You know the person truly cares about your development and growth, and that delivering constructive criticism is a part of growing. In fact, you should be wary of a leader who always praises. Either their expectations are too low, and youre not being stretched and thus not growing, or theyre not really concerned about you and are just backslapping you at every occasion.
A really great leader knows he or she has to develop his followers and that that means challenging them and giving them opportunities to fail, but supporting them in their failures so that they learn.
I have to modify my style to fit the individual, to insure that I understand exactly what they want. This is the essence of true leadership: reconciling the needs of the individuals in the team with the organizational mission.
Make no mistake, its tough to do, but its the essence of the CIO's role. And if youre a CIO, or aspiring to be one, then this is where you should concentrate your efforts.
How do you find out if youre a great leader ? Ask. Survey your staff, your peers and your superiors. Get them to give you 360-degree feedback and support this concept within your organization. Get details of where you need improvement not only from your boss but from your staff. Make it a formal process, and more than once a year once a quarter if possible. If you dont ask, youll never grow as a leader.
Daniel Gingras has been CIO of five major companies and is a partner at Tatum, LLC. , a nationwide professional services organization of senior-level technology and financial executives who take on leadership roles for client companies. He has more than 30 years of IT experience and teaches computer science at Boston University. He can be reached at email@example.com.