7 attributes to look for in a deputy IT leader

The CIO has become pivotal — and demanding. But having a trusted No. 2 can help ease the pain. Here's how to find the best second-in-command.

7 attributes to look for in a deputy IT leader
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The CIO role is expanding quickly. No longer a tactical leader supporting the IT stack, the CIO has become a pivotal co-creator with business leaders. With so much at stake and on their plates, IT leaders need a dependable second-in-command, someone who can offer advice, handle critical IT, business and personnel tasks and, most importantly, be ready to take the helm when the need arises.

Finding a trusty No. 2 isn't easy, however. The job requires a deep IT and business skillset, plus the ability to provide counsel and direction to the CIO or CTO, as well as to IT team members.

Here are seven key attributes to look for when selecting a deputy IT leader.

1. Management savvy

A CIO’s lieutenant must be ready to lead team members to high levels of performance, which in today’s IT, means more than simply getting the best out of individual contributors. "The best candidate for the second-in-command position should also come prepared to juggle competing priorities, use an analytical mind to measure success based on KPIs, remain flexible to change, be open to constant learning and have confidence in their own ability to lead," advises Joe McKenna, global CIO for Syntax, a managed cloud services company.

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