Leadership Skills CIOs Must Possess

3 minutes read
on 22 October, 2017

Leadership Skills CIOs Must Possess

The most successful CEOs will differ in personality and as well as the areas of leadership in which they excel. The will differ in their approach to business as well as in character traits. However, there are few leadership skills that are fairly consistent across the board when it comes to CIOs, and no matter what your leadership style ultimately be, these skills are fundamental to your success in the role of CIO.


An authentic spirit is important for CIOs and all leaders to possess. He or she should work to lead their department in a way that is truly reflective of personal values, integrity and character. False personas are easily detected and will degrade the integrity of the organization’s work and endeavors.

Strategist and Visionary

Good leaders have vision and they also are able to develop a strategy to bring that vision to fruition. The CIO’s role may include communicating down the organizational goals from the top. A CIO with solid leadership skills is able to deliver the information such that it is accepted by the team and inspires them to buy-in. The communication is rooted in a strong understanding of the business and communicating it so that it’s clear to stakeholders who will help provide direction, funding and/or authority to execute the strategy and thus benefiting the organization as a whole.

As a strategist,  the CIO should understand the environment and playing field and be able to develop a plan to leverage identified opportunities. When the CIO is in charge of an organization that relies heavily on the IT department, the CIO should stand out as a solid strategist and visionary who is also a trusted partner at the top levels of the organization.

Mentor and Talent Scout

A CIO should also serve as knowledgeable and wise mentor, not only for the IT department, but for the organization as a whole. It’s helpful to have an engaging personality supported by  strong sense of purpose, direction, guidance and motivation that inspires fresh, creative thought and spurs employees to take action. The CIO should inspire his or her team to creativity, enthusiasm, and energy.

Change Agent

Many times the CIO is a senior level executive and may even be a board member, thusly, he/she needs to have a thorough, 360 degree understanding of business, be able to lead key projects that support business objectives, as well as drive the change in the organization.  He or she should also be entrepreneurial and able to move the company in a direction that will enable new heights to be reached.

Agile, yet Methodical

CIOs shouldn’t be afraid in dynamic situations, but rather be a constant learner that is agile and and able to easily adapt. It’s common for IT leaders to be equipped to handle the complexities of both business and technology, all while engaging staff in innovative conversations that yield fresh ideas, and be able to manage them toward business results.