As we know CEO stand for Chief Executive Officer which is the top most managerial designation in corporate or organizations. Being at the highest rank in managerial designations, CEO reports to board of directors. CEO is the person who is directly responsible for business success or failure in any organization. Before we discuss qualities of a successful CEO, we must be aware of the role and responsibilities of a CEO as following–
CEO is directly responsible for business success or failure
CEO reports to board of directors
CEO takes all the management decisions
CEO gives directions to managerial staff
It is CEO’s responsibility to build business ethically and legally sound
CEO gives annual projections of demand & supply to board of directors
CEO has to lead the team
I worked very closely with 3 CEOs of reputed companies in real estate and IT industries. My experience was very different with all of three CEOs I worked with. When I think about qualities of a successful CEO one line by William Shakespeare comes to my mind-
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
All the CEOs have some good and bad qualities which determine the success or failure of their business. Some CEOs are born with innate abilities to lead a team and run a business successfully, some achieve CEO designation by working hard but there are few business houses which appoint their family members as CEO. Family members become CEO without any prior managerial experience and industry exposure.
This is the point which makes people like me to write about qualities of a successful CEO so that board of directors can give some thoughts before appointing CEO. Selection of an incapable CEO can also be one of the reasons why businesses fail.
- Business Acumen-
Business Acumen means quick understanding of the business. Business acumen is an art of understanding and planning such a business which makes money. To run any business successfully CEO should have excellent business acumen which includes understanding of financial acumen, market orientation and formulation of strategies.
- Excellent communicator-
It is considered that good communicator can lead organizations in a better way. As we know communication is all about transmitting message from one person to another person or group and getting response in return. But when we talk about good communication skill it means excellent way of expressing both way verbally and written to get optimum result. CEO should have good communication skills so that he/she can convey the messages clearly to employees as well as business associates. Generally CEO with positive attitude can communicate clearly.
Intensity of passion about the business determines the success or failure of a company. If a CEO is passionate about business, he/she will dedicate 100% towards growth of business which will make employees to have trust in company.
- Decision maker-
Since CEO reports directly to board of directors, he/she has to take decisions very fast. Sometimes CEO has to take some tough decisions too to run the business successful. Decision making is one of the most desired qualities of a CEO.
- Value driven-
When I talk about value driven CEO, I mean that individual values make employees and customers to perceive the business as they want. If a CEO is value driven, he/she would run the business and take decisions based on those values only. Generally value driven CEOs establish ethical businesses.
- Result oriented-
Without result oriented approach nobody can become successful CEO because result is directly related to revenue generation and profit & loss account. In simple words, CEO is paid for results not for the performance.
Assertive behavior helps a CEO to communicate properly, understand employee’s need and the most important point is motivation.
- Strategy formulator-
Half of the business success depends on the strategy formulation. CEO should be quick strategy formulator to balance demand and supply.
- Takes calculative risks-
Though it is said that no risk no gain but a CEO should be capable to analyze when and how much risk should be taken to grab the business opportunities. In other words CEO should take calculative risks in business.
- Ability to prioritize-
In any organization there are lots of works which have to be completed by CEO and his/her team but ability to prioritize depending on the urgency enhances productivity and performance. Ability to prioritize means CEO should know which work should be completed first and which should be at last. Time management and ability to prioritize can be called synonyms because both the terms are used for maximum efficiency.
Creativity is a quality which is expected from a CEO by board of directors. Creativity has to be there in his/her nature to get the works done in unique style.
- Proactive thinking-
In my experience, the most valuable CEO is the one who is proactive. By definition, this means he/she controls situations by causing things to happen rather than waiting to respond after things happen. People who are proactive don’t sit around waiting for answers to appear; they stand up, put one foot in front of the other, and find the answers. They don’t wait for someone to hand them an instruction manual and a box of tools; they’re resourceful.
- Ability to inspire and motivate-
CEO has to be role model for the employees so that they can dedicate their 100 % towards business as CEO himself/herself does. CEO should be source of inspiration and motivation for the team. Studies show that employees and customers make assumptions and perceptions about companies depending on the perception they have for CEO.
- Helps others to succeed-
CEO is the actual leader in any organization because he/she does not only achieve own target but also gets the team succeed by achieving their targets by helping them.
Friendly nature is a part of leadership quality which makes CEO to understand employees better. If as a CEO you understand the employees better, you can get the maximum result by exploiting available resources.
Business is about turning magic stick and getting works done in seconds but it needs dedication and patience. CEO has to keep on striking with focus and patience.
Successful CEOs are rarely satisfied, either with their own performance or that of their organization. While recognizing that success needs to be celebrated, they rarely succumb to complacency and keep pushing themselves and their organization to excel.
- Ability to think under pressure-
It is Ability to think under pressure which makes a CEO different from other employees.