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Monday, October 5, 2009

CEO Qualities

  • Full form of CEO is Chief Executive Officer.
  • He reports to the Board of Directors of the company.
  • He is the highest ranking officer in the company, next to Board of Directors.
  • In some companies, Chairman of the board and CEO are the same. In other companies, they are two different persons.
Roles of Today’s CEO
  • Roles of CEOs are becoming a vast and critical subject in the realm of management with lots of potential for further research due to severe global competitions, unwieldy growth and interdependency, greater awareness and expectations on the parts of customers and stake holders (including share holders) and much sharper public eye of surveillance over the corporations.
  • Accelerated rate of change and its enormity compel CEOs not to make mistakes on one hand and on the other, become more effective and more precise.
  • CEO is becoming more and more accountable not only for the short term impact he creates but also for the long term implications even after he has long gone. CEO should be able to shape up the future of the company.
  • He is supposed to provide a body and character to the organization he leads and help sustain them in great shape and spirit. Also refer: (Organizational Culture)
  • CEO has to give directions to all the organizational actions and be responsible for the overall results.
  • He has to set a tone to build up an ethically and legally sound organization and oversee that it remains so all the time. Wrong decisions and actions of CEOs can harm a large body of humanity these days, in several countries, at the same time (example: the recession of 2008-2010).
  • Putting it all together, CEO should provide the right kind of leadership to lead the organization strategically, commercially, morally and people-wise and bring about the right balance among all of them.
  • Further thinking on the roles of CEOs of today’s organizations gives us some hint that CEOs should not only shape up their organizations but they can also impact a great deal on shaping up the countries too.
Qualities and Competencies to Become Successful CEO
  • Start thinking and behaving like a CEO at whatever level you are at present. Everyone is really a CEO of his own job. If he starts handling his job the way a CEO handles the corporation, he shows a definite potential of a future CEO of a company. Refer: (Ownership on Job), (Genuine Professional)
  • CEO should have the competency of looking at the “whole”: outside of the company and inside of the company. He should be able to assimilate and link together the entire factors of business: people, economy, governments, markets, customers, employees, technology, business associates and the lot. CEO’s assumptions or paradigms about each of these factors should be correct; otherwise there would surely be problem(s) for the company in the future.
  • CEO should have a great vision. He should be able to foresee what is good for the organization and what is not and organize the necessary decisions and actions. He should be able to ask questions like what the company’s business should be and what it should not be and then, should be able to find the right answers.
  • CEO has to be very courageous. Having envisioned the changes needed, he should have sufficient guts to lead those changes.
  • CEO should have the competencies to uphold high standards of ethics even under trying times.
  • CEO should have competency of keeping his organization clean legally, always on the right side of the law. Refer: (Corporate Governance)
  • CEO cannot just have only result orientation. Equally important is his process orientation. The two together set tone for long term as well as short term successes.
  • CEO should be great in strategic planning and goal setting. Setting up of the strategies and goals for the organization gives the road maps, mile stones and destinations as an effective guide to its people. Also refer: (Strategic Management) and (Goal/Target Setting)
  • CEO should be able to communicate with all sorts of people everywhere, effectively. It includes his convincing and influencing abilities. It includes his keen listening abilities and interpersonal relations. It includes his consensus and team building skills.
  • CEO should be good in his analysis, judgments, decision making and firmness.
  • CEO should have great eyes for the talents.
  • On the whole, CEO should possess excellent leadership qualities. Refer: (Leadership)
Most Essential Leadership Qualities

CEO is in effect the leader of an organization and so, he must have all the leadership qualities. These qualities are given below:
  • Professional knowledge
  • Professional competence
  • Ability to make up your mind and take a decision; then take full responsibility
  • An act of omission is worse than an act of commission
  • Absolute justice and impartiality
  • Moral courage
  • Ability to distinguish right from wrong
  • Physical courage
  • Loyalty- give it, then expect it
  • Discipline- code of conduct to live in society
  • Character- knowing what we really are
Add to These Most Important Leadership Qualities, Some More Leadership Qualities Mentioned Below
  • Have High integrity- trusted
  • Become a visionary- dream a lot, dream things of significance (small or big is immaterial)
  • Be aware of realities of the real world- don't be naive
  • Business acumen
  • Build customer touch. Refer: (Customer Orientation)
  • Believe in change and lead change- be flexible, create flexibility all around
  • Having created vision, develop leaders at different levels who see a sense in your vision and will give it a shape
  • Emphasize implementation- emphasize results through effective and ethical processes
  • Promote excellence- without any compromises
  • Practice boundaryless behavior in every aspect- encourage others to follow the same
  • Think global- the entire world is the play field. Refer: (Global Mindset)
  • Encourage creativity and innovation- in every aspect of life
  • Carry and spread infectious enthusiasm
  • Unleash the energy of colleagues- make ordinary people perform extraordinarily
  • Become a great team builder and team worker
  • Develop self confidence with humility- sense of humor
  • Be an open communicator- good listener. Refer: (Listening)
  • Believe and practice lean- reduce and eliminate all kinds of fat, non-value adding stuff and waste of all kinds everywhere. Refer: (Lean Enterprise)
  • Do use effective technology- don't shy away from it
  • CEO is a powerful entity of an organization. He has enormous powers to make or break the organization, its value structure, its products and services, its people and its customers. Use the powers to make and not break.
  • Being powerful does not make CEO a god. So, do not act god or act like a god. Act like a sensible CEO.
Last but Not the Least: Demonstrate Compassion

Develop a strong understanding that your organization is made up of people- the human beings who may suffer, who may have pains just like what you too can experience. Employees at different levels may fall terminally sick due to illness like cancer, they may meet untimely death causing immense hardships to their families, and they may meet other kinds of tragedies. In all such and similar situations, bend the rules in favor of your employees making things easier for them. That's like being an excellent CEO rather than being a stiff necked, rule bound, rigid, super boss of the organization.

Please remember that you are the leader of the people who work for you. Leaders have to work on systems and not in them. CEOs should not be enslaved by the systems. 

(You may like to read a case study on "what the top bosses should not be". Its title is "Don't be an emotional fool, it's a ruthless world" and you can read it at this link:

For More Guidance, Assistance, Training and Consultation


Training on "Roles, Qualities and Competencies of Twenty First Century CEOs" is provided by Prodcons Group's Mr Shyam Bhatawdekar and/or Dr (Mrs) Kalpana Bhatawdekar, eminent business leaders, management gurus and management consultants, with distinction of having trained over 150,000 people from around 250 organizations.

Also refer: (Prodcons Group), (Training Programs by Prodcons Group), (Productivity Consultants)

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