Managers should develop their teams, not just lead them.
Every CIO can help their staff make the most of their abilities. “I don’t think it’s rocket science – in fact, it’s quite simple,” says Chris White, CIO at global law firm Clyde & Co. White is a firm believer in the responsibility of the CIO to encourage skills development. “As a CIO, you have to do more than simply build a team. There’s an initial step that precedes everything else, which is about recognising what the firm needs in terms of technology. “Once you’ve got an idea of the systems and services that are required, you can build out the capability to deliver the technology.” He talks with ZDNet about his best practice tips for IT staff development and project delivery.
1. Conduct the orchestra
After seven years as CIO of legal firm Ashurst, White spent a few years in consultancy and interim IT leadership positions. He joined Clyde & Co in June 2013. Initially joining in an interim capacity, White helped the firm to establish its IT strategy. Staff development has been key. “Understand the skills you need clearly and the sort of people you require in each of the seats in your department,” he says, referring to internal IT capability. “I always centre on developing complimentary skills and allowing people to work in a supportive environment.” White says he tries to avoid an autocratic approach and likes to think of himself as the conductor of an orchestra. “I believe in employing great people and then allowing them to do their work in a professional manner,” he says. “It’s not possible for me as the CIO to do the work of other people in the IT department. If I’m doing someone else’s job, then that individual isn’t working to the best of their ability. And my company isn’t benefiting from the investment they’ve made in my leadership skills.”
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