Core Qualifications to Being Chief

meetingsIn my search for a new leadership role, I came across this in a job description for CIO. This can be applied to any CxO roles.


1 – LEADING CHANGE:  This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this qualification is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.

(Competencies:  creativity and innovation, external awareness, flexibility, resilience, strategic thinking, vision)

2 – LEADING PEOPLE:  This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization’s vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this qualification is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.

(Competencies:  conflict management, leveraging diversity, developing others, team building)

3 – RESULTS DRIVEN:  This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this qualification is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.

(Competencies:  accountability, customer service, decisiveness, entrepreneurship, problem solving, technical credibility)

4 – BUSINESS ACUMEN:  This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.

(Competencies:  financial management, human capital management, and technology management)

5 – BUILDING COALITIONS:  This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.

(Competencies:  partnering, political savvy, and influencing/negotiating)

It’s OK to say, “I Don’t Know…”

Executives throughout time have feared those three little words. How many of us can say we have used it? Why are we afraid? Is it our hubris?

As CEOs, COOs, and CIOs we are aware of the need to earn and maintain the respect of our staff. The fear of admitting that we do not know has the potential to cause significant issues for our staff and us. Issues such as:

  • We might guess at an answer that is wrong, with a result that your staff believes is right. This can lead to your staff taking subsequent wrong actions based on your wrong decision.
  • We equivocate, and your staff recognizes it. This can lead to your credibility diminishing.

So how do we correctly say to our staff that we do not know?

  • Recognize the fact that it is okay to occasionally say, “I don’t know”.
  • There is no loss in credibility by saying, “I don’t know, but I will look into it” or “I don’t have an answer. What do you think?”

By being honest with your staff and yourself you can increase your credibility and make you a better leader. So don’t be afraid of saying. “I Don’t know”.

Transactional Leadership vs. Transformational Leadership

“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.” – Stephen Covey

Are you a transactional leader or a transformational leader?

A transactional leader is focused more on completing a series of goals or “transactions”. Power is given to the leader to evaluate, correct and train followers when productivity is not up to the desired level and reward effectiveness when expected outcome is reached. Transactional leaders have short-term views and are focused on the present.

A transformational leader creates value and positive change in their followers. A transformational leader focuses on “transforming” others to help each other, to look out for each other, to be encouraging and harmonious, and to look out for the organization as a whole. In this leadership, the leader enhances the motivation, morale and performance of the group. Transformational leaders have long-term views and are focused on the future.

Any executive: CEO, CFO, or CIO needs to strike a balance between transactional and transformational leadership qualities. Creating forward movement in any company requires a mixture of both. There is no magic ratio. To be a successful leader one needs to find the right balance that works for him/her.