How To Start Building Leadership Skills

No matter where you are on the company ladder, there are always ways and means to start building your leadership skills. Preparing yourself for the next step in your career will have you standing first in line for the next promotion. The following suggestions will have you well on your way up that ladder if you practice them religiously. These tips and suggestions include:

Act “As If” You Have Already Been Promoted

You want to move up and one of the best ways to do this is to act as if you already have the next position above the one you have now. Dress like it, talk like it, and carry yourself as if you have already achieved the next rung on the company ladder. Upper management will notice your new professionalism, and you will be in the spotlight for a brand new leadership career.

Support Upper Management

Always support the decisions and actions of management. When others are complaining and rebelling, realize that there are reasons for the changes and decisions that lower level employees may not be aware of. Be vocal and visible in your support and defend your company’s position.

Practice Leadership Traits

Do not be judgmental or arrogant as a co-worker or supervisor. Neither of these have any place in a true leader’s daily life. A real leader will be empathetic, caring, calm. understanding, and be open to new ideas. Practice these traits even when you feel frustrated and overwhelmed.

Read Biographies, Psychology, and Self-Help Books

Become an avid reader of leadership authors such as Anthony Robbins, Steven Covey, and Dale Carnegie. Study psychology so you can understand why some individuals think they way they do. Biographies of great leaders can be enlightening and educational.

Choose a Mentor

Select a professional whom you can emulate. This person can be someone you know and trust or can be a figurehead that you can follow from afar. It can even be someone who is no longer alive or is in your history books. Study that individual and how he treated employees and other individuals to get a true feel for what being a great leader is all about.

If you take this path, it won’t be long before you get noticed by the higher-ups. These are also excellent steps to follow if you own your own business and want to be an effective and productive supervisor or manager.

Habits to Get You Into the C-Suite

You can overcome significant barriers to job advancement by simply practicing healthy thought and behavior patterns. These habits are practiced by leading Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) throughout the business world, and following their example can help you follow their success.

Be Part of the Team

CEOs are leaders, and leaders are part of the team. Start being a team player by understanding how your specific job is related to the product or service your company provides. This may lead you to think of ways your job could be done better. Second, promote the culture of the workplace, even if you see things that could be better. Volunteer for company charity events and participate in company outings.

Communication is a part of every work culture, so be sure to practice it. Remember, no workplace is perfect. Griping and complaining are negative practices that can prevent you from seeing a way to make things better, or from encouraging others. If someone starts griping to you, listen politely while looking for a way you can help in the situation. Unfortunately, some people just love to complain. Don’t be a party to this. It damages the culture and the company.

Practice Leadership Skills

Refusing to be drawn into a negative conversation is leadership because it demonstrates to everyone how to get out of these situations. Look for other ways to practice leadership skills, such as by setting goals for yourself. Then encourage others to set and pursue their own goals, and try to find some way to contribute to their success.

If you have management responsibilities, there is a balance to be struck when using this approach. Good leaders allow team members to make their own decisions on some details of the job. After all, thinking of ways to do a job better is one of the first attributes of CEO thinking, and leadership means building this skill in others.

Take a Long View

Every business and every job has its bad days. Don’t get ruffled by them. Focus on the long-term prospects for your job and the business. Encourage this attitude in those around you, primarily by demonstrating it.

This is so important that if you can’t do it you should move on to a new job. CEOs believe in their jobs, so if you don’t see a long-term future it is time to move on to somewhere else.

Being CEO is Not Easy: Here’s Why

It more than likely goes without saying, but being the Chief Executive Officer of a company is no easy task. What’s more important to talk about is why. Not many people know exactly what it takes to be a CEO or what makes it such a hard job. We have a general understanding that the title comes with a lot of responsibility, but here are a few of the difficult parts of the job.

CEOs have to take the biggest risks

As CEO, you’re the head risk taker. It’s your job to steer the company in an innovative and explosive growth directions. More often than not, that involved taking quite a big risk. There’s no great reward without a substantial risk. This can be a taxing part of the job, especially when taking a risk falls up short.

Earning Respect of All Employees

Earning the respect of an entire company is not an easy task. Plus, you have to give respect to get it back. To add on another layer of difficulty, earning that respect also requires you to prove every day why you are fit to be CEO. Listening to the ideas and concerns of others is the final piece of the puzzle. Respect is much easier to earn when your employees know you spend the time listening to them and value what they have to say.

Have to Communicate Well

Communication is one of the biggest jobs of a CEO. You must communicate effectively with the board and also be able to turn around and communicate that same information to the rest of the company. As the face of a business, CEOs are also tasked with communicating with consumers. This could be at the release of a new product or responding to issues. No matter what way you look at it, communicating well is a pivotal and difficult part of the job.

CEOs Determine and Set Work Culture

As we know, work culture is extremely important to every office. It can change the landscape of the office and the quality of work completed by employees. It’s the CEOs job to effectively determine what the company culture looks like and begins to put it in motion. If the CEO doesn’t live the culture and help push it forward, it will never get off the ground.

What Are the Responsibilities of a CEO?

Most people understand that there’s a ton of work that goes into being a CEO, but many don’t actually know what that work looks like. There’s a multitude of responsibilities that fall under the care of a company’s Chief Executive Officer. They range in everything from leadership to marketing. There is not a corner of the business that does not include some kind of input from the CEO. In order to provide a better understanding of the role, here are a few of the most common responsibilities.

Providing a sense of direction

The CEO is essentially the company’s compass. They create the vision for the company and then set things in motion to implement them. In conjunction with the company’s direction, a CEO must develop the strategy and consider how the overall operations will be impacted because of it.

Leading the Executive Team

All CEOs are required to play a part in building – and leading – the executive team. The CEO is the manager of the executives and delegates work according to their designated job duties. The CEO is there to provide direction, develop their skills, and vet any new additions to the team. It’s a huge job, but it’s vital to the success. The leadership team is the backbone of the company, so the CEO has a huge responsibility in making sure they are the best people for the job.

Liaison between Board and Company

The CEO is the sole liaison between the board and the company. When appropriate the CEO will seek out the board for advice and guidance. From there, they will take that information and directly apply it to the company. The board is there to assist the CEO and also make sure that the company is headed in the direction it should be.
Being the Chief Executive Officer of a company is not easy job, but it is extremely important. The CEO can lead a company to greatness or be the reason for its downfall. As the head of the leadership team, they are the big thinker, dreamer, and decision maker. They must always act in the best interest of the company and sometimes make the hard decisions that no one else wants to make. The job is extremely rewarding given all the hard work that goes into it.

How to be an Effective CEO

Leadership is difficult. As a leader, every day is different, and as the fulcrum of a business, you’ll quickly learn to think on your feet or fall behind. Taking on CEO responsibilities is not for the faint of heart, but anybody with the mettle to last will gain a new perspective on their life and on their work. There’s no magic bullet for being an effective CEO, but there are certainly a few things you can do to improve your leadership of a company.

Honesty

If you want to stay as a leader, you need to keep your credibility. It’s easy to go into a CEO role determined to be as open and transparent with your employees and stakeholders as possible. Similarly, it’s always encouraging to share the positive progress that your business is making.

More difficult, however, is dealing with hardships or setbacks. Not wanting to be the bearer of bad news, many CEOs twist facts or simply omit any information indicating that a business is going through a rough time. To be an effective CEO, address problems and try to present solutions. You don’t need to have all of the answers, but being upfront about it can save you from mistrust and frustration later on.

Expertise

Educate yourself on the industry that you work in. This may seem obvious, but changing trends in technology can lead to disruption and potentially offset your business. Always be on the lookout for potential change, and try to learn as much as you can.

Know your business. Know your competitive advantage. Know your competitors. Know your industry, inside and out. Be a font of knowledge for your company to look to.

Efficiency

Being a CEO means doing more work to keep a company moving forward. With only a certain number of hours in the day, you’re inevitably limited in what you can accomplish. Improve your productivity by minimizing time-wasting meetings, stay off your email as much as possible, and keep your workspace free of distractions.

Keeping a well-updated calendar is also critical when it comes to segmenting your day. Know how to prioritize, as CEOs don’t have the leeway to “just wing it.”

Delegation

You may be in charge as a CEO, but that doesn’t make you a superhero capable of solving all of the company’s problems. Instead, surround yourself with competent individuals you trust to do their jobs well, and give them responsibilities of their own to fulfill. You may find that your business runs very well without the need for micromanagement.

Additionally, empower them to make their own decisions. As CEO, you should not need for every decision to flow through you; this only wastes your time and the company’s time. It’s a case of mutual trust for both you and your employees.

Culture

“Culture trumps everything” is a common phrase said by many professionals these days, and for good reason. Creating a strong office culture in which employees feel happy and comfortable leads to greater productivity and more open exchange of ideas.

Gain the trust of your employees and spend time with them. Learn what they enjoy and don’t enjoy about their jobs, and adjust office culture accordingly. Keep your employees’ needs in mind and they will be more committed to the company’s mission.

Traits All Great CEOs Share

With any business, it’s vital that CEOs focus on being effective leaders and avoid letting the desire for more profit overshadow their talent for leadership. To be a successful CEO, there are certain traits that are imperative to possess in order to lead the company and work toward its future success. Without these vital traits, a CEO may be able to hold the position, but he won’t be considered one of the “great” CEOs.

They are self-aware

Even though you’ve made it to the top of the company, it doesn’t mean you’re infallible. Great CEOs know that they sometimes make mistakes and understand their own weaknesses (as well as their strengths!). Knowing where they do and do not excel allows a CEO to delegate tasks as necessary. Through being self-aware, a CEO can also handle constructive criticism and improve in different areas.

They are optimistic

A negative attitude can bring the entire company down, so it’s important that a CEO displays optimism, even if there are some issues. Keeping a positive attitude and showing that optimism to employees will encourage them to look on the bright side and work toward finding a solution, instead of unproductively worrying about a problem.

They are realistic

Just as optimism is important, so is being realistic. Great CEOs know what to expect from their employees and know what is too much to ask. A company doesn’t become successful overnight and issues cannot be immediately resolved, so a CEO must know what a realistic timeline is for the business, as well as what expectations she should have for the business, given its resources.

They care

One of the most important traits a person can have in any position is showing others that they care. When a CEO is genuinely interested in his employees and concerned about their well-being, it translates into him valuing the company. This sense of value often inspires employees to work better. The best way to show you care is listening to people when they talk and making an effort to sincerely understand what they’re saying.

They are risk-takers

Generally, risk is involved if you want a business to show serious growth. CEOs understand the importance of risk-taking, but also know how much risk is appropriate for their individual business. Taking unnecessary risks is bad and can endanger the company.

They are learners

Great CEOs are always learning. Whether it’s how to better work with employees or developing a new skill through classes or a conference, truly fantastic CEOs make a point to keep learning throughout their professional careers. You can always learn something new and you’d be surprised what skills might benefit your career.