What Makes A Great CEO

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is one of the most misunderstood roles in a company. The position is responsible for holding the reigns of the company, leading everybody toward business success. Thousands of ambitious entrepreneurs start new companies every year, meaning more people than ever are operating as leaders. But great CEOs? They’re a much rarer breed. 

Many believe that a CEO is some kind of all-powerful, highly competent humanoid; built by robots, probably. Yet, it’s often the human aspects that set great CEOs apart from the rest. 

What is the role of the CEO?

The typical job description of a Chief Executive Officer will include the following duties;

  • Set a company’s direction and establish a strategy
  • Decide and model upon the values, behaviour, and culture of the business
  • Structure and lead the C-suite department
  • Allocate budget and resources to different priorities within the business, based on business objectives.

Business leaders might get some assistance on these tasks, but don’t let that fool you. It takes hard work, dedication, and a thick skin to take on the role. That being said, sometimes someone of this position can forget the traits, behaviours, and attitudes of what made their most-admired CEOs so brilliant.

We explore the qualities of what we believe to be successful leaders in business.

Inspire, engage, and energise

First and foremost, a great CEO knows how to get the most out of their staff. They create a positive corporate culture that empowers their workforce to be successful while adhering to the company’s mission and higher values. 

They make their teams lives easier

A profound CEO should always strive to boost staff productivity and improve efficiency within the business. To allow them to perform effectively, they should also ensure that every task allocated is necessary. Nobody should be compiling endless reports, filling out unwarranted forms or holding long, drawn-out meetings unless they’re genuinely useful.

They’re not afraid to disrupt old traditions

It’s easy for companies to exhaust processes and habits without questioning whether it’s still the most effective means of operating. Strong leaders can recognise when methods have become tired and require innovation. Overdue change can inject life into an organisation and quicken the pace.

At the same time, good leaders need to know how to take calculated risks when it comes to driving innovation. They’re careful to avoid leading the company into troubled waters.

They understand mistakes happen

In order not to stifle creativity, employees must believe they are free to take risks and try out new things without the fear of punishment. No matter how strong of a performer a staff member is, they’re still human and likely to make mistakes. A good CEO can distinguish between errors that are made out of negligence or not. They also take the appropriate action to provide better support and ensure the mistake isn’t repeated. 

They’re excellent communicators and even better listeners

Effective communication is vital in any business and a strong leader must possess those skills. They should have the ability to be consistently clear, whether it’s setting deadlines, expressing company needs or showing teams how things are done. It also helps with employee encouragement and boosting morale. 

Good CEOs are devoted to listening to their team members, customers, and shareholders. It might come as a shock, but they’re not experts at everything! They know this, and also know that they will have a more successful business by getting advice and insight from their employees.

They invest in learning and development

No matter the industry, change is a constant. On top of this, year after year, we’re welcoming another generation into the jobs market – complete with next-generational skillsets.

No matter whether an employee has no experience or whether they have 50 years under their belt, a strong business leader recognises that every employee within their company should be granted with the training and the tools to keep their skillsets updated and relevant. In turn, the business will benefit from this too.

They don’t micromanage

A quick way to disgruntled staff is to tell them how to do their job and monitor their every move. If staff feel their self-worth and value is being undercut, they find it more difficult to get on board with company goals.

While guidance and support can stimulate innovation, micromanaging kills productivity and creativity. A good CEO knows that employees should be given independence and space to succeed. Tell employees what you expect as an outcome but let them decide how to achieve the desired objective.

They instil a healthy work-life balance

Leaders place the utmost importance on their employees’ health and well-being. Part of this includes having a healthy mind. Excessive overtime should be monitored, especially if being carried out on days off. Plans and deadlines should always consider the number of hours genuinely required, being careful not to depend too much on extra office hours. 

When projects demand more time than allocated to a normal workday, a strong Lead stays behind with his team. Nothing builds resentment amongst employees than when the CEO regularly slopes off and the team is expected to continue work during their personal time.

Gives praise for good work

Finally, a respected CEO will always recognise employees for their success – never taking credit for their work. Not only does it give employees validation that they’re doing their job correctly, but it also motivates them to keep working hard. It costs nothing to the business, only takes a minute, and increases office morale.

Back to news