A CIO should think like a business leader or like a CEO. Only technical skill will be of no help. They need to communicate with the business in their terms, and also ensure that their team follows the same approach. I have always believed that leadership needs empathy. They should also have mentoring and coaching skills.
The CIO should be in the boardroom because it will give IT a chance to be heard. They should not be mouthpieces of service providers or analysts firms. While I do not doubt the research of these firms, CIOs do not have to take their reports or findings as final and binding. We should do our homework, too. We need to think from the business point of view and then opt for solutions, rather than buying them first and then doing the thinking.
The CIO is best equipped to know the organization because he understands the gamut of business processes and interacts with all stakeholders. In the next five years, IT will not be just an enabler but a strategy in itself for all normal businesses. CIOs who do not take the plunge to become the fulcrum of change today will be remembered for missing out on a great opportunity.
I have always believed that one cannot be successful on her/his own. It is necessary to provide enough trust and empowerment to the team. “I am as good as my team,” has been my conviction.
As a leader I have ensured that each member in my team succeeds and moves up the ladder. Also, I have always been there as their Neelkanth, swallowing the poison and not letting them get affected by it.