Born to be a CEO
As a CEO myself when I look at investing in another company, I look at the current leadership and try and ascertain the ability of the CEO or a prospective CEO as my role on the board is often advisory.
Let me start by dispelling the myth that great CEOs are born.
The truth is that CEOs grow into the role, they learn and develop. I hope I am a better CEO and portfolio Director today against 10 years ago.
That said, to lead a company, certain characteristics and skills must be present, but it is almost impossible to tell if a CEO will be successful before they are in the role.
What are the important traits of a successful CEO?
There are some general traits though, which are important to me:
- Authenticity and being true to your own personality and style as an example. This is often overlooked, but a crucial aspect of exceptional CEOs is their authenticity. Being able to embrace true self and lead from a place of genuineness, rather than conforming to a popular cliché. Each CEO should bring their unique perspectives, strengths and personalities to the table, which are different from one to another organisation. In a world where leaders are often pressured to conform or put on a facade, here at RIB we are authentic.
- Knowing how to give good feedback, which is honest, robust but also constructive in terms of how to move forward from whatever problem is being encountered is vital. It is important to avoid general statements and focus on the details. Objectivity is key in such situations, so good feedback needs to be based on observable facts rather than personal assumptions or biases and providing clear examples.
- Finally, and most importantly, great CEOs must learn to be comfortable doing inherently uncomfortable things. It isn’t always easy, whether that is engaging in difficult conversations, navigating ambiguity, making tough decisions, or challenging the status quo. All of these tasks enable you to embrace the growth into the CEO role. Only when you are comfortable with discomfort, can you recognise that growth happens outside of familiar territory. Stepping into new and uncharted areas, pushing oneself and therefore the organisation to evolve.
And this is what we practice as RIB; by embracing discomfort, we try to demonstrate a growth mindset and encourage our teams to do the same, fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation.
Evaluating someone else’s performance isn’t always easy, but it does come with the job.