4. Forge the Right Relationships to Drive the Right Results. This skill may not be surprising. High performing CIOs spend a greater percentage of their time and energy managing relationships that exist sideways: with internal peers, external suppliers, and customers. They purposely invest in horizontal relationships which form the foundation to drive extraordinary results.
5. Master Communication. The best CIOs know that their colleagues--especially the people who work for them--are always watching. These executives understand they are always on stage. They take advantage of that situation by constantly reiterating core messages and values. Through their focus on clarity, consistency, authenticity, and passion, they make sure their message is not only understood but also felt. They want to communicate a feeling that compels people to take the right actions.
6. Inspire Others. In exchange for a regular paycheck, most people will give an adequate performance. But they will only give their best work if they believe they are involved in something greater than themselves. The best CIOs provide a compelling vision that connects people to how their enterprise wins in the marketplace and that their contributions are meaningful and valued.
7. Build People, Not Systems. By developing people all around them, these CIOs increase their capability and capacity to deliver results. They also know that leaving behind the next generation of leaders is the best thing they can do for the organization--it will be their lasting legacy.
Soft skills, of course, won't replace managerial and operational requirements of the CIO job. Instead, the authors state, those skills are a "powerful enabler and an amplifying force that allows individuals to exceed expectations and maximize the value from IT."
"All CIOs must deliver results," notes Waller in the Gartner report. "What distinguishes the best is how they do it: through people, by people, and with people."
Thomas Wailgum covers Enterprise Software, Data Management and Personal Productivity Apps for CIO.com. Follow him on Twitter @twailgum. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. E-mail Thomas at email@example.com.