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7 Essential Leadership Traits for A CIO

By SiliconIndia   |   Friday, December 14, 2012
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Bangalore: Leadership trait is one genre a CIO cannot afford to ignore if he is contemplating to lead IT in a more formidable fashion. Being an effective leader will not only earn a CIO respect within his professional community – both from higher executives and peers, but also he would be far better poised to tackle any situation, unforeseen or otherwise, that arises from the point of view of technology. As such, honing leadership qualities is a must for CIOs who are willing to make a mark in the IT domain, reports Alicia Stein of Midsize Enterprise Strategies.

Marc C. Andonian, vice president and executive partner with Gartner Executive Programs states in this regard, “There’s a big difference between knowing, saying and doing. What we find is that those who choose to make leadership their No. 1 priority have exceptional influence in their organizations.”

Andonian also pointed out seven essential characteristics of CIOs in order to position them as a better leader:
1) Taking Initiative – It is highly imperative for a CIO to identify individual knowledge and skill set within his IT workforce and channel them accordingly by taking initiative. This will result in effective leadership and productive organizational operations.
2) Different in Approach – CIOs should also try to think out of the box from the perspective of his work force so that a better understanding could be achieved in leading his herd.
3) People Focused – A CIO should understand that ignoring people that toil relentlessly to give shape to products and services will only hamper organizational growth in the long run.
4) Developing Relationships – According to Andonian, a CIO should also put effort in building relationships, both within his department and outside, as it will drive better results for the organization.
5) Proper Communication – Mastering the art of effective communication is also an integral part of being an efficacious leader as it will ensure the transfer of the message as intended.
6) Be a Role Model – A true leader inspires others. A CIO can do the same by engaging himself personally in the tasks of his employees.
7) Build People – Andonian also focuses on the point that a CIO should simultaneously build the skill set of people along with building systems. This is all the more important as it ensures an effective back up in case of contingencies.

As James Fielder, Vice President of Information, Farm Credit Services of Illinois adequately puts, “We’re constantly talking about these leadership skills, or soft skills, on our board. From my perspective, leadership skills are universal that every leader should learn and embrace, regardless of the area you are in within an organization.”

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