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  • 09.03.09

Effective Leadership Strategies for CEOs

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…

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.

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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.

Internal Communications

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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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