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9 personal skills you should hone

CIO India staff | Nov. 15, 2012
IT expertise can do only so much. You need to polish your personality to move up the ladder. Start with these.

Build Contacts

CIOs rely heavily on their peers for skills enhancement well as professional growth. And networking is a great way for the CIO career opportunities. But how can CIOs expand their circle of peers? Events is one way. Another is keeping in touch with former bosses and colleagues and reaching out to new ones can be facilitated by social networking sites like,, or encourage real time interaction, helping real contact building.

Evaluate Risk

A greater number of IT leaders are moving closer to the CEO's cabin. But according to CIO Research, only 23 percent of Indian CIOs currently handle P&L responsibilities. This is a clear indication that CIOs need to hone their risk-taking abilities -- and their risk-evaluating skills -- if they want to be trusted by the management. Taking risks and innovating should be an integral part of any CXO's personality. But the first step is to be able to evalaute it and not just from the gut. The truth is few are born with the ability to evaluate risk and IT leaders need to learn the skill.

Hone Financial Acumen

With IT no longer a mysterious back-office, CIOs need to not only pay for themselves, but also rake in profits. When talking money, IT leaders need to be fluent in financial jargon. More often than not, business and business people are measured by what they achieve financially -- and growth is measured on a YoY or QoQ basis and profitability is gauged by EBIT margins or PAT. "Obviously that's a lot of jargon, so if a CIO doesn't understand how those measures are calculated, what factors move these measures in the right direction, and what he can do to improve these metrics, he will be at sea," says Prateek Agarwal, CFO, Hexaware Technologies.

Control Your Emotions

Professor of Organizational Behavior and an expert in emotional intelligence, Richard Boyatzis once said: "At its most basic, emotional intelligence is, literally, the intelligent use of emotions."

If only it was as simple as that.

But that's exactly what Ratnakar Nemani, CIO, VST, did and won the respect of his team members. When Nemani turned his in-house SAP team into a revenue-generating center, he was confronted with a slew of new challenges, he didn't have to face as CIO. Among those were irate customers. D. Naren Babu, a SAP consultant who reports to Nemani, remembers one high-pressure, client-facing situation, (which is all he is willing to divulge) in which Nemani's ability to show restraint came shining through. "He patiently handled all the accusations thrown at him. I was amazed at how cool and calm he was and how he came out a winner," he says.


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