10 Commandments of the CEO Role

Wondering if you’ve got what it takes to obtain or maintain the position of CEO? Any Google search for ‘traits of a great CEO’ will turn up hundreds, if not thousands, of results. Yet, it’s easy to see that the most reliable sources among them tend to have 6–10 themes, if you will, to the rules the best CEOs tend to live by.
It’s reasonable then, to surmise that keeping strict adherence to these rules as your very own “10 Commandments” of the position will increase the odds of your success.

  1. Know thyself. Being self-aware is critical in any professional position, but especially that of CEO. You must know your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your team, so responsibilities and processes are assigned in the most effective and efficient manner.
  2. Let credibility be thy guide. Honesty, integrity, and transparency are the qualities that earn respect and loyalty. When you don’t have them, you lose credibility, and everything goes downhill from there.
  3. Work hard. The work shouldn’t stop when you reach the top. Your love for the organization and its mission/vision should inspire you with the desire to continue working at your optimal output.
  4. Leverage strengths in others. While working hard is imperative, it’s also just as important to leverage the strengths in others so you can delegate as needed. People want to feel needed, and especially like it they are recognized for the things they are good at. Everybody working hard at what they are good at is a great recipe for an efficient, effective organization.
  5. Set an example. Your people want a leader who does as he says. They want a person who sets an example of what’s expected and continues to epitomize those expectations daily. Real leaders have it, and that’s why they have followers.
  6. Understand thy market and audience. Don’t just read the reports — get out and get to know the customers. Get to know your employees who are in front of those customers regularly and glean whatever insight you possibly can. Growth doesn’t happen because of a dictator behind a desk — it happens in the organizations that engage their customers and anticipate changes in trends and needs.
  7. Be risk-aware. Understanding the risks that face your organization is beneficial not only for avoidance, but also in making informed decisions about which risks may be good to assume.
  8. Care for others. Be more than a Be someone who understands others and is sensitive to their needs. Making personal connections with employees makes a world of difference in on-the-job performance.
  9. Admit shortcomings and wrongdoings. No one wants to work for a person who makes no mistakes and always seems to be pointing fingers. Real people error, and those who admit it and share the learning experience with others so they can benefit as well tend to have a more loyal and trusting following.
  10. Have passion. The work should never become so tough or mired that you forget why you wanted the position or why the organization’s vision was crafted in the first place. Step away, take more time to be creative, connect with others, and get back on track. Passion is critical for true success as a CEO.

Carl is a business psychologist and leadership development expert who focuses on the development of high performance leaders. www.leadershipconsulting.com

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