Leadership traits of successful CIOs

Leadership traits of successful CIOsThe California Psychology Inventory (CPI), developed by CPP -- the exclusive publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment -- is an assessment tool that help leaders gain more insight into and improve their performance. Ultimately, the CPI helps identify your leadership strengths and weaknesses, what motivates you and can help you understand your personal "thinking style."

This year, the CPP released the seven key traits CIOs need in order to be successful leaders. These are the key traits most commonly associated with CIOs who have taken the assessment test. According to Sherrie Haynie, an organizational development consultant and personality expert with CPP, these traits are set to become increasingly important as cloud infrastructure pushes these leaders to become "agents of change." Businesses will need strong CIO leadership to smoothly navigate such a transitional time in technology -- and a good place to start is to find someone who has these seven leadership traits.


Part of running a successful business involves understanding your employees and their day-to-day roles inside the company. But your employees are often juggling more than just their day jobs -- the American Institute of Stress cites workload, people issues, work-life balance and lack of job security as four of the biggest stressors facing modern workers. And, as the American Institute of Stress points out, increased levels of job stress can lead to less engaged, productive and effective employees.

"Empathy is one of the most critical competencies in the execution of leadership. CIOs who demonstrate empathy are able to get inside their employees' and co-workers' experiences and try to imagine what they are thinking and feeling. CIOs who display a high preference towards empathy understand that getting buy-in from the rest of their team requires others to believe in their message," said Haynie.

Building a culture of empathy starts at the top by setting a standard for everyone else to follow. An empathetic company culture will encourage workers to speak up if they're struggling either personally or with their workload.


Dominance in leadership requires a delicate balance -- an overly dominant leader won't gain many followers, while a nondominant leader may portray a lack of confidence. The best CIOs and leaders are the ones who can find a balance between dominance and empathy, said Haynie.

"Dominance is a trait that goes hand-in-hand with empathy because as leaders display dominance, it is imperative that they temper that trait with empathy. CIOs drive to lead and influence their team stems from their ability to assert dominance, which entails directing and persuading other," she said.

A dominant leader isn't afraid to make decisions, fix mistakes and support their team -- a type of leader employees trust and can count on. The last thing you want to do become so dominant that you start to intimidate or alienate your workers.


Self-aware leaders can identify their own flaws, which helps them identify the same in others. Accepting and acknowledging your own flaws will not only make you appear more confident, but it also helps you relate to your employees.

"A lack of self-awareness will make it nearly impossible for one to improve their leadership behaviors and impact on their team. Leaders who demonstrate high self-awareness are comfortable with themselves, which means they recognize their flaws yet remain confident in what they bring to the table," said Haynie.

Emotional intelligence and self-awareness might feel like modern buzzwords, but the concept has existed for decades. In fact, there's a commonly quoted statistic from a -- now out of print -- report published in 1918 by the Carnegie Foundation stating that "85% of a person's job success is a product of interpersonal skills and only 15% of his success is the result of technical knowledge."

While it's been almost 100 years since that report was released, the CPI results suggest a similar idea -- emotionally intelligent leaders bring something different to the table than leaders who just demonstrate a high IQ.