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.

What it takes to be a C-Level Executive

There are many paths to make it into the C-Suite. All of them take an immense amount of ambition, hard work, and leadership skills. Becoming a C-Level executive is every bit as tough as you would think and for good reason. Those who have made their way into top leadership have all worked extremely hard to get there. Each individual’s determination and efforts got them to where they are, but each and every one of them possessed a certain set of skills. Some of these skills are listed below. If you aspire to entering top leadership of a company, see if you have some of these very skills within you.

Bridge Building

Working at the top of the leadership team requires quite a bit of bridge building in order to be successful. Managing business relationships requires a significant understand of forming and maintaining them. You have to build the bridge in order to form new business opportunities. Once you have built the bridge, the connection is there for both parties to work together and achieve common goals.


Having a vast knowledge base to draw from is another essential trait to possess. In order to lead a company, you have to know the industry and the business inside out. This positions you to speak from authority to investors, new hires, and every person who comes in contact with your company. People are going to look to you for answers, so it’s very important to be equipped with the knowledge to provide answers and solutions.


Accepting a C-Level position also requires a fair amount of natural abilities. The innate talent and intuition of leadership is hard to come by. All successful C-Level executives have a bit of leadership engrained into their DNA. It’s who they are – natural born leaders. Obviously, this drive and talent are not the only thing one needs, but it is the magic spark that sets these individuals apart from the pack.

People Management

Finally, people management is another key skill needed to break into the C-suite. When taking on a role in top leadership, that inevitably comes with the responsibility over a large group of people. Having excellent people management skills is vital to your success within top leadership. You’ll inevitably have to navigate difficult situations, make tough calls, and oversee hiring. In all of these situations, your people management skills will be the foundation of how you navigate them.