CEO Mindset: Four Skills of an Effective CEO

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The role of a CEO in an organisation is complex and with this complexity comes responsibilities that require certain critical skills apart from technical expertise. Effective CEOs (or those who intend to be) understand that it is not enough to be knowledgeable about concepts and leadership models. Possessing a mix of competencies such as relationship, creative, social and intellectual skills is vital for success.

Realistically, CEOs cannot possess all of these skills, but they can become so conversant with their strengths and weaknesses that they can make up for their shortcomings by hiring other leaders who possess skills that complement their own.

Opinions differ on which skills are more important but here are four that are required of every CEO:

Spotting talent: The ability to find valuable talent is a crucial capability that today’s CEOs must possess. It takes an effective leader to identify positive qualities and skills in others, acknowledge these skills, recruit such talents on their team and allow them to shine. A CEO is as capable as the people he picks to work on his team

Identifying strengths: It is not enough to be able to discover talent. Effective CEOs go the extra mile by studying their team members, identifying each individual’s unique abilities (strengths and weaknesses) and fully maximising those strengths. Understanding the nuances of their direct reports’ personalities helps the CEO to find tailored approaches to issues, makes employees accountable and stimulates everyone towards optimal performance

Creating: The effective CEO deploys imaginations and storytelling to create visions in line with their organisation’s mission and in order to achieve meaningful change. Also, in the CEO’s ability to create lies the power to inspire. As they present their vision before the team, others are inspired to suggest ways of bringing this vision to life. By exhibiting this skill, the CEO allows innovation and execution to thrive simultaneously.

Being human: CEOs who are available to listen to employees and customers have a better shot at personal and organisational growth. The top-down, authoritative approach to leadership is gradually waning in popularity among today’s leaders, who are aware of the value in building and sustaining relationships within and outside the organisation. Some of the ways a CEO can exhibit this skill is by being open to employees’ suggestions regardless of their level, being sympathetic to their needs, and coaching them occasionally.