OneNews in New Zealand reports on being a good CEO in a time of recession. Simon Monks from recruitment firm Heidrick and Struggles (also in New Zealand) had a list of twelve skills and qualities corporate boards will be looking for in a CEO when companies, banks, and entire countries face troubling financial difficulties.
Here are some tips for being a great leader (headings from Simon Monks of Heidrick and Struggles; explanatory statements are new):
1. Love learning as much as knowledge. There is no room for a CEO (nor is there a need for one) that doesn’t desire to learn more than she already knows. If a CEO plans to lead many people who should continue to learn, than he should be prepared to do the same.
2. Challenge the status quo. Many companies are looking for warm bodies to fill vacancies, hoping to train them once they find the person willing to learn. Why not look for specific strengths instead? That way your company is assured that it will have a person skilled in interacting with the public should you decide to promote him to head of customer service.
3. Learn to listen. If you want your company to appear transparent to its customers, you yourself must be able to listen well. Listening before speaking helps you to appear that you are considering all communications before making a snap decision.
4. Have a presence. Eclectic is status quo these days for many CEOs, but a even the most plain-jane CEOs can command the respect they deserve by determining how they carry themselves and how they come across to others. Also, be accessible to your employees at all times.
5. Access all areas. Not only is listening vital, so too is the ability to communicate effectively. If you can express yourself in a meaningful way, your leadership will succeed.
6. Empower your employees. Let your employees make some decisions on their own; this can be as small as pricing and returns or as large as promotions and hiring. The fact that you trust them will go a long way.
7. Choose character. Choosing people with character along with their professional skills is a plus every time. Trustworthy and honest employees are hard to come by, so snap them up when you can.
8. Get an expert. If you don’t know, find someone who does. There is nothing wrong with hiring an expert to bring you up to speed on an aspect of your company or business sector. Bring in managers to learn along with you. It will strengthen your entire company.
9. Build a reputation. Do you focus on health and safety or green manufacturing? Play up those traits whenever you possibly can.
10. Give thanks. Praise when praise is due. Don’t be shy about praising employees for a job well done. Let the praise and thanks flow freely in your company.
11. Get used to not being liked. Be prepared for folks to not like you, just because of your power. People will find any excuse to not like someone in authority over them, so don’t be afraid to focus on your or others’ strengths.
12. Have an escape route. Give yourself time away from the job in order to return refreshed and ready for another week. If you need time off during the week, take it, but be prepared for the burst of energy you’ll have once you get back in the office.