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?

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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

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