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7 essential CIO leadership skills that get results

Thomas Wailgum | Oct. 19, 2010
What makes a CIO not just an effective manager but an effective leader? Consider the following advice based on three years of research from Korn/Ferry and Gartner.

6. Inspire Others. In exchange for a regular paycheck, most people will give an adequate performance. But they will only give their best work if they believe they are involved in something greater than themselves. The best CIOs provide a compelling vision that connects people to how their enterprise wins in the marketplace and that their contributions are meaningful and valued.

7. Build People, Not Systems. By developing people all around them, these CIOs increase their capability and capacity to deliver results. They also know that leaving behind the next generation of leaders is the best thing they can do for the organization—it will be their lasting legacy.

Soft skills, of course, won't replace managerial and operational requirements of the CIO job. Instead, the authors state, those skills are a "powerful enabler and an amplifying force that allows individuals to exceed expectations and maximize the value from IT."

"All CIOs must deliver results," notes Waller in the Gartner report. "What distinguishes the best is how they do it: through people, by people, and with people."


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