It's nice to know you are not alone sometimes. The CIO of a major NHS hospital recently told me one of his leadership peers described his and every leadership role as being lonely. In my own experience, there is always that nagging doubt that I'm falling behind the times, or increasingly, that I'm not creative enough. 

So it was pleasant to learn recently that being ahead of the curve, or as creative as I was in those halcyon post university days is not what is required of a leader. In fact good old fashioned people skills are the most important ones. 

This is not just my conclusion, there are some good numbers to back it up and they come from a source that we at CIO UK rate because we work with them on a regular basis, Harvey Nash, the CIO recruitment specialists.  

The Harvey Nash CIO Survey is in my opinion one of the more accurate barometers on the CIO environment. For 2013 the team behind this survey has put together a survey of 1,500 direct reports into CIOs to gauge what they want from their boss - the CIO. And as you can see below the human factors are more important overall than being the office SAP genius or the first to try a new App. 

Most important factors in technology leader

  • Vision - 38%
  • Listening - 33%
  • Honesty - 31%
  • Defines roles well - 29%
  • Communication - 28%
  • Acts as a figurehead - 25%
  • Delegation - 16%
  • Technology skills - 16%
  • Business acumen - 14%
  • Track record - 13%
  • Provides feedback - 13%
  • Emotional intelligence - 9%
  • Blue sky thinker - 2%

As you look down the list I'm sure you'll see strengths and weaknesses in yourself at various skill sets, but as I looked down the list, I was reassured that the more basic human skills were higher up than technology knowledge. 

So next time you feel like you are losing the plot, perhaps the best thing to go and do is walk the floor and listen to the needs, concerns, creative thoughts or experiences of those in your team. It's what they want you to do and in doing so, you will succeed too. 

The Harvey Nash' s Technology Survey can be gained from the Harvey Nash website link here.