It’s time to make the jump. You’ve put in your time in management, even at the upper level, and you know it’s your turn to see your name stenciled on that ultimate door. You want your turn in the CEO chair. You feel ready, but are you? Really? Stop wondering. While every job is different and every management position requires different nuanced approaches, there are a few core skills every CEO needs to succeed.
Know how to BE in charge rather than ACT in charge. Yes, the buck stops with you, but if you have to keep saying that, you’re not the real boss. This metric begins and ends with the intention and ability to take responsibility. That means you understand what your level of responsibility is and you build your workday around embracing and delivering on that responsibility. Further, you must listen to others, not just to overrule them, but to allow their wisdom to contribute to your collective success. CEO isn’t a “my way or the highway” position, it’s the top of what should be a collaborative pyramid. Sure, it’s your head the rolls when things go bad, but you don’t create all the success any more than you’re actually responsible for all the failure.
Know what to change and what to emulate. Any time there’s a change of power, the culture of the business changes slightly. That’s simply due to differences in people. Everything from competency to personality to leadership style will change the Way Things Go at your business. The key competency here is in knowing what to change and what needs to stay the same. Some elements of company culture are more important than you … forgetting that has been the demise of many CEOs before you.
A good CEO knows how to build relationships, both with his key people and between members of his staff or team. If your people are at each other’s throats or if trust is non-existent on your team, it might make for an exciting, competitive environment … but it won’t likely be a healthy one. Sooner or later your people will need to work together to accomplish something that needs doing, and it sure helps when you have plenty of practice and genuine trust.
Finally, you need to understand how to get more out of your assets as well as your people. Change should not be followed by status quo. If you don’t know how to get the same people to produce more or better, and you don’t know how to get more results from the same supplies, you need to step up that skillset.
So, how did you do? Did you check off all the competencies on the list? Are you lacking in any areas? How do you plan to address these weak areas?
Elie Hirschfeld is a real estate developer from NYC.
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