What makes a good CEO? Someone who looks beyond the title, beyond managing people, to a deeper understanding of leadership.
Leaders inspire and influence people. They help their team members grow as individuals. They have the power to improve lives.
Being a leader is not so simple as having the entire room scramble to get you a cup of coffee as you walk through the door. Intimidation and a well cut suit will only get you so far.
Let’s go over a few items on the laundry list of valuable traits a CEO would be wise to cultivate in order to obtain a position of true leadership.
What Makes A Great CEO
Leadership First, Management Second
Fortune lists some of the World’s Greatest Leaders, from government and business, to philanthropy and the arts.
There’s Theo Epstein, the Chicago Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations, who focused on developing a deeper understanding of the human qualities of his players.
There’s Ava DuVernay, who became the first African-American woman to direct a film nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award (and who is about to break another record – the first black woman to direct a movie with a $100 million budget: Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time).
And there’s H.R. McMaster, the U.S. National Security Adviser, who in 1991, led a tank troop to victory over Iraqi forces in Operation Desert Storm, later penning military classic Dereliction of Duty.
Theo Epstein; Photo Credit: Arturo Pardavila III
These are all very different individuals – but all are classed as leaders in their field.
While the ‘leader’ title is open to interpretation, and can be applied to successful people of all backgrounds, what these men and women do have in common is a series of personality traits that make them the best, and most highly-respected, in their field.
Any budding CEO would do well to study these characteristics. Beyond the educational background, years of experience, and high performance in various key roles, a CEO needs to be aware of why some people are able to kick on in their careers and lead successful teams while others simply remain very good at their jobs.
And you’ll note in the list of nine personality traits below that you don’t need to take a management course to acquire strong leadership qualities. These qualities may be innate – and waiting for an opportunity to emerge.