In order to become a great CEO, you must learn to make other people successful. That is the key to leadership. You make people successful by listening to and supporting them, providing autonomy, challenging them, giving them guidance and direction and occasionally by issuing direct orders. A good leader has a wide toolkit. They treat all employees the same, yet lead each one in a unique and individualized way.
Great leaders learn to combine their unwavering confidence with equally solid humility and selflessness. They know they are good but they don’t make an issue of it. They know they are not perfect but they don’t freak out about it. They know they know a lot, yet they are eager to learn from others. When things go wrong, they accept responsibility and are ready to show vulnerability. When things go well, they make sure the team is credited.
Do you genuinely want people around you to succeed in their job? Are you ready to help them advance in their careers? Are you willing to give them the advice they need? Are you prepared to spend time trying to understand them and their motivations?
Contrast is a recipe for success. How you go about contrasts will define you as a leader. No matter how insightful the advice you receive, as a leader only you can know how to manage the contrasts of the situation.
I was stubborn. Now I am persistent. I was self-centric and self-serving. Now I value equality and mutual respect. I was a day dreamer. Now I can envision things and think creatively about strategy. CEOs are not born; they are made – by themselves and by people around them.
“Focus on contribution” has become a personal mantra that reminds me of my intention whenever I interact with another person: “What can we learn from each other from this shared experience? Do we leave being any smarter, wiser and kinder?”
Great leaders are great listeners. When you speak, actions happen. When you listen, everything else happens. This is why listening is a key part of success. Here is how to become a better listener:
When a good team becomes a great team, the whole company rises to a new level of performance. Everyone knows that you can accomplish anything together. Here are six things to keep in mind when building the team:
Focus is not what you do, but what you choose not to do. Startup CEO Kristo Ovaska learned the hard way to say “No”. He now declines long meetings, non-vital emails, external press requests, speaking engagements, and investor contacts that are not yet needed. This has brought about an entirely new level of productiveness.
12 things that it will always be useful to a leader to do more of. Focus more on opportunities than on problems – Deal more with substance than with appearance – Ask more than you answer.
No matter what the vessel or who the skipper, to get to the destination you dream of, you need a sail and a rudder. You need a force that pushes the ship forward and you need a mechanism to point the ship in the desired direction. It is that easy, and that difficult. Find your force and find your direction. One day, your dreams will come true.
When you are a young shy startup CEO, how do you face your fears of being in front of people? Here is how Indu Navar did it. She wrote herself a script, memorized it and became confident in telling her story.
Being a CEO is a lonely hard job. You are a Single Point of Failure. If you fail, the company suffers. Great CEOs help make the world a better place. But the upsides come with downsides. There is a price you have to pay for being a CEO.
A CEO must have the courage face the brutal reality of the company, so that problems and difficulties can be overcome. Great CEOs seek honest feedback from both employees and customers. Here is why.
When we improve leadership, we can improve anything. A modern organization is like a school of fish. It’s not about big versus small fish. It is about fish with unique skills and different roles, unified in purpose and coordinated in action.
If you did all you could with the best of intentions, there are no failures – only results. If the result is good, we call it victory. If it isn’t, we call it learning.