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Why You Need Charisma

What separates great CIOs from Good CIOs? It isn’t the amount that they know nor is it the resources they have; it’s charisma, and that charisma is the focus of this article by Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Using the example of “Paul Lee”, the article explains how charisma is the primary factor in Lee’s ability to gain people’s trust, motivations, and abilities.   That’s not to say that charisma is empty, as Moss Canter explains: Charisma isn’t oratory or rhetoric; Lee is not a polished speaker or writer. Charisma isn’t devoid of substance, either. Lee’s numbers must look good, which they do, because he can entice the best people and that entices others. Lee is just at the beginning of his leadership journey, but people have faith in him — more accurately, faith in the groups he can assemble because of his magnetism. That’s the essence of charisma. Charisma has made the difference in presidential elections, hiring decisions, and the success of entrepreneurs alike. It’s a talent that can help the CIO and the managers that work for the CIO make a bigger impact for the company and for the employees on their team.  CIOs need charisma to help both the people above and below them believe that the efforts they are supporting can make a big impact for the company and for themselves. At the root of the trait is a willingness and ability to listen to people completely and to a point that they listen to you. This is a skill that has led to more successes in the CIO’s efforts than perhaps anything else. Moss Canter explains how many people will “bet on the leader, not the idea”, and that holds true for a CIO as well. It’s hard, at times, for other executive managers to understand the direction or the purpose behind the projects you as a CIO deem as important; so being able to carry the support of the board room oftentimes comes down to sheer charisma and character.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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