Saul Mishkin

Top 5 Most Important Characteristics of a CEO

CEOs are often expected to wear a number of different hats. This requires them to possess a wide-ranging skill set in order to successfully meet the demands of their role. Although they need to have a number of traits to be successful, here is a look at the top five most important characteristics of a CEO.

Decisive. Time is an incredibly valuable commodity and if too much time is spent thinking about decisions and going back and forth it can be wasteful. Instead, being a CEO means taking in information, weighing the risks and rewards and making a firm decision instead of wavering back and forth. While this will sometimes mean needing to take calculated risks, it is important to stand behind what you decide and follow through with the decision.  

Adaptive. While it is incredibly valuable to be decisive, it is also paramount to be adaptive with your decisions. Strong CEOs take in information, process this information, make calculated decisions, and then are prepared to make adjustments as new information is acquired. Rather than wait to make decisions until all possible information is on hand, adaptive CEOs make decisions with the information they have now and then adapt to new systems or processes when new information is received.    

Engaging. Leading a business requires interacting with a number of people who often will have competing interests. CEOs need to be engaging with a wide range of people to encourage different teams of people to collaborate for the greater good of the company.

Communicator. CEOs need to be able to effectively communicate with their staff, their clients, their shareholders, the public and anyone else with a vested interest in the company. While this certainly includes being able to communicate and inspire people to action and communicate the vision of the company, it also includes being able to listen well and being approachable. Sometimes being a strong communicator means you stop talking and simply listen. Listening with empathy can help you understand the needs of the various people connected to the company. Regardless of whether they have a success to celebrate or a problem to solve, your team needs to feel confident there is open communication with their leader. Without this approachability situations can be left unresolved and successes aren’t repeated. 

Authentic. People are more inclined to follow someone they feel is genuine and authentic. Leading with authenticity inspires others to join you in moving toward the desired future. Authenticity also inspires loyalty which helps your company in the long run. 

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