Skills to Succeed as Leaders

Top execs reiterate the importance of developing personal skills that can help IT managers cope with challenges

Personal skills contribute a great deal towards enabling aspiring IT managers to tide over the tough journey as they climb up the career ladder towards the role of a CIO. Needless to say, there is complete consensus about this among the top management across business heads, finance heads, board of directors and technology heads. It is crucial to understand the important personal skills that they need to develop towards meeting their goals.

TG Dhandapani, CIO, TVS Motors says, I would say that IT managers should acquire business acumen and customer orientation as two important skills for their individual growth.

Narayan S Iyer, VP-Finance, Privi Organics Ltd., lays emphasis on developing effective practical communication which would help IT managers to put across their point clearly to the team, particularly in non-IT areas. Developing listening abilities is crucial in diving deep into the subject; this helps analyse the issue in the right light and thereby improves his\her communication skills, adds Iyer.

As finance head, Rostow Ravanan, CFO, MindTree, drives home the point that future CIOs should nurture the ability to understand business drivers and be open to the technologies that can give business a competitive advantage. As a result Rostow says, The ability to develop problem solving and thinking skills are vital, which will help them to get closer to business.

K Vaitheeswaran, CEO, India Plaza, an e-commerce enterprise, finds a serious transition in the way technology and related teams are perceived. The CIO and the team are considered the fulcrum of technology and marketing, driving the business growth; this is where personal skills have contributed enormously. The CEO says that IT managers are no longer technical people in the e-commerce industry. They bring in adaptability skills which help the project management team lay the path for future growth, says Vaitheeswaran.

The CIO of Marico Industries, Girish Rao, finds evolution in the role as well as expectations, as he finds being adaptable to change to be critical. Future CIOs need to adapt to changing environment at a faster pace and be open to fresh ideas and be able to change the status quo, says Rao.

NEXT100 Future CIO Ashish Khanna, Corporate Manager-IT, Infrastructure, EIH Ltd (Oberoi Hotels), believes that understanding business needs and alignment with IT systems is the key skill needed to move up the ladder. What bothers him most is that a lot of IT managers lack this quality and keep blowing their own IT trumpet, whether it is a discussion with key IT vendors or with key business stakeholders.

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