Are you top management?
Great CEOs have personality characteristics that are relatively
rare except in top management positions.
So the question
becomes, is it the management position that develops the
personality characteristics, or do these CEOs simply bring such
characteristics to the job. We think the latter. No
sudden management personality overtakes those who are promoted or
achieve it on their own; attitude begets success, not vice
versa. Do you have what it takes to be top management?
Five Defining Characteristics of Great CEOs
by: Jan B. King
1. Personal insight - Great CEOs are great leaders. They know
themselves and what they stand for. They have been called on all
their lives as problem solvers because others know them to be fair
and impartial. People respect their opinions and look to them for
guidance. Great CEOs are mature as people. They can suffer
disappointment more gracefully than others and give others credit
for their achievements.
They donít come in the office door yelling
for something they need. They arenít as concerned about titles or
power structures as they are about the welfare of those who work at
the company. They are trustworthy because theyíve always been
honest with people and have earned that trust.
They care about
families, and they know that people are more important than dollars
and express it in their actions every day. Finally, great CEOs seek
out feedback. They want to know how others see them so that they can
understand themselves better and continue to grow as people.
also want feedback about the company from an employee perspective,
and they use surveys as a starting point for creating a dialogue to
make things better.
2. Resourcefulness - Great CEOs seem to have boundless energy.
They come to work with the greatest enthusiasm. Even when they
donít feel like it, they find ways to reenergize themselves and
come in ready to go.
They take good care of themselves physically
and emotionally so that they can be there for the employees and the
needs of the company. They give much more than they take every day.
They donít give up. If the wall is too high, they back down and
find another way around. They donít blame, but they do look for
solutions to problems so that those problems are less likely to
3. Courage - The CEO has one of the worldís toughest jobs. No
matter how tough it was to start the company, itís even harder to
keep it going and growing. A CEO must decide what he or she stands
for and do what is right, all the time.
It takes courage to fire the
salesperson responsible for the companyís biggest, most lucrative
account when that same salesperson drives a company car drunk and
causes an accident.
There will be many times when CEOs will want to
smooth over something that requires decisive action because of the
potential consequences or because they just canít take on one more
challenge at the moment. However, CEOs who exercise poor moral
judgment will lose their personal integrity with all of their
4. Willingness to look at risk -
A great CEO isnít afraid to
look at the downside and answer the hard questions he or she hopes
will never become a reality. The CEO needs a backup planóone that
is designed by looking at the companyís worst-case scenarios.
plan addresses questions such as: What if your industry experiences
a slump? What if new governmental regulations affect your business?
What if you lose the client that accounts for 50 percent of your
sales? Preparing yourself and your company for these eventualities
may be the difference between a tough year or two and bankruptcy.
you are in business for 20 years, some of your worst-case scenarios
will probably happen. The key is to be ready and able to take
immediate action to reduce the loss.
5. Foresight - It seems some CEOs have an uncanny ability to
predict the future. They may have unusual insights into their
particular markets, and luck may play a part as well. In addition,
they are prepared to create their own luck by cultivating an ability
to see opportunities for their company and to make the deals that
convert those opportunities into realities.
Some things that may
seem like amazing foresight are actually the result of the hard work
and discipline it takes to constantly look forward to build a
successful company. Great CEOs must also constantly develop new
products to build and retain a customer base.
Foresight is also the
ability to hire and retain the right people, looking ahead toward
the growth of the company. Finally, over time, each company must
develop a steady source of business during both good economic times
and bad, because there are sure to be bad economic times during the
life of a business.