A CEO sets the tone for how an organization operates, and the work environment they foster will significantly affect the company's success. This leadership position is responsible for growing the company, driving profitability, and improving share prices – for public companies.
The CEO must also promote the company's culture and build a business that leaves employees feeling as if they are all valued members of an organization. They are also charged with managing the operations and resources for their company. A CEO establishes the vision, strategy, and direction of an organization. It is a highly visible and high-stakes position.
7 Qualities of a Successful CEO
Here are the seven main qualities of a successful CEO that enables them to thrive and lead a successful company. If a chief executive officer possesses these attributes, they should not have to fear losing their job. More than a quarter of the CEO departures in Fortune 500 companies between the years 2000 to 2013 were involuntary, according to the Conference Board.
A successful CEO's role is to provide bold, strategic decisions.
High-performing CEOs know that a wrong decision is better than not making a decision at all. It may seem counterintuitive, but even a bad decision will be preferred over a lack of direction. The majority of decisions can be corrected, but it is essential to move forward and be confident in your decision-making.
Successful CEOs must realize that they cannot wait for perfect information to be gathered before making a decision. Once you achieve clarity with the information you do have, it is incumbent upon the CEO to make the call. What is key in the decision-making process is requesting multiple points of view. It is important to solicit the views of your most trusted advisors, who can be relied upon for their candor and sound judgment.
As CEO of your organization, your main responsibility is to be its chief strategic decision-maker.
The CEOs who excel at adapting to market forces and changing economic conditions will be nearly 7 percent more likely to succeed, according to the Harvard Business Review's 10-year study entitled the CEO Genome Project. CEOs reported to the Harvard Business Review that this specific skill is vital to their success.
A cautionary tale of how important being adaptable is would be the story of Blockbuster, which was a successful international business worth billions of dollars. Because of their failure to adapt to changing market forces, they had to file for bankruptcy protection in 2010.
The Blockbuster CEO attempted to alter the business model and compete against rivals Netflix and Redbox, but they were slow to adapt. They failed to adjust to established systems for generating revenue.
As conditions evolve, it is essential that a CEO adapts their strategies to ensure buy-in from the relevant stakeholders in their company.
Here are two ways that a CEO could be more adaptable:
- Change your Mindset – In circumstances where you are facing change, initially consider the positive aspects. For instance, if the COO abruptly resigns, this could be an opportunity to restructure the organization or hire someone who can do the job better. What is key is to have an open mind and look at challenges as opportunities.
- Push Yourself to Improvise – There are certain people who are naturally adaptable. Then there are others who thrive within structure and predictability. If you are a CEO, it will best serve you to embrace change. If adaptability is not your strong suit, then push yourself to experiment. Examples might be discussing an unexpected business move or taking a calculated risk.
This is perhaps one of the most important qualities of a CEO. It is vital that your workforce views you as a CEO who is leading the organization and can rely on your leadership to reflect the employees' best interests.
According to the Harvard Business Review's study, CEO candidates who scored well on reliability were 15 times more likely to succeed in their position. Boards and investors appreciate a CEO's steady hand, and employees trust reliable leaders.
Reliable CEOs have a track record of communicating effectively, delivering consistently on their promises, and sharing news in a timely fashion. A reliable CEO will be rewarded with a loyal and hard-working staff.
Company leaders must welcome input, as this creates an atmosphere of transparency. This calls for a CEO to be forthright about why they made particular decisions and what led to the decision being made.
It is incumbent upon CEOs to foster an open environment where their staff can celebrate their accomplishments and learn as a team from failures. It is to a CEO's benefit to always champion transparency.
In order to be transparent, a CEO might take the following steps:
- Prioritize and Deliver on Commitments – It is essential that a CEO accurately gauge the precise amount of time and resources that they have available. The CEO must be candid about when and what they can deliver.
- Be Thoughtful About Words and Actions – A CEO should be very careful when it comes to what they say and do. Each action they take will be extensively examined by stakeholders that include the employees, shareholders, team leaders, etc.
When a CEO is optimistic, that will enable them to effectively motivate their staff and inspire the workforce to think creatively. An optimist will be better equipped to build relationships with all staff members.
An optimistic leader is passionate about their leadership role and embraces opportunities to acknowledge their teams' successes.
An inspirational CEO is more likely to have a workforce that strives harder to achieve their goals and shows a greater commitment to their jobs. A CEO who sets the tone for optimism down the ranks has a better chance of increasing the productivity of their workers and motivating their employees to think more creatively.
A CEO who exudes optimism will acknowledge the strengths of his workforce, invest in his staff, and encourage them to improve on their weaknesses. All of this is done in a positive work environment.
It is important for a CEO to be curious. This quality will serve him well when it comes to looking to certain employees for guidance based on their areas of expertise. A curious CEO will be willing to learn from everyone they work with, paving the way for making well-informed decisions.
A curious mind may prompt a CEO to ask questions to better understand people and specific processes. As a result, the CEO might attend training or conferences to learn more. That could motivate employees to do the same.
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