From spearheading digital transformation initiatives to balancing innovation with day-to-day IT operations, the role of the CIO has never been as central or demanding. Lone gone are the days when you could coast along with solid IT know-how and minimal management skills; now you\u2019re expected to inspire, give guidance to the board and deliver IT that propels the business forward. But what does it take to make that mission a success?\nDeloitte\u2019s 2017 Digital Business Studyidentified a set of leadership attributes needed to drive digital business transformations, including an experimentation mind-set, a risk-taking attitude and a willingness to speak out. Interestingly, these findings chimed with the results of Deloitte\u2019s 2017 Global CIO Survey, which suggested that 81 percent of CIOs were early technology adopters, 75 percent were risk tolerant and 75 percent were willing to tolerate some degree of confrontation.\nObviously, a grasp of technology is important. If you don\u2019t know how existing systems work and understand what\u2019s coming over the horizon, you can\u2019t expect to lead IT. Yet more important might be the ability to package technological developments into a compelling IT vision and the skills to inspire the company as a whole to see it through.\n\u2018I am responsible for providing a vision of what we want to do\u2019 BT Global Services CEO and former CIO Luis Alvarez told CIO UK. \u2018For me, the role of a CIO is looking beyond pure technology and looking to the impact these technologies will have in the overall business.\u2019\nBut while he thinks CIOs need to be inspiring, Alvarez also sounds a note of caution. \u2018One of the challenges for CIOs is that you can be very inspirational and understand the CEO needs, but if you don\u2019t deliver it that can then lead to e business failing.\u2019 In other words, the CIO also needs to be someone who is results-oriented and who can deliver \u2013 someone accountable both for success and failure.\nThe CIO\u2019s role demands confidence \u2013 sometimes even boldness. In their book \u2018Confessions of a Successful CIO: How the Best CIOs tackle their Toughest Business Challenges\u2019, Dan Roberts and Brian Watson draw on the experiences of CIOs in some of the world\u2019s biggest companies, concluding that a successful CIO isn\u2019t afraid to take risks or pitch big ideas when it\u2019s necessary to safeguard their company\u2019s future. These CIOs know how to network and how to speak the board\u2019s language. When the situation demands, they step up and push.\nThat\u2019s something Stuart Birrell, CIO of Heathrow airport found when driving through a redesign of the airport\u2019s complex IT operating model. \u2018You have to give people confidence, both internally and across the wider operation\u2019 he told CIO UK \u2018and hope that you\u2019re doing the right thing and that you\u2019re in control.\u2019\nDoing so requires emotional intelligence and a level of empathy, not just with the members of your own team but with others in the business.\n\u2018One of the biggest lessons I\u2019ve learned is you need to partner with your business colleagues around the organisation\u2019, Jane Moran CIO of Unilever told CIO UK. \u2018You need to understand what business problems you\u2019re solving and you need to get your teams to understand those business problems to help craft the solutions.\u2019 It\u2019s not enough for the CIO to speak \u2013 they also have to listen. As Moran explains \u2018The best ideas come from the most junior people in the organisation. You need to create the operating model so that everyone in your technology organisation has a voice.\u2019\nFinally, a successful CIO requires a degree of independence \u2013 the ability to balance the rules of IT and corporate culture and the self-belief to break them when they\u2019re holding the business back. Sometimes, this can start with the little things, as Aviva International CIO Fin Goulding explains. \u2018What is quite funny is that I don\u2019t own a suit\u2019 he told CIO UK. \u2018I was a bit worried about that, but as I started to dress down, which I\u2019ve always done, now other people are doing it. You can actually see you have a shadow as a leader.\u2019 When IT change so often now means cultural change, even seemingly insignificant changes start to mean a lot.