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IT Management

Key CIO Traits for 2021: Determination, Sensitivity

According to Gartner data, determination and sensitivity are two critical characteristics for new chief information officers this year. "As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shift the landscape for how global CIOs manage, collaborate and respond to their stakeholders, so too does the demand for strong leadership and core emotional dexterity competencies," the research firm explained.

Determination was defined as "a firmness of resoluteness and in turning decisions into actions, despite how tough they are," while sensitivity was "the quality of feeling empathetic toward others' difficulties and acting accordingly." Demand for the determination trait increased 34 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, Gartner noted, and demand for sensitivity increased 92 percent.

CIOs who want to develop that kind of emotional dexterity can practice self-improvement techniques such as developing self-awareness, self-management and relationships, Gartner said. For example, high-performing CIOs are 30 percent more likely to practice gratitude for self-development, according to a Gartner survey on CIOs' emotional intelligence competencies. They are also more likely to coach and mentor others. Overall, the survey ranked transparency, authentic communications and collaboration as the top three most commonly admired emotional dexterity leadership traits.

"Being aware of the positive impact these behaviors and practices bring is paramount as organizations consider their vaccine strategy and employees return to work," said Rob O'Donohue, senior research director at Gartner, in a statement. "They'll be as important, if not more, than the technical skills a typical CIO embodies."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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