How To Make The Leap From IT Pro To CIO

How To Make The Leap From IT Pro To CIO

Executive recruiter Kathy Harris gives us an in-depth look at how to rise to the top levels of IT.

If you’re looking to advance your career in the direction of the CIO’s seat, the first thing you need to do is learn what it really means to be an IT leader. For starters, it could mean loving technology a little less. That’s the advice of Kathy Harris, executive recruiter and managing director of Harris Allied.

“Sometimes a technologist wants to embrace a new technology because they love it,” said Harris in an interview with InformationWeek. “But the mindset of senior managers is that technology is a tool to further the business. It is not an end unto itself. Making that shift is the first step in the process.”

Once you’ve made that mindset change, Harris said, the ability to develop teams is something businesses look for in potential IT leaders. “The person tapped [for] more senior roles understands the big picture,” said Harris.

“If you are in a leadership role, you are only as good as the people around you. As a leader, you have to engage with your team and continue to cross-train and develop the team. Team building is really critical. Most people don’t think in terms of the team. They think the job to be done is the work. But the real work is developing the team.”

Of course, you can help develop all of the teams you want, but you’re still going to need the qualifications for the next step. Long before you’re ready to start job hunting, Harris recommended that you monitor job descriptions of roles you are hoping to have one day. See how many of the qualifications mentioned in those ads are ones you currently have.

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