3 Traits of a Great CEO


If you have ever been in the cockpit of an airplane, you know that the many tools a pilot needs are clearly and meticulously arranged. The speedometer, altimeter, and GPS are right in front of him, exactly where they need to be. A pilot knows precisely what he has to do and when he has to do it. If things ever go awry, he can rely on this system of organization.  A CEO, as the “pilot” of his company, needs the employ the same system of organization. If your instruments (financial statements, marketing reports, etc,) are missing or miscalculated, you can’t make the right decisions. In addition, your time, your most precious resource, should be spent on the important stuff, especially when it is getting hectic.  When things inevitably go wrong, you can trust that your system of organization will help you solve the problem.

CEOs too, like great generals, need to inspire their “troops.”

Walks the Walk, Talks the Talk

One of the reasons George Washington was so revered by his soldiers was because he would fearless lead them into battle. Unlike other generals, he was on the front lines, leading the charge. CEOs too, like great generals, need to inspire their “troops.” They need to model the work ethic, attitude, and passion they hope to see in their employees. If the boss demands his workers should be responsible and diligent, he needs to model that behavior. Nothing inspires people like seeing their leader working just as hard, if not harder, than them. Not only will this yield inspiration, but respect as well. When your employees see how invested you are in the enterprise’s success, they will undoubtedly gain respect for you. When you actually “walk the walk” you become a much more effective leader.

Responds Well to Criticism

As many CEOs know too well, you can never be perfect. You constantly have to make decisions and any decision you make will inevitably be criticized. A big mistake is never listening to complaints and detractions. Too often, we take criticism to personally. John Wooden, the legendary college basketball coach, taught that “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one“ The best CEOs listen to their detractors and reanalyze their decisions. You should not bend to the will of anyone, but instead realize you are not infallible. Take criticism, especially constructive criticism, as an opportunity to better yourself and the decisions you make. This way, you will constantly grow and improve.

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