When you think of a CEO you might imagine them to possess stereotypical characteristics: years of experience, confident, extroverted, self-promoting and a risk taker. But are these traits naturally typical of every head honcho in the land, or can anybody develop the techniques and traits that will set them apart from other executives? In this article, we’ll explore five of the most common characteristics of successful CEOs, and how they can be applied to drive personal and business growth.
1. Learning Agility
Learning from past experience can count for a lot in life and business, and aspiring CEOs who possess this characteristic will know how to apply this experience so that it helps them to overcome challenges and meet objectives. A CEO who is able to do this will continue to learn as they progress in their role and discover how to also apply fresh ideas to solve new problems and unanticipated obstacles.
2. An Optimistic Outlook
CEOs constantly come under pressure to deliver, and must also stay optimistic under pressure. Life at the top can be challenging, but an optimistic approach can help a CEO to confront challenges head-on, maintain morale across their business and ensure that productivity levels stay high. Optimism also breeds confidence and can help leaders to pursue goals that others view as impossible pipe dreams, break down barriers and discover ways to compete that nobody else has thought of.
3. Being a Host, Not a Hero
When it comes to leadership within the upper echelons of an organization, there may be a temptation to take a heroic approach to getting things done. However, while some CEOs may believe they work harder or know more than anybody else in the company, this fact is unlikely to inspire their workforce. The smart CEOs, on the other hand, are realizing that it is the host and not the hero who gets the best results. By drawing people together, engaging them in a challenge or issue and empowering them to get results, you will get the best out of your workforce.
4. There is Always Room For Empathy
Empathy isn’t a trait you leave behind when you get the key to your new office, and it should be treated as a top priority. No matter how competent you are as a CEO, caring about your workforce will get you and your business far. From taking ownership of failures to championing rewards programs and incentives, there are many ways a CEO can display empathy that will lead to a happier and more productive workforce.
5. Being a Good Listener
Just because CEOs are often responsible for making the ultimate decision doesn’t mean that the opinions of others should be set aside. A willingness to listen, encourage feedback and ask for solutions to problems can really help a CEO to understand the diverse skillsets and range of experience across their workforce, as well as get the best from teams and individuals. It doesn’t mean that your office door has to be open at all times, but being approachable can make a huge difference to productivity.
Preparing for the Leap
Whether you have a CEO role in your sights or you are already sitting in the big chair, understanding how to get the most from yourself and from your workforce will help to ensure that you deliver on your objectives, keep shareholders and employees happy and look forward to growing a successful business together.