In Taoism, the yin and yang is the guiding principle of all things. Just as the opposite of water is fire, such is true for our roles in life. The Chief Executive Officer post has incredible responsibility of striking a balance between internal and external communications to guide the company in a profitable direction.
We are exploring effective leadership strategies for CEOs. Below are key themes recommended by LinkedIn users on how to be an effective CEO.
The CEO Balancing Act
Based on the development stage of your business, your role as CEO might vary. A Fortune 500 company would assume different responsibility compared to a start-up. Though a Fortune 500 company CEO might want to occasionally meet employees and customers on the ground floor, their efforts should primarily be spend guiding the company at a high level, whereas a CEO of an emerging business would work vertically—as a sales person, manager, CEO, etc.
In both instances, to steer the company in a right direction, the CEO should have a clear understanding of each level of the corporation—from the ground floor, up. As CEO’s can be showered with lavish salaries and perks, they are also accountable for failures (again, think balance). Therefore, understanding your environment and how to manage and guide it is critical to avoiding pitfalls.
There are guideposts that many of the most effective CEOs have put into place. Warren Buffet, the northern star of CEOs, embodies the best qualities a CEO. His relatable, humble, philanthropic, yet stern and driven personality has won him accolades worldwide along with tremendous wealth. When Buffet took the reigns of Solomon as acting CEO in the 1990s, he told employees monetary losses were tolerable, but was unscrupulous when it came to unethical practices. Outlining your strategic vision and the dos and don’ts can lay the foundation of your company’s future.
To effectively manage internal and external communications, LinkedIn users provided insights and a set of guiding principles for a CEO to be effective in their post. We have synthesized and added to their recommendations.
On the Top Floor
Just as a captain dictates a ships direction, so too does a CEO. Every CEO should have a clearly defined vision for the company’s future and motivate their team to aspire to that vision. Therefore, the CEO should set the tone and manage the culture within the company.
Clearly defined near and long-term goals are essential to measure the success of management efforts. If you’re not on track, realigning your team around a central rallying point is essential to get everyone back on board and push through. You are the coach of those on the top floor with you. Fine tuning and adjusting to maximize efficiency and develop a strong team can be done through face-to-face time either in large or small group settings. Gathering for monthly or weekly meetings can be a way to update and ensure your team is on the right course. You are the captain and as such you are responsible for your effectiveness of crew mates to do outstanding work.
On the Ground Floor
In rigid corporate hierarchical structures, often there are clearly defined boundaries between upper management and lower-level employees. Typically top floor executives do not share much time with those on the ground floor. If a CEO meets their employees on the ground level and can show there is not a rigid hierarchical barrier between them and the rest of their company, word-of-mouth can spread to show they are not above, but with them. In these systems it’s...
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