Are you a great CEO?

I'm not sure how you would rate yourself as a CEO. I remember hearing that if asked, how well do you rate your driving skills, 90% of us would put ourselves in the top 10%.

Are you a great CEO?

I’m not sure how you would rate yourself as a CEO. 

I remember hearing that if asked, how well do you rate your driving skills, 90% of us would put ourselves in the top 10%. 

Now I have no statistical back up for that as I heard it many years ago, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was true. After all, we love judging other people’s worst moments against our best ones. 

I wonder what the response would be when asking CEOs about their skills compared to their peers. 

Inc and Harvard Business School state that only 10% of CEOs are natural leaders who influence staff by example. So what about the rest of us? How do we develop and hone those skills?

The last 8-10 months have been an opportunity like no other to demonstrate our leadership skills. Crisis is usually the opportunity to show what we are really made of, and it hasn’t been easy for anyone. 

But those who have resilience, who embrace a challenge, are naturally optimistic and love to trust others and manage by outcomes have probably had an edge. 

You probably be familiar with the concept of servant leadership ‘ a growing leadership practice that puts people above profit. Alongside this we have to realise and embrace the fact that people who are challenged, know what is expected of them, and know if they are doing a good or a bad job is putting people first. It doesn’t make people happy and fulfilled to have a false sense of their own performance. It is the reality checks, regular check ins, care and support that leads to engaged teams and high performing people. 

So our job as leaders is to lead by example and to supportively challenge our people. 

Here are some questions to test your CEO skills. 

Building your leadership team:

  1. Do you have a great leadership team that you have been able to rely on through the pandemic? Do you have the right people in the right roles?
  2. Do you trust your team to lead the business when you aren’t there?
  3. Do they all have the energy, positivity or drive to keep pushing forwards whatever is happening around them?
  4. Do you make time for personal development and training to be better leaders?
  5. When you have a leadership vacancy, are you confident you can hire and train the right person to join you?

Developing yourself 

  1. Have you got trusted advisors so you aren’t lonely at the top?
  2. Do you seek and use feedback so you can keep learning?
  3. Are you looking after your health ‘ physical and mental?
  4. Are you clear about your direction and where you are heading?
  5. Do you practice what you preach, so that you don’t say one thing and do another?

Hopefully reading those through has given you some reassurance, but maybe also a few challenges. 

If you don’t have a trusted advisor alongside you as you run your business, try to think about where you can access that support. It makes a huge difference to be in a community with other business peers, or have an external, part-time long-term, board level advisor working in the business. 

They should be able to give you real-time feedback about your leadership practices, and help you think about how you communicate, inspire and lead your team. We do a lot of this at People Puzzles ‘ hold up the mirror to our CEO clients with their encouragement, helping them to be better leaders tomorrow than they were yesterday. As a business leader you tend to be focussed on the big issues, the future, the plans and the business performance. But that needs translating carefully to be relevant to staff at every level in your organisation to build motivation.  

If you want to be a better CEO, feedback and support is the best place to start. After all, Henry Ford’s quote If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got holds true for leadership, as much as it does for everything else.

Ally Maughan
Ally Maughan

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