It's not easy being a CEO. Whether you're in charge of a small business that you built, or were appointed CEO to an existing company, the success of that venture is largely dependent on you as the CEO. Even if someone else makes a mistake, at the end of the day it all trickles up to the CEO but you can use these tips, tools, and suggestions to keep everything running smoothly, and growing too. We'll also take a look at what to do when things go wrong.
Skills to Have as a CEO
We could go on forever about the skills that are important for a CEO to possess, but for every example there will certainly be people who break the mold and have found success without that particular skill. With that in mind, here are some skills that are near-universally important for a CEO to work on.
Negotiation Skills: Being able to negotiate effectively is one of the absolute most important skills for any successful CEO to have. Negotiations take place daily, and not always in ways you would expect. There's more to negotiations than sitting down in a board room and trying to carve out the best deal. Negotiations can take place between you and employees, competitors, suppliers, shareholders, customers, and the list goes on and on. Great negotiators understand the idea of engaging in an exchange, it's a game of give and take.
Delegating & Leadership: Being able to find the right people for the job, and effectively guiding them towards successfully completing all tasks are very important skills to have. Depending on the size of the business, you won't be coming into contact with every single employee – but you will know their managers and supervisors, and you'll have to trust that you've got a solid team in place.
Macro-Management: At a certain point, it can be hard for some CEOs to “let go” of the small, day-to-day types of things and to focus on the big picture but it's essential. Let each department or team deal with their day-to-day issues, so that you can focus on the overall success of the business.
Taking Action: Plans and strategies are great but they require the courage to take action on them. This is what sets a lot of successful people apart from those who don't make it, is just going out there and trying to make things happen without being paralyzed by fear.
What To Do When Things Go Wrong
It's never easy to face angry shareholders. As the CEO, you're the one who has to answer to them because no matter what mistake was made, it can be traced up the line to you in one way or another, that's just part of the job. If the company isn't doing so well, but you are still taking home a big paycheck, you'll have some explaining to do.
- 1. Explain the situation and yourself.
- 2. Provide some back-story and context.
- 3. Don't act dismissive of any shareholder's concerns.
- 4. Seek out support from allies.
- 5. Make concessions. Should you give back some of your pay? Re-evaluate moving forward?
- 6. Get out there and be seen, visit your employees, boost morale.
- 7. Get yourself in the good graces of the board of directors.
- 8. Weather the storm, and remind them why you have the job in the first place.
Getting out ahead of things can also help to diffuse a lot of situations. If you know that the company is having a rough quarter, and you also know that you're due to exercise some very lucrative stock options that will boost your overall compensation, it can't hurt to be upfront about this rather than having angry and resentful shareholders bring it to light. This allows you to put everything into context so that people aren't automatically assuming the worst and getting too upset.
Mary Ann Keeling is a freelance writer and business consultant who loves sharing her insights on the latest business opportunities. With a bit of leadership and negotiation skills from scotwork.com.au CEO`s can achieve all important career goals they wish to pursue.