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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 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.