For CIOs, soft skills are just as important as technical experience
- Project management is the most sought after skill for CIOs, according to an Indeed.com analysis of job postings for the technology leadership role. Three other soft skills — budgeting, recruiting and business intelligence — cracked the top five sought after CIO skills.
- On the technical side, agile and enterprise software development cinched the No. 2 and 3 spots, respectively, while SAP, VMware, Data Warehouse and Sharepoint closed out the top 10 list.
- The responsibilities of digital transformation call for a mixture of leadership, business and technology skills because CIOs need to be able to both develop complex strategies and initiatives as well as successfully implement these programs, according to Paul Wolfe, SVP and head of global human resources at Indeed.com, in a statement provided to CIO Dive.
For executives like CIOs and CTOs who sit at the intersection of the technical and business realms, solving the puzzle of effective and good leadership demands the coalescence of 100 moving parts. The combination of soft and hard skills can be the key difference between a good and a great leader.
First, it begins with being able to translate the needs of the business side to the technical side, and vice versa. That kind of "secret sauce" can make a career, according to Michelle McKenna-Doyle, CIO of the NFL. But upper-level management is only as good as the rank and file it's trickling down to, and mentorship, advocacy and development of employees is critical for a successful business, she said.
But in the digital age, just being a good leader isn't always enough. The CIO is expected to bring the business model to the digital age smoothly, quickly and cost-effectively — even when choosing all three isn't an option. Add in security threats, talent shortages, finite budgets, and C-suite power dynamics and it's an even taller order.
Yet it's not impossible. For some, success is maintaining the status quo, and there doesn't have to be anything wrong with that. But the power of the CIO can change an entire business. For example, the CIOs of UPS, Boeing and Dow Chemical are being recognized nationally for implementing transformative digital platforms and initiatives, embracing data-driven cultures and integrating all ends of business.
Making sure a new CIO has the relevant skill combination is important. After all, "a CIO is really the CEO of a technology company," according to Harry Moseley, CIO of Zoom.
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