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Gartner: CIO hiring to focus on determination & sensitivity

Latest Gartner report predicts that the majority of new CIO hiring will rank determination and sensitivity as critical personal characteristics in 2021

|Jan 5|magazine6 min read

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 back in March 2020, the pandemic has reinforced the need for stronger leadership and emotional dexterity among CIOs.

As the pandemic continues to shift the landscape for CIOs when it comes to managing, collaborating and responding to their stakeholders Gartner reports that 70% of hiring processes of new CIOs rank individual determination and sensitivity as two of the crucial personal characteristics in 2021.

“CEOs are looking for executives who are capable of weathering crises. They are still unsettled about the future and want determined CIOs who make and implement timely decisions, while displaying emotional dexterity to be tactful and supportive,” commented Daniel Sanchez-Reina, senior research director at Gartner. 

Gartner refers determinations “to a firmness of resoluteness and in turning decisions into actions, despite how tough they are, and sensitivity as the quality of feeling empathetic toward others’ difficulties and acting accordingly.”

According to Gartner TalentNeuron™ data compared to 2019, determination as competency among new hires increased by 34% in 2020, while sensitivity increased by 92%. Both of these competencies rank in the top 10 increasing demands in the recruitment process which extends to existing employees.

In addition to identifying two critical characteristics for CIO recruiters, a Gartner survey also highlighted that “CIOs who look to develop emotional dexterity in the digital era, can improve their self-awareness, self-management and relationships during times of crisis by committing to practicing self-improvement techniques.”

The research showed that most IT and business leaders believe that the most important skills needed in the next 10 years will be soft skills, with 30% of above average CIOs being more likely to practice gratitude as a self development approach. 

“Interestingly, all surveyed CIOs spend an average of 30 minutes daily in learning and development, indicating it is not the quantity, but the quality of time spent on focusing on the right behaviors that is important,” added Rob O'Donohue, senior research director at Gartner.

In addition, transparency was ranked as the most commonly admired emotional dexterity leadership competency, as well as authentic communications and collaboration. The research also found that above average CIOs are more likely to develop others via coaching and mentoring (69%) compared to low performing CIOs (48%), with high performing CIOs reporting that 74% of their time is pent listening, rather than directing.

“Being aware of the positive impact these behaviors and practices bring is paramount as organizations consider their vaccine strategy and employees return to work. They’ll be as important, if not more, than the technical skills a typical CIO embodies,” concluded O’Donohue.

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