In the CIO hiring process, emotional intelligence will play a key factor. As per Gartner predictions, CIO who look to develop emotional dexterity can improve in this digital era.

A recent survey research and advisory company found that COVID-19 has caused a shift in how CIO manage globally, collaborate, and respond to their stakeholders.

With enormous impact, there is a demand for strong leadership and emotional dexterity competence, including determination and sensitivity.

It is time for CEOs to look for executives who can weather crises said by Daniel Sanchez-Reina, senior research director at Gartner. Future is uncertain, so they are unsettled about the upcoming and want determined CIOs who can make and implement timely decisions while reflecting emotional dexterity to be discreet and supportive.

Gartner suggests turning decisions into actions and firmness of resoluteness no matter how tough they are, sensitivity and feeling empathetic towards others and acting accordingly is essential.

The demand for the new CIO hiring process’s determination increased by 34% in 2021 versus 2020. Both competencies stand first in the increasing demand in recruitment processes which will extend to existing employees.

Soft skills and self-development- Emotional intelligence: a primary goal

A CIO must commit to self-development and improvement. The Gartner CIO competencies survey showed CIOs who look for emotional dexterity in the digital era could improve their self-management and relationships during crisis time by committing to practising self-improvement techniques.

For the technical leader, the greatest challenge is to develop key soft skills. As per the survey, 30% needs to practice gratitude as a self-development approach that will keep them in a better position while dealing with fear and doubt that crisis brings.

Gartner’s senior research director says all surveyed CIO spend an average 30 minutes daily on learning and development and focus on quality instead of quantity of right behaviour.

Role of emotional intelligence in leadership

Along with authentic communications and collaboration, transparency ranked the most in emotional dexterity leadership competency. As per survey above, average-performing CIOs can develop others through coaching and mentoring compared to low-performing CIOs (69% vs 48%) and in 1:1 setting high performing CIOs, up to 74% of their time is spent on listening than directing.

 This skill is as important as typical technical skills CIO embodies.

Reasons CIO may need emotional intelligence.

IT is a highly technical domain and focuses on rational thinking, problem-solving, fact-based, and logical thinking. Many people in IT don’t think about their impact of emotions on their work, though we will say it is perilous to generalize this fact. 

CIO spend less time and effort developing emotional intelligence in themselves and their employees compared to other professions. People with higher EI deliver better results in team building, leadership, influencing people, self-confidence, organizational awareness, etc. As per a study, I state that EI counts for over 90% of a person’s performance and success in technical jobs and leadership roles. Let’s check the reasons CIO needs EI even more than people in different professions. 

To lead

Digital era has challenged CIO to take digital transformation in their organizations. All this requires powerful vision and leadership from CIO to lead, shape, and bring the change to meet the digital future. Undoubtedly, many CIOs are masters at their role because of excellent technical skills and extensive knowledge of IT, but they also have to lead in terms of people and behaviour. Thus, here EI plays an important role — the ability to motivate, unite, and inspire an intelligent group of people to develop a high-performing team has more to do with recognizing and regulating emotions with rational problem-solving and cognitive skills. 

To perform

There is a direct connection between EI and productivity. Working in IT usually means working under pressure, and thus a high level of EI is essential for effective working. This helps regulate the environment and choose responses. The ability to juggle strongly on conflicting priorities depends on strong social awareness, self-management and Self-awareness rather than rationally analyzing information available.

To influence

We must have heard a common complaint with CIO about employees not having the same level of influence and power as their fellow C-level executives. A CIO relies on its technical knowledge, professional experience and analytical skills. Still, without a personal connection with stakeholders, he finds it difficult to be seen by its peers as business partners, thus influencing its decision-making processes. A CIO with high emotional intelligence is better equipped to influence and better understand other people’s motives and complex social patterns.

To manage

Empathy is important for developing an inspirational management approach. This developed ability helps CIO understand situations by placing himself in his employees’ position and understanding perspectives and feelings about the situation. IT departments see empathy as “soft” or a sign of weakness which prevents CIO from relating to their employees. Improving empathy level is not necessarily complicated, but with developing personal skills, it requires practice. What empathy shows- it just simply listens and not explicating information in a conversation—paying attention to what people say and why is enough to activate and develop the brain’s empathetic capabilities.

Emotional intelligence comes into play in organizational settings and helps CIO understand the real picture. It enables to recognize how people’s emotions affect the working of organizational structure. It helps understand why people feel a certain way and how to harness emotion for the benefit of the organization. Learn more about our CIO consulting practise and how we do it.