The three traits that every CTO should have are knowing how to assemble a team, being a good gambler, and knowing how to say no. Although it may seem that a CTO should always be the smartest guy in the room about everything when it comes to tech, it’s not always possible. One of the leadership qualities needed for the position is how to assemble a great team. If there’s something you don’t know, you should have someone who knows nearly everything there is to know about the subject. A good rule of thumb is to have a go-to guy for the technology you don’t know.
The choices that a CTO has to make are not always clear., but it’s important to know where to place your chips. Until we can each have our own personal fortunetellers, CTO’s will need to know how to gamble, because every choice is a bet that their placing. Know the risk and evaluate if it’s worth it or not; this goes for winning big or small. A sinking ship doesn’t need to take it’s captain either, know when it’s time to walk away and cut your loses. A paper cut heals faster than a broken back.
The final and honestly the most important skill to have is letting that harsh word of “no” be spoken at the right times. The worst thing a CTO can do is become a “yes man” to all of their colleagues. Someone who doesn’t know how to say no doesn’t know why they are saying yes. This doesn’t just apply to outside questions, a CTO must ask himself if the choices he is going to make are right. The position is really exciting, almost like being a kid in a candy store, and getting passionate about choices can cloud judgement. Remember to keep yourself grounded and know exactly why you are saying yes. Over time your opinions will be held at a much higher regard.