Wondering if you have what it takes to lead your company from the front? Well, if you’re ambitious and goal-driven, potential employers may see you as ‘CEO material.’ But whether or not you want to take the chief executive officer role someday, building the required skills is going to help you progress in your career. So, what are the essential qualities that will help you find and cement your place in the C-suite? Let’s take a look.
1. You have a vision
Top CEOs can see beyond the urgent matters and keep long-term aspirations and plans in mind. That means staying on top of the latest trends in your industry, analyzing what they mean for your business, and taking steps to evolve with changing behaviors. Anyone can practice this big-picture thinking – look at your and other business sectors for ideas about what the next 5 years hold. The more you research the changes, scenarios, trends, and factors that impact your niche, the more you can make sense of the developments and plan things others don’t.
2. You always strive to get results
You’re CEO material if you have the passion for achieving ambitious goals by functioning at all levels of a company – working with the customer service team, gathering resources from senior executives, aligning marketing and sales, and overcoming barriers to reaching the objectives. Besides, you have the skills to articulate core values like respect, integrity, and value creation; attain staff buy-in of these values; and set up processes to ensure that the company’s culture is used in the achievement of the goals.
3. You surround yourself with doers
Although CEOs work at the pinnacle in an organization, they’re supported by a team of individuals who assist them in reaching optimal levels of performance – as such, having CEO potential means surrounding yourself with a group of people who cover the gaps left by the CEO and other C-level executives. This makes a hierarchy that can work in harmony, and also brings different skill sets to the organization.
4. You have leadership skills
Have you ever volunteered for a project that no one else was willing to pursue and made it successful? Then you’ve already demonstrated leadership qualities that define a great CEO. If you’re looking for an opportunity to learn if you have leadership traits, try turning around issues like an underperforming product or staff dissatisfaction. Many high-potential employees accelerate their careers by taking on projects that seem “impossible.” It takes fortitude, but it’s a great way to develop your abilities and distinguish yourself.
5. You can appeal to emotion
Great CEOs have a unique ability to tell a compelling story about their business. Why is this important? Because people want something they can connect to emotionally, whether it be a cause that they believe in or a success story that inspires them. The best CEOs are excellent at appealing to people’s feelings and beliefs.
6. You’re an excellent communicator
There’s no doubt that the climb to the corporate summit requires a person to have excellent communication skills. While chief executive officers are the ultimate decision-makers, smart CEOs know that personnel who feel integral to the organization’s success are immensely productive. Active engagement with your staff leads to better performance. Remember, leadership and listening go hand in hand so offer support and mentorship whenever you can. Promote cross-functional collaboration and practice empathy to demonstrate the CEO in you.
7. You can pivot and adjust to changes
CEOs should be able to adapt to changing trends and economies. Adaptable leaders stand out because they don’t shy away from reality or stay rooted in what’s familiar and comfortable. They face what’s currently happening and leverage their well-honed decision-making ability to make choices in the toughest of times. This may mean overhauling a business model or embracing a new technology. Good CEOs aren’t afraid to make those pivots for the long-term good of their company. Emotional intelligence is an integral part of surviving as a leader, too. Being able to read situations and react properly to them makes a difference in the success of the company.
8. You’re humble and willing to learn
People who are CEO material aren’t afraid to admit that they don’t have all the answers. However, they are driven and open-minded to find the best solutions, even if they involve a third-party. You pay attention to your own mistakes and involve others in learning from them as well. Humble CEOs are focused on the long-term mission of the company and the success of their team rather than their own preferences and ego.
9. You take calculated risks
Although a chief executive officer must keep the organization stable, they must also take risks that can result in long-term gains for the company. Strategic risk-takers have to consider a “confluence” of several external and internal factors, both for their business and their industry as a whole. They account for lessons from the past while keeping a close eye on the future. They consider people, timing, and marketing. You’re aware that the business could suffer a loss if the strategy fails to work, yet you won’t back down from taking a calculated risk. Sound judgment, decisiveness, and confidence all come to bear here.
10. You’re not afraid to fail
Despite the success stories, not every CEO who gets to the summit does so without falling. In fact, on your journey to this C-level hot seat, expect to commit a couple of blunders. But successful CEOs differentiate themselves by how they learn from their failures. If you’re treating a setback as an opportunity to learn, adapt, and grow, you’re on the right path to becoming a company executive.
If you consider yourself CEO material, contact our executive recruiting firm. We leverage our long-standing industry connections and deep networks to connect people like you with the right companies.