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Leadership skills driving results
18 September 2014

Leadership + Teamwork = Success

According to “The CIO Edge: Seven Leadership Skills You Need to Drive Results” by Graham Waller, George Hallenbeck, and Karen Rubenstrunk forging good working relationships with everyone involved in an IT-enabled project is the ultimate key to success.  The book is based on extensive research and interviews with CIOs from a number of large organisations including FedEx, P&G and AXA.

A number of earlier articles such as “Buy-in Not Drop Out” stress communication and relationships as critical aspects determining the success or failure of projects, strategies and possibly a company’s goals.  Of course technological smarts and business acumen are also assets.

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Great leaders know they cannot be everything, be everywhere and they know everyone has a part to play if goals are to be achieved.  The book lists the ability to inspire others, connect with a diverse array of stakeholders, value others’ ideas, and manifest caring in their relationships as among those seven essential skills which yield the best results.

The complete list of skills in “The CIO Edge” is –

1. Commit to Leadership First and Everything Else Second.  Don’t be a micro manager, focus on the “big picture” and trust your team to deliver a successful outcome.  But don’t be remote, great leaders move amongst their team.  To lead you must be visible.

2. Lead Differently than You Think.  Acting collaboratively – gathering ideas, seeking opinions – in addition to relying on their own creative and analytical skills will bring about the best possible solution.

3. Embrace Your Softer Side.  We don’t normally associate a softer side with leaders, at least not in Hollywood!  But it is the leader who has empathy who is seen as approachable who will be the most effective.  Create connections with your team and with colleagues, you never know when you might need them.  People won’t be inspired by someone they feel they don’t know.

4. Forge the Right Relationships to Drive the Right Results.  The right relationships can be found at all levels.  Above and below but it is the horizontal relationships both internal and external with your peers, suppliers and customers which will form the platform for success and time must be spent in developing and nurturing these relationships.

5. Master Communication.  Realise that as a leader you are more visible, use the visibility to reinforce messages and values.  Be consistent, authentic, clear and passionate about your messages and values so they are not only understood but felt, it will drive people to take the right actions.

6. Inspire Others.  Most of us work harder and better when we are inspired.  The inspiration may be a message or a person and when we are inspired by a person and their message, it is a powerful situation.  The best CIOs provide a compelling vision connecting people to how their enterprise wins in the marketplace and acknowledges their contributions as meaningful and valued.

7. Build People, Not Systems.  You will only ever be as good as the team around you.  By developing good people all around them, CIOs increase their capability and capacity to deliver results.  It is also about nurturing the next generation of leaders.  It is the best thing they can do for the organization—it will be their lasting legacy.

The payoff for developing these skills?  As the authors show, you’ll work smarter, not harder– and get promoted far faster than your peers.