Traits of a CEO
CEOs are the figureheads of their companies. They serve as the public faces, the symbolic leaders, and the primary points of contact between shareholders and the board of directors at the businesses they represent.
CEOs play a crucial role in shaping the company cultures and determining the stated missions of their organisations, and when problems arise in the leadership, it is they who are ultimately accountable for the direction in which the business goes. So the position entails a tremendous amount of responsibility and bestows a significant amount of power on those who occupy it.
As intermediaries between the shareholders and the Board of Directors, CEOs, however, do not have ultimate control of the companies they head. Rather, they are accountable to both the investors and the board, the latter of which has the final say in most major decisions involved in running the business. So the day-to-day duties of a CEO involve a great deal of politicking, networking, and communication.
There are many parties invested in every corporation, and it is the job of a CEO to keep everyone satisfied and to ensure that the interests of all relevant parties are represented in the decisions that shape the company.
These unique demands mean that the position of CEO tends to attract a unique personality, and it takes a specific type of person to be able to excel in this high-power role.
6 Personality Traits of a Top CEO
- Driven: This job is demanding. It requires long hours and an unwavering investment. CEOs must be extremely driven individuals, with a clear perspective on what they aim to achieve and the dedication it will require to get there.
- Engaged: To excel in a CEO position a CEO must be attuned to a thousand things at once. From the market to the economy to individuals within the corporation, a CEO must be aware of everything that is going on around him or her.
- Circumspect: To make the best decisions for a company, a CEO must be able to evaluate all aspects of every problem and only take action once all the implications have been carefully considered.
- Social: This job is social. It requires much networking and a rare talent for making strong first impressions. To help a company thrive, a CEO has to bring people together.
- High-Energy: This job is draining. So it requires extraordinary amounts of energy to return day after day with the same enthusiasm and attention.
- Thoughtful: CEOs cannot be reactionary. They must carefully think through the implications of their actions and be extremely rational in their decision-making.
Emotional Traits of a Great CEO
- Compassionate: CEOs are responsible for the livelihoods of countless workers, and their decisions affect people all throughout the companies they lead. So compassion is incredibly important in this position, and the most responsible leaders are usually those who exercise the most compassion.
- Understanding: Those with a tendency to be understanding rather than judgmental create considerably less friction wherever they go. So if CEOs want their companies to run smoothly, an understanding attitude is key.
- Optimistic: Being a CEO means facing constant challenges. It means getting a lot of bad news and having to answer to difficult problems. So optimism is a vital tool for this job, one that makes all the difference between leadership and inspired decisions.
- Confident: Confidence is an essential quality in this role, where an individual is constantly being questioned and challenged. Self-doubt can become incredibly destructive, and so it takes unwavering confidence to excel in the face of the countless obstacles a CEO faces.
Leadership Traits of the Best CEOs
- Decisive: This job is all about making decisions. So CEOs must be slow to think and quick to act. They must stand behind their decisions and inspire confidence with their consistency.
- Knowledgeable: A CEO must be an expert. They certainly don’t have to know everything, but they must be knowledgeable enough to know where and how to get the most reliable information when they need it. To lead effectively, CEOs must clearly demonstrate that they know what they are doing, and why.
- Listening: Great leaders listen. They surround themselves with those who give good advice, and they never shut down channels of information.
- Loyal: Loyalty is key to hiring and keeping great staff, and great employees are the reason companies succeed.
- Ethical: CEOs face countless ethical decisions every day, and so the ability to act responsibly at all times inspires confidence and trust from employees.
Although we often think of CEOs as existing solely within the bubbles of the companies they work for, the position is far more important to society than many of us realise.
Because CEOs play a crucial role in shaping company cultures and the products or services their companies offer to the public, they influence the average person’s life in myriad ways.
CEOs shape the workforce; their beliefs find their way into the advertisements we see every day and the products that surround us. So even those of us who don’t work in the same industry or even the same region of the country are affected by the decisions CEOs make.
Becoming a better leader and a more compassionate decision-maker, therefore allows CEOs to exert a more positive influence on our society. Whether you are a current CEO or looking to become one, your character traits make a world of difference.