How to Be a Great CEO – Skills and Qualities Needed

The job of CEO is only for the tough ones, as it requires a lot of hard work, initiative, and the spirit of a born leader. However, being a CEO is not only about dedication, but also about effectiveness. Here are a series of traits and strategies one should keep in mind when learning how to be a great CEO.

Businesswoman holding a Chief Executive Officer sign

Personality traits necessary for a CEO

Here are a series of personality traits that make a good CEO. In case you’re aiming high in your career, it might be harder to work on these if you don’t have them already. However, it’s good to know what you need to improve. Also, you might end up cultivating some unknown skills you didn’t know you had.

1.      Great communication skills

Communication is essential in all companies, especially between a boss and his employees. If you are in a leadership position, you should know how to talk to the people in your subordination. You should be able to tell your team what you want from them, what they have to do to keep things going, and how things should be done.

However, communication skills shouldn’t only be used to give orders. If your company goes through difficult moments, you should know how to encourage your employees and make them do their best. Also, you should be able to explain to your employees complicated business terms in simple words, so that anyone should understand.

2.      Ability to build strong relationships

As a CEO, you have to be close to your employees, so knowing how to charm them is a big plus. If you attract them on your side, they will be more eager to work for you and achieve performance. Also, you should know how to talk to your clients. Making them trust you is essential for the success and reputation of the company.

3.      Learning from mistakes

Experience is vital for a CEO, as it can teach you how to act in the future. It’s natural that you should make some mistakes, but they should work like something to learn from. If you face a sudden unpleasant situation which catches you unprepared, next time you will be able to manage it a lot better. However, don’t refrain from taking risks, as they might bring great successes.

4.      Optimism is the key

When you’re a leader, you shouldn’t allow bad events take you down. It’s better to be confident about the future and about yourself. However, be careful. Overconfidence can be dangerous, as it can easily turn into arrogance. Know your limits, and also make sure you stay humble when you have to. Stay strong and show others what you can do, but also be aware of your weak points.

5.      Great listening skills

You can definitely win the appreciation of your employees by listening to what they have to say. This way, you can show them you value their opinions and are willing to apply them. In fact, you can often learn from their opinions and see where you were wrong. Also, you should listen to them when they have a problem as well. Be understanding when it comes to personal matters and you won’t lose them.

6.      Creativity

One of the most valuable skills of a CEO is creativity and imagination. Your business changes, as well as the industry and the market, and classical methods might not always work. If you stay open to new techniques and find unusual ways to deal with problems, your company should remain successful.

CEO written on a Scrabble board

Strategies to become a great CEO

Having the CEO skills make you suitable for the title you have, but you also need to know how to play. There are a few things to keep in mind before making decisions and leading your company on a path, and these are what make a CEO great.

1.      Constantly seek value

Never forget that your most important goal as a CEO is the value of your company. Do whatever it takes to maintain this value on a high level. Do it to acquire more customers, do it to make your employees happy, and do it to earn profit. Although it sounds a bit superficial, this is what keeps businesses going.

2.      Tell stories to your team to convince them

One of the easiest and most fun ways to tell your team what you expect from them is by telling stories. This way, you can talk about important matters in a relaxed and casual way. Avoid any complicated terms or typical business speak, and you can make sure they will get your message.

3.      Leave your emotions behind

Being a CEO is, indeed, a lot of hard work. However, the work is not only intellectual, but also emotional. Being a leader has never been easy, and many things might play with your mind and feelings. To survive, you have to stay strong and leave all of them behind. Don’t worry about becoming thick-skinned, this is what will keep you going until the end.

4.      Aim high even from the beginning

Set your goals straight as soon as you start, and dream big. You have more chances of success and you are more motivated if you set a higher goal. Also, this might improve your sense of purpose. Make the company mean something, and make it worth remembering.

5.      Serve

Don’t be fooled by the title of leader. Being a CEO is actually about serving. Instead of asking things of people, you should start thinking about what they might need from you. Think about your employees, and they will work to keep the company going. Think about your customers, and they will reward you by helping your company prosper.

The definition of CEO on a tablet


Being a CEO is tough, as you have to lead your company towards success. At the same time, you have to pay attention to your employees and serve their best interests. Also, you should find out how to satisfy your customers while prospering. There’s a lot of hard work and emotional strain, but the results should be enough to make everything worth it.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.



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