CIO Development

Blog Can you recommend a book on leadership?

Two-days before Christmas and a close head-hunter friend wants me to recommend a good book on leadership for a CIO search candidate. This usually means “this person has a great technical CV and a good, blue-chip background, but she/he isn’t ready to move into the c-suite.”

Sadly, the answer isn’t as simple as a Christmas reading project but it set me thinking: what is the best leadership “primer” for someone this senior? My answer to my friend is below.

What would you recommend?


Hi Cathy

Gosh, the world has moved on and the definitive book on leading from technology in the digital era is waiting to be written.

S/he will need it all: great vision, business credibility and compelling communication, high order interpersonal and influencing skills, courage, self-confidence and powerful execution, solid technology. And why not sex-appeal and charisma while we’re at it.

I don’t believe these things can just come from books.

The father of modern leadership development, Warren Bennis, died last July aged 89. He famously compared becoming a leader with becoming an integrated human being, and he urged executives to seek out and develop their own authentic characters; founding the field of character-based leadership. We place this at the heart of our coaching and it’s also at the core of the CIO Mentoring Scheme using role-models from those you call “grown-ups”.

So if it’s a book, I’d still go for “On Becoming a Leader” by Warren Bennis, 2003 Edition.

Merry Christmas – Brin xx