What's the most important attribute a CIO should look for in a new IT team leader?

Communication is the most important skill of any later, and it applies doubly so to IT leaders. In a field known for experts who prefer operating solo, being able to bridge those relationships and get them to function as a team is vital. Additionally, tech can be a difficult field in which to navigate the professional/social landscape. Being able to enhance the cohesivity of the team is a vital part of an IT leader’s role.

What makes this ability so valuable?

Unlike sales or marketing, communication is not engrained into the job description of most IT positions. Many brilliant developers and network engineers come across to the average person as gruff or curmudgeonly. An IT leaders job is to navigate those relationships to ensure the team operates smoothly, and foster a dynamic that allows all team members to feel comfortable and communicate effectively.

What sort of training, if any, should a new leader be offered?

An IT leader needs to be briefed on the internal processes specific to your company before they can perform effectively.

How much oversight should the novice leader be given?

Any team will take time to adjust to new leadership. It is vital that the novice leader be given the space to learn the ins and outs of the team. At the same time, a new leader needs mentorship and guidance. Regularly check in with the novice leader and offer advice, constructive criticism, new perspectives, and the aid of your experience, but allow them to make their own decisions. You hired or promoted them to the position for a reason, and not offering them the trust the position requires is setting them up to fail.


An IT leader also needs to understand the tech their team controls well enough to avoid being taken advantage of. A leader who has spent time doing what their team is doing will have an advantage over a leader coming from another industry.


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