Qualities of a Great CEO

When people hear the word “CEO”, some imagine the man/woman who is always telling people what to do and take a big check home every month while paying almost nothing to their employees while others remember great visionaries like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk.

Truth is, city hall and register any business and call yourself a CEO. You can even get a business card with a big CEO on it, and call yourself a CEO.

But are you a great CEO like Jobs or Musk? No, not even close. Becoming a great CEO takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

You will only be a great CEO when others call you a CEO. At that point you have proven that you have the skills and the mentality of a great CEO.

Before you become a great CEO, you have to act, behave, walk, talk, and think like a CEO.

Patrick Bet-David

So let’s talk about the qualities CEO’s must have in order to become great.

1 – Know How to Manage Their Ego

When you register your company you feel great, it’s the beginning of an exciting journey. Then you start hiring people and after a while you start hearing compliments. People start telling how great you are and that you do everything right. Most of those compliments are BS and you should be aware of that. Don’t take those complement as if the universe is telling you that everything is gonna go fine for you, there is still a lot of improving. Don’t let your ego blind you.

2 – Be Humble

People have different personalities, you need to have true humility to make these people work together. Humility brings people together. Actually care about people and their opinions. People are the most important aspect of any business, treat your people well, don’t look down at anyone.

3 – Have a Greater Purpose

Sure, everyone wants so see the bank account grow from the hundreds to the millions and maybe even billions, But great CEOs are looking for more than that. They want to leave a mark in the world. Elon Musk wants to get rid of combustion vehicles, so he started Tesla. He wants to go to space, so he started SpaceX.

Although Elon is an extreme case, he should be an inspiration to every entrepreneur.

4 – Accept Contradictions

As in life, business is not always black and white. There are very few absolute truths. Some say that you have to work hard to be successful, other’s say you have to work smart. But probably a mix of both is the best solution. Maybe you first have to work smart and develop systems where you can work hard knowing you’re doing the right thing because you planed ahead.

Some say milk is good for your health but a high percentage of people are lactose intolerant.

Figure out what truths work you, don’t blindly follow popular sayings.

5 – Think outside the box

Usually there’s more than one way of doing something. If there’s a goal and a strategy to accomplish it, but that strategy will require a too much time and/or money, than it’s probably a good idea to find another solution.
For example, if you have zero experience in coding, but you need a website and a mobile app for your business, you have two ways to solve the problem. You can learn how to code everything yourself and save money but spend years doing it, or you can contact someone (like me) to handle the IT stuff while you focus on the business and sales. There will be an investment at first but you will be in business a lot quicker and save a lot of time. And if you don’t have the money you can find someone to invest in your idea, this way you don’t have to spend time learning how to code and you don’t need the money to start, you just have to find someone with money that wants to invest in your idea.

6 – Have a Backbone

Great CEO’s need to stand for what they believe in, have the courage to respectfully speak up their minds and don’t take other people’s BS.

7 – Ask the Right Questions and Get Feedback

Typically when CEOs don’t know something they don’t ask questions because they think it will hurt their reputation. But in fact great CEO’s learned that asking questions is extremely important in order to understand what’s the problems that the company is facing and this also means getting feedback from employees and customers.
Asking the right questions can completely change the outcome of the company.

8 – Ability to learn from the past

A CEO is a human being just like everyone else and not some perfect entity that will never make a mistake. But we all have the ability to learn from these mistakes and avoid them in the future. We just need the courage to recognise it was a mistake and act on it.

A person who makes few mistakes makes little progress.

Bryant McGill

9 -Always Raise Standards

A lot of people feel uncomfortable working around great CEO’s because they are always raising standards. Whenever an employee thinks they are doing great, and they can start wing it, the CEO asks for more. The CEO can never be satisfied and has to motivate people to do better than yesterday.

10 – Build Strong Alliances

In 1997 Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy and Steve Jobs turned to his “mortal enemy” Bill Gates to help save Apple. Bill agreed to help thanks to that alliance both Apple and Microsoft are worth so much more these days.
Building strong Alliances at the right times is crucial.

11 – Know Your Weaknesses

When you’re first starting you have to do everything by yourself, but eventually you’re going to hire people do some of the work. And at that time it’s important that you know what you know and know what you don’t know. For example, If you’re a developer and you’re starting your IT company, and you don’t know all the social media tricks to build your presence online, it’s probably a better idea to hire someone to do that for you and focus on what you are good at.

Hire people to do the stuff you are not good at.

12 – Rally The Troops

A great CEO knows how to share the company’s vision and empower people to follow that vision and work together for the greater good. If the company wins, everyone wins. So it’s very important for a company to hire people whose culture is aligned with the company’s so that when it’s time to GO everyone GOES to the same direction.

No one becomes a great CEO overnight it’s only natural to make a lot of mistakes, but’s it’s always important to see those mistakes as a step forward. Every time you make a mistake you learn something and that’s always a step forward.

What skills are you good at and where can you improve/delegate? Think about it and tell me in the comments below.

See you next time.

Further readings:
Are you Entrepreneur Material?
Corporate Titles and Their Roles.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

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