Interpersonal Skills are Key for Future Tech Leaders

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal’s CIO of the Year Awards. As I read about the nominees and listened to the CIOs who achieved this honor, I felt overwhelmed with admiration for the work these individuals accomplish each day – and I wondered what made them so successful.

Interpersonal Skills Essential for Future CIOs

While CIOs are technical experts first and foremost, what almost certainly propels them into the CIO role are their strong analytical and strategic planning skills. And just as key to their success are communication and leadership skills. These interpersonal skills are exactly what many recent IT graduates are lacking, according to a recent Robert Half Technology survey. Of the 2,300 CIOs that were surveyed, 26 percent said new IT graduates are unprepared to hit the ground running when they start a new job, and 55 percent said the reasons are a lack of communication and leadership skills.

How to Build Interpersonal Skills

Yikes. But not all is lost: Whether you’re a recent IT grad, or an IT professional who has been on the job for years, there are some easy ways to build your interpersonal skills. Here are some tips:

  • Hone Your Communication Skills. It may seem like a given that you need to speak and write clearly, but some IT pros fail in this area. Avoid using jargon or technical concepts that are obvious to you, but might be unclear or unfamiliar to others.
  • Learn Conflict Resolution Skills. Disagreements occur in every office. Learning how to calmly sort out issues and find acceptable compromises will aid you throughout your career.
  • Focus on Teamwork. Is a coworker working on a major initiative and everything must be completed by next week? Offer to help out if you’re not overloaded yourself. The way to win support is by giving support when it’s needed.
  • Emphasize Diplomacy. Always maintain a professional tone when communicating with others. This means never corresponding when you’re angry or frustrated. You could regret it later.

Regardless of your technical expertise, your interpersonal skills are the hallmark of your personal brand and, ultimately, what will set you apart from colleagues. Honing these communication skills are key to achieving your career goals.

Tags: Career RX