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To be successful, or to even stay relevant, CIOs cannot "just" lead technology in their organizations, faithfully following and supporting the business where it wants to go. Digital disruption means that most organizations no longer know where to go next, what is coming toward them, or even who they will be competing with and how. Since technology is at the heart of the disruption and the uncertainty it causes, who better to help lead us forward than the CIOs and IT leaders whose past successes have made this revolution happen? But that means stepping up and outward — from follower and supporter to visionary, explorer and co-creator. CIOs will need to become technology-savvy business leaders, much more than business-savvy technology leaders.
75% of employees in the U.S. report that their direct line manager is the worst part of their job, and 65% would happily take a pay cut if they could replace their boss with someone better. The problem boils down to executives, especially those who join from outside the company, not fitting in. Hiring managers do a poor job of assessing an executive’s values and motives but these are big factors in whether they fit a given culture. Often, hiring managers themselves don’t even understand the corporate culture.
You can’t separate strategy and execution, not if you want a company that consistently produces great products and services. You have to have people who fully understand both perspectives, and if that’s not important enough for the CEO — if the CEO isn’t prepared to dive in to the minutiae of the enterprise — then the company is probably not going to thrive.
CIOs looking to progress beyond IT leadership need to buddy up with the business, be operationally savvy and get in tune with customers, say former CIOs who moved on to COO, CEO and other roles.
In Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss without Losing Your Humanity, Kim Scott argues that managers who care personally and challenge their team directly can improve results.
The best managers employ a face-to-face discussion to deal with low performers, and employees with attitude problems in general. This conversation is best handled on the manager's end when they're well prepared and have a game plan. If conducted with a constructive, future focus, it provides consistency, guidance, and valuable feedback both to and from the problem employee.
A study of close to 20,000 employees around the world found that there's one thing that leaders need to demonstrate when it comes to garnering commitment and engagement from employees: Respect. No other leadership behavior had a bigger effect on employees across the outcomes measured. Being treated with respect was more important to employees than recognition and appreciation, communicating an inspiring vision, providing useful feedback -- or even opportunities for learning, growth, and development.
Successful chief executives tend to demonstrate four specific behaviors that prove critical to their performance. The behaviors we describe sound deceptively simple, but the key is to practice them with maniacal consistency, which our work reveals is a great challenge for many leaders. 1. Deciding with speed and conviction. In our data, people who were described as “decisive” were 12 times more likely to be high-performing CEOs. They make decisions earlier, faster, with greater conviction, and do so consistently. 2. Engaging for impact. In our data, CEOs who deftly engaged stakeholders with this results orientation were 75% more successful in the role. They balance keen insight into their stakeholders’ priorities with an unrelenting focus on delivering business results. 3. Adapting proactively. Our analysis shows that CEOs who excel at adapting are 6.7 times more likely to succeed. The adaptable CEOs spent significantly more of their time—as much as 50%—thinking about the long term. 4. Delivering reliably. In our sample, CEO candidates who scored high on reliability were twice as likely to be picked for the role and 15 times more likely to succeed in it. A stunning 94% of the strong CEO candidates we analyzed scored high on consistently following through on their commitments.
You can be a leader your employees like, respect and trust, one who gets the job done, well and the right way—no condescending, arrogant, too-good-for-this-office bossing around needed (or wanted).
Most of the advice these lists contain is based on subjective interpretations of personal accounts, not on systematic, scientific analyses. Unless advice has been evaluated through evidence-based methods, you can’t judge its validity. In addition, half-baked analyses of anecdotal evidence often blur the lines between cause and consequence. Is someone successful because they avoided meetings, or are they able to avoid meetings because they are successful? A host of behaviors that successful people supposedly share — not caring what others think of them, avoiding meetings, putting first things first, saying no to almost everything — may be luxuries that only the extremely successful can enjoy, and only after they became successful in the eyes of others. Thus some behaviors are what success has brought them, and not the other way around.