11 Traits of Successful IT Leaders

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 08-07-2014 Email Print this article Print

CIOs arguably sit on an organization's hottest seat: Every user and stakeholder depends upon daily access to productivity-boosting IT tools. And the C-suite looks to you as the authority on new solutions which will advance business goals. Meanwhile, you must not only impart a sense of tech expertise, you have to understand IT professionals as well. With this in mind, we're presenting this list of must-have traits of tech leaders. It was adopted from various online resources, including those from California State University, Sacramento and California Southern University. While those two reports bring an academic focus to the topic, the takeaways are readily adaptable for any CIO. Not surprisingly, many of these takeaways are more about your personal style than your command of tech topics. "The best leaders I know have something in them that makes other people believe there is a light at the end of whatever tunnel they face," writes tech strategist Dani Babb, in the California Southern University posting, "because they truly believe it themselves and look for the positive in lots of situations … They likened leadership to partnering: first you find a great fit, and then you take the bad with the good." For more about the Cal Southern advice, click here. For more about the Cal State Sacramento best practices, click here.

  • They're Fueled by Passion

    Tech professionals are driven by the intrinsic worth of the work, and expect the same from their bosses.
    They're Fueled by Passion
  • They Allow Time for Ideas to Gain Momentum

    Your employees are thoughtful and analytical. Give proposals time to breathe before seeking buy-in, so your staffers can pursue their own research and assessment.
    They Allow Time for Ideas to Gain Momentum
  • They Encourage Calculated Risk-Taking

    They don't let a fear of failure keep employees from pushing the possibilities of a project, but they know when it's time to reign them in.
    They Encourage Calculated Risk-Taking
  • They Thrive Upon Collaboration

    This includes strategic-focused interactions within tech, and with executives and teams from other departments.
    They Thrive Upon Collaboration
  • They Understand Users and Stakeholders

    Because they can "see" technology practices and purposes from the perspective of users and other stakeholders, they help tech staffers grasp what it's like to "walk in their shoes."
    They Understand Users and Stakeholders
  • They Welcome Debate—Even Dissent

    Because that's how original, disruptive ideas are often generated, in an open and free wheeling environment.
    They Welcome Debate—Even Dissent
  • They Enjoy Dealing With Offbeat People

    Face it: IT workers aren't "normal." So a good CIO will embrace their various assortments of quirks as endearing.
    They Enjoy Dealing With Offbeat People
  • They Model Best Practices

    If they issue directives for appropriate Internet and computer use in the interest of cybersecurity, for example, they follow each guideline to the letter.
    They Model Best Practices
  • They're Highly Active on Social Media

    Because social media elevates your presence as an industry authority, and you can use it to promote the accomplishments of your teams.
    They're Highly Active on Social Media
  • They Never Lose Sight of the Big Picture

    Strong CIOs constantly communicate how day-to-day tech duties and projects are supporting long-term organizational strategies.
    They Never Lose Sight of the Big Picture
  • They Are Genuinely Humbled by Their Employees

    They acknowledge and appreciate the wealth of tech wisdom that tech professionals bring to the table, instead of envying or resenting it.
    They Are Genuinely Humbled by Their Employees
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date