Good CIOs Lead By Following - Page 2

Nov 20, 2007

Hank Marquis

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3. Leadership makes you accountable, even if it's not your fault.

A leader takes full responsibility for his or her mission, and with this comes accountability for failure and success.

Leaders don’t blame their teams, or complain about unreasonable customer requirements. Leaders set expectations by focusing on the needs of others (Trait No. 2) and building consensus for attainable projects. When things go right, the leader thanks his or her team. If something goes wrong, a leader accepts full responsibility even if the cause of failure was someone else.

4. Leadership is not a 9 to 5 activity.

Leaders get out of their offices and engage with their constituents at all levels. Being a leader means focusing on the needs of others and helping others when they fail. This can require additional work, even after hours.

Personal engagement also shows what is important to the CIO or leader. If the leader is not personally engaged in the activity in a visible way then the message to staff and others is clear – “I don’t really care.”

5. Leadership requires trust from your followers.

Trust does not come easily. You cannot buy, barter or steal trust. You have to earn trust.

You build trust when you focus on the needs of others, motivate your team, satisfy your customers, take responsibility for success and failure, and engage with your team on a personal level. Trust will not come because you have an impressive title. Trust only comes from following the first four traits long enough to prove to your customers and teams that they can trust you. Your actions build trust.

6. Leaders get their best ideas from their team.

The best ideas are not going to come from the leader, but rather from the led. A good leader develops consensus for a project based on its relationships to customers, company and staff. Exactly how the project should unfold is often best left to the team to determine.

Nothing so engages and commits a team to a leader than having the team actively help design the solution. Remember, no one knows the job better than the person who does it every day. Listen to and learn from your team, customers, and suppliers.

Next Page: When to listen, when to talk...

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