Secrets Series: What Do Top CEOs Have in Common?

Becoming a top CEO doesn’t just happen overnight. CEOs have reached their position in the business world after years of hard work, trial and error, and growing pains. It’s a tough climb to the top. What is it about top CEOs that helps them make that climb? As it turns out, lots of head honchos have these traits in common.

 

1. Conservative Decision Making

This may not be intuitive, but top CEOs know that their decisions can have far-reaching consequences. As a result, top CEOs know that they need to make measured decisions for the good of the company and their employees. While high risk-taking does have a place in certain forms of business, top CEOs try to weigh all factors and make the right decisions, based on the facts at hand.

 

Some studies have indicated that female CEOs may be more conservative decision makers, which can lead better outcomes for their companies. Participative decision making is a conservative approach that some analysts have tied to female CEOs.

 

While there’s almost always going to be risk associated with a business decision, top CEOs make sure to do their homework and get all the facts before making a call. Risky moves can be exciting, but they’re also dangerous. There’s a reason they say that slow and steady wins the race.

 

2. Credibility and Integrity

Heading up a company requires that you convince people to believe in you and your vision. Credibility and integrity go hand-in-hand. If you are credible, then people will believe what you say; if you breach that trust, then it’s hard to come back from that negative perception.

 

The tough truth is that gaining trust is hard and losing it is easy – one misleading statement or unfair decision and you may undermine your team’s trust. Honesty is the best policy for top CEOs and for leaders in general. Even if you’re delivery bad news – and sometimes there will be bad news – your employees will respect you for being upfront and open about it.

 

And that reputation doesn’t just matter to the internal workings of your company. The other businesses you work with will also pay attention to whether you keep your word and deal honestly. Shady business practices may leave you isolated in the business community.

 

3. Ability To Recognize Others’ Accomplishments

Successful CEOs know that their accomplishments don’t occur in a vacuum. Top CEOS accept that while their presence in the company is important, they didn’t get to where they are alone. They’re supported by mentors, colleagues, advisors, and coworkers. And they know and recognize that the business couldn’t run without its employees.

 

Top CEOs know that they owe much of their success to others. Don’t lose sight of how you got to your position. You need others in your company to make sure it runs smoothly. Always give credit to others for their help, their hard work, and their great ideas. Make sure the other people in your business know that they’re appreciated and that their contribution is recognized – they should never feel like cogs in a machine.

 

4. Dedication To Empowering Others

Top CEOs like to give back. They’re in a great position to help people around them advance in their careers and they take advantage of that. That may mean mentoring and coaching others or teaching classes about running a business, for example. Internally, it may mean offering robust employee education programs and seminars to help your team pick up new skills and opportunities for advancement.

 

A great CEO knows that all boats rise with the tide – it’s about bringing everyone up rather than scrambling to keep people below you on the totem pole. This goes hand in hand with recognizing the accomplishments of your employees, too. Respect the good work that they do and they’ll respect you.

 

5. A Life Outside the Office

According to the Harvard Business Review, most top CEOs are married and have families. In other words, work is not their sole focus in life. Work is obviously important and, as a CEO, you’re going to spend a lot of time on that. But you can’t work all the time – you’ll burn out and lose the ability to keep track of the big picture.

 

So, top CEOs make time to spend with their family and friends. They take vacations. They get out of the office and turn off their phones every once in a while. The stress and responsibility of being CEO can make that hard to do, but it’s crucial to your ability to do good work.

 

Simple Skills Make For Top CEOs

It takes a lot to become a successful CEO – hard work, talent, and a little luck, for starters. But these tips can give you a leg up both in your business journey and in the rest of your life. Stay levelheaded, be transparent, and respect the people around you and yourself. Simple advice, big impact.

 

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