Modeling CEO traits
Written by: Renée LeMoine
Photo by: Vojtěch Vlk
Our CEO is an ideal example of a professional who is ethical, tenacious, and detail-oriented. What other traits should I possess in order to prepare myself for career ascension?
Use your admiration and respect for your company’s CEO as a model for molding yourself. He epitomizes values and traits that are important within your firm, so emulating his behaviors together with your own style increases your chances of becoming a CEO. At the same time, study the behaviors and results of other respected CEOs and top executives and learn from their mistakes.
While there are numerous studies detailing the successful mannerisms or peculiarities of CEOs, a few generalities can be garnered as gems for many situations. It is important to remember that it takes a toolbox of traits to be successful, and the combination of these traits should vary depending on the corporate culture and specific situation.
- Feeling secure about what you are doing, and having a positive attitude are two of the most important traits to acquire. You must be able to put others at ease, because leadership is about inspiring and motivating people to reach high standards and goals. Always look for the best in others. Act secure and maintain control of your attitude at all times. Smile, concentrate on what others are saying, empathize, be optimistic, offer objective feedback or suggestions, and stay relaxed.
- Effective style is defined as proper behavior to match the given circumstances. You will get things done using different styles. Compare Jack Welch (former CEO of GE) to Nobuyuki Idei (CEO of Sony). They are very different, yet both models are effective. Make favorable first impressions, offer a strong handshake, remember peoples’ names, stand with professional presence, and gesture to accentuate the discussion.
- Take a chance at being a tad theatrical. Every great leader acts more self-assured than they really are. Use smart humor to ease those around you, and to make the office more fun and enjoyable. Tell stories to convey concepts and ideas. Create a database of analogies, metaphors, and similes as examples to cut through complicated issues while displaying your creative human side.
Article prepared by Renée LeMoine, Executive Director, LeMoine & Associates