One of my great passions is understanding what makes a good leader. This is a complex subject.
What made Jack Welch great, may not be the same as what makes Richard Branson successful and Alex Ferguson revered across the world. Undoubtedly they had similarities.
As a CIO & IT Leadership head-hunter, it’s been both exciting and challenging to see how the CIO role has developed exponentially under the digital revolution. It’s been fascinating to see how so many CIOs have struggled to develop their skills to meet the demand of today’s technology savvy business stakeholders and end user customer.
I have watched as many have fallen by the way side or moved into completely different roles. I have also been in awe of how some have stepped up and exploded their brands forward. There has been plenty of frustration that there seems to still be many prominent CIOs that don’t appear to have today’s capability for change but rest comfortably on their 30 year brand and internal equity.
There are seven characteristics / skills that I think almost every CIO should have that currently operate within today’s interconnected world.
- Humility – in order to be a true leader you must still be able to see when you are wrong and where you can do better. If you think you are the finished article, think again!
- Stand on the balcony as well as play in the orchestra – It’s not enough to just say that you are a strategic animal. CIOs still have to get in to the detail at times.
- Prepared to make the difficult decisions – stick your head above the parapet and be prepared to be counted. It’s a constantly changing environment.
- Customer expert – look beyond your IT estate and understand what your customer really wants. The modern day CIO is by no means a technologist. You are a business advocate and must understand the entire organisation.
- Technology visionary – assess the technology landscape constantly. Digital is a snowball still rolling down the mountain, getting faster as the years go by.
- Emotional intelligence – An ability to demonstrate empathy and to harness your emotions as well as others is critical to driving successful transformation.
- Build trusting relationships – IT used to be a back office cost centre. If you are to survive today’s modern demands, you must be able to build deep trusting relationships at all levels.