the IT head may not be the best approach. You did not recruit her and you are not responsible for their performance. They may be hired for some other qualities and may be doing exceedingly well somewhere else which you are not aware of.
So you have only two options; Either you decide to work somewhere else and hope this "problem" will not happen or do the best you can with the best you have at your current role. Rest of my answer is assuming the latter

Should I just stop trying to explore new things?

No but do factor in the time it would take for you to present it to IT and have it implemented. Explore only if it is worth it and you can give the time.

Should I tell my boss I can't do this part of my job, if everything I do I have to run it through IT when they have no idea what it does.

Certainly not in those words exactly. It would hurt you more than it will help you. Just explain them the situation that it takes a finite amount of time for you to present your case either before or after exploring new tools. Just have them aware that this is the time it would take and set up the expectations accordingly.

The way I figure it these people should tell me what is on the cutting edge of technology for my department not the other way around. Am I wrong in this situation?

May not necessarily be wrong but you surely are not the first, last or only person in this situation. This happens all the time every where. Sometimes there is a good reason for it and sometime there is not.

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