As the CIO or head technology consultant, aka the captain of your organization’s IT ship, you are an innovator, an advocate for change, and at your core, a leader.


However, like all leaders in evolving industries, it’s more important than ever to continue adapting. There are always lessons that even the greatest trailblazers can learn to help themselves and their organizations grow.

In an article, the California Psychology Inventory (CPI) developed by CPP (the exclusive publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment), released findings of the top, key traits most commonly found in successful CIO leaders. According to one of the organizational development consultants and personality experts with CPP, “these traits are set to become increasingly important as cloud infrastructure pushes these leaders to become ‘agents of change.’”

In short, they are: having an empathetic nature, a delicate balance of dominance, self-awareness, flexibility and agility, insightfulness, the ability to stick to rules and push boundaries, and independence matched with resourcefulness and collaboration. You can read the full article here.

As you work towards strengthening these traits, there are plenty of lessons you can easily apply in your daily routine.

That said, consider the following advice from an interview at the New York CIO Strategy Meeting with Greg Fittinghoff, Acting Vice President and Chief Information Officer for The Fashion Institute of Technology.


1. Listen.

As mentioned previously, it’s important to be a role model for your team.  Excellent active listening skills (non-judgmental, empathetic, engaged) are critical to the success of an IT organization.  Building this type of listening culture at the top will set the standard for the rest of the team to follow.


2. Park your ego at the door.

Fittinghoff explains that the CIO needs to be comfortable with giving people opportunities that stretch them. It’s important to understand the talents, capabilities, and limits of each team member and then provide developmental opportunities that will expand their skills, capabilities, and comfort zones.  Everyone needs to have the opportunity to continue to surprise themselves.

He says, in order to develop people, “You have to be willing to give up some control, and allow for some things to happen that may not exactly go how you thought they would. You have to give them that opportunity to learn.”


3. Be engaged with the business.

“The idea of a modern CIO or someone who is the chief technology consultant for the organization has to be someone who, first and foremost, understands the business,” says Fittinghoff.  The technology leader must understand the day-to-day business operations across the entire organization.  The IT leader must understand the overall organizations strategic goals, as well as the competitive environment the organization operates within.  They also need to recognize that their role is to partner with the various business units to help influence and drive the overall strategic goals.

“Are you spending the majority of the day being a firefighter,” continues Fittinghoff. “If you wear your firefighter hat all the time, that means you’re not spending time figuring out how to help advance the business. You have to be brutally honest about the organizational issues that keep you focused on just putting out fires.”

“Leaders are the individuals who are making the time to be engaged with the business versus spending their entire day focused on operational activities.”


4. Understand who your customers are of your organization.

It’s essential to know what your organization values and who they service. Being versed in your customers will ultimately help your strategic decisions for the overall company in the long run.


5. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know, I need to learn, or I need to ask somebody.”

Never forget . . . leaders can ask questions and ask for help too!



Interested in joining us or sponsoring the next CIO Strategy Meeting in Charlotte, NC on June 15?

Simply click here to request more info or email us at to begin your registration and on-boarding.

Be sure to also view our full calendar of 2017 Strategy Meetings here on our website!