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New characteristics will be required due to the changes caused by the pandemic.

A new survey by Gartner says seventy percent of hiring processes of new CIOs rank individual determination and sensitivity as two critical personal characteristics in 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to shift the landscape for how global CIOs manage, collaborate and respond to their stakeholders. Accordingly, the demand for strong leadership and core emotional dexterity competencies is growing, according to Gartner.

“CEOs are looking for executives who are capable of weathering crises,” said Daniel Sanchez-Reina, senior research director at Gartner. “They are still unsettled about the future and want determined CIOs who make and implement timely decisions, while displaying emotional dexterity to be tactful and supportive.”

Determination and emotional competency rank high for recruitment

Determination refers to a firmness of resoluteness and in turning decisions into actions, despite how tough they are. Sensitivity is the quality of feeling empathetic toward others’ difficulties and acting accordingly.

According to Gartner data, demand for the determination and competency among new hires increased 34% in 2020 versus 2019. In addition, sensitivity increased 92% in 2020 versus 2019. Both competencies are in the top 10 of increasing demand in recruitment processes, which will extend to existing employees too.

The Gartner survey showed that CIOs who look to develop emotional dexterity in the digital era can improve their self-awareness. This is especially important during times of crisis, when they commit to practicing self-improvement techniques.

“Soft skills” will be the desired skillset of the future

IT and business leaders say that the most important skills needed in 10 years will be soft skills. So says a Gartner survey. That survey also showed “above average” CIOs are 30% more likely to practice gratitude as a self-development approach. This puts them in a better position to deal with the fear and doubt that complex change brings.

“Interestingly, all surveyed CIOs spend an average of 30 minutes daily in learning and development, indicating it is not the quantity, but the quality of time spent on focusing on the right behaviors that is important,” said Rob O’Donohue, senior research director at Gartner.

The Gartner CIO Emotional Intelligence Competencies Survey was conducted online from 14 through 28 September 2020. It focused on 93 members of the Gartner CIO Research Circle, a Gartner-managed panel, across various industries.