by Steff Gelston

The 2007 CIO Ones to Watch Awards

May 01, 20072 mins

To s쳮d today, CIOs need to invest in tomorrow's leaders.

Who doesn’t love a hero? When all hell is breaking loose, when the network is crashing and the servers are smoking, what CIO hasn’t imagined himself or herself as Superman or Wonder Woman, bravely reaching into the fire to save the business’s bacon? Admit it: The fantasy of being the irreplaceable figure to whom everyone turns for leadership is enthralling, even thrilling.

And being the lone leader is great…if you possess superhuman powers, such as the ability to be in two places at one time. But most IT executives understand that they are merely mortal, and the smart ones understand that no leader stands alone, that a leader is only as good as his or her team. So the most successful CIOs make developing leaders at all levels of their organization a strategic priority.

The 25 men and women who are this year’s Ones to Watch award winners embody this commitment to empowering leadership within IT. With this award, CIO magazine and the CIO Executive Council recognize both IT’s rising stars and the CIOs who nurtured them. And with the Standout award, we honor those winners who have excelled in leading innovation, business strategy, project execution, team building or organizational change. (See “2007 CIO Ones to Watch Standout Winners.”)

Inculcating these skills in an organization takes time, thought and commitment. The CIOs of Motorola, BT and Direct Energy share their strategies in “How to Turn Your Employees Into Leaders.” Mid-market CIOs discuss their own leadership issues in “Ones to Watch Winners Discuss Keys to Meeting Mid-Market Challenges.”

So what do the CIOs of tomorrow want from their leaders today? CIO’s poll of the honorees found that 95 percent believe their CIOs should spend less time playing Superman and more time managing and developing staff. For full survey results (and to benchmark against those CIOs who inspired our winners), go to Congratulations to our honorees and their CIOs. They may not be superheroes, but they’re achieving super results.