In his PR Strategist Article “How to Think Like a CEO – Become a Better Leader,” David R. Grossmann tries to help us better understand a CEOs mind. These best-practice strategies do not only allow you as a CEOs to improve your leadership qualities, but every employee to advance your performance at your job and – who knows – perhaps even out your path to once become a CEO yourself if you model yourself after those who are successful.
For all of us it is incredibly important to find out what the people around us are thinking. Only if we are aware of their thoughts, aims and fears we are able to react and lead our employees or team to achieve the wanted results. Understanding how people think is essential to influence others. Moreover, as an employee understanding your CEO offers you the possibility to take stock of your professional weaknesses and strengths and to use them accordingly to your CEOs needs.
The following ten items CEOs care about most according to Grossman will help you, no matter on which step you are on your job ladder, to be more effective, productive and content with work.
1. Never forget that the CEO has bosses, too. The board watches every step closely and wants to see the right results. Always try to purposefully manage up with your boss. Take care of your career and manage it well!
2. Be aware of the fact that performance is the king! The key financial results are essential for you and your CEO. Stay up to date on your progress and changing expectations. Know what success looks like and always have clarity on how you are measured, as your CEO definitely has a good understanding of both. As a CEO, you always have to make sure that you deliver clear expectations concerning the performance of your team. Clear goals and rules make live a lot easier for everyone.
3. A further important point is culture. It does indeed matter how work gets done. The leadership of the organization has to exhibit the values and standards it wants to promote and shape among their employees. Especially in times of change, systems need to be in place to drive desired behaviors. With your attitude – through your words and actions – you always have to show that performance matters to you personally. Promote the organizations values and live them. Go even further and sync them with your personal core values.
4. Make sure that your team knows how relevant their work is to the success of the organization’s strategy and resulting success. Motivation is raised by raising awareness on how each and everyone’s work contributes to the success of the larger company. Thus, define a common context, then align everyone.
5. Keep in mind that especially in today’s fast changing world boards want to be assured that there are several competent potential CEO successors in line. Help the people in your team develop. It is important to give frequent feedback to allow your colleagues to learn from every mistake and achievement. Each organization needs competent management on all levels to assure a solid matrix. Know your employees career aspirations and remember how you got into your position. Networking and competence are essential to a functioning company and ensure you know the people with the high class qualities around you. Grow future leaders!
6. Value everyone working for your organization. People have a natural need to be valued and to be heard. Talk to your colleagues, allow yourself time to listen to them and thus give everyone the feeling of being genuinely important. Professional interactions are great opportunities to connect. Appreciate the work everyone does in specific terms. And, a little thank you on the side doesn’t take a lot of effort but nevertheless has a great positive effect.
7. Make sure everyone in the organization focuses on what they are uniquely qualified to do. All employees should know their qualities and spend all of their time and effort on their particular core competences. Do you know yours? Further, as a leader you have to know the boundaries of your business; focus on being the best in your niche. Offer guidance for your team on top priority and don’t lose your path in the jungle of opportunities by concentration on the organization’s core competencies.
8. Balance the focus on today and the future. Although good results are needed today, don’t forget to invest into the future. Sustainability is just as important as short-term results. A CEO needs the capacity to make the right decision about when, where to invest and how much. Planning for the future is essential to run a healthy business. As an employee, check whether you use the right amount of time for today’s results and planning for tomorrow. Would your boss agree with you?
9. Demonstrate a sense of urgency. As a CEO, show that there really is a need for fast results and grow that attitude among your people. However, make sure that your employees are not afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes happen, and if they do, they need to be quickly erased. In the long run they are a great way of learning for everyone in the business. Think of mistakes as an investment or tuition in the future.
10. It is important to realize that there is not one type of successful CEOs. You don’t have to be a charismatic, extroverted person; an introverted person can just be as successful as a leader. Think of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Understand yourself needs as a CEO or your CEO needs and act accordingly.
Summing up, consider the above mentioned points and reflect about you and your CEOs needs. Use the points that might help you to progress in your professional career by becoming a better leader and differentiate yourself!