Reaching the dizzy heights of an executive position like an MD or CEO takes years of hard work. It would be best to have the education and qualifications, and years of leadership and management roles. Putting that aside, there are other skills you can acquire and use to excel as a CEO or executive, and the good news is you can develop them while you’re in the role.
To start a company, you bucket loads of confidence. Having belief in yourself and what you and your company do is a prerequisite to acquiring customers. As the business grows, your role also includes developing a company culture, providing inspiration and motivating workers to aspire to greater heights so they too can take on leadership roles.
Confidence is developed through personal success in education, sports, arts and culture, and business. It can be what separates you from your peers. There have been many successful CEOs who rose to the top of enterprises without a degree. Some of these high profile leaders include:
These people are just some of the tech founders who got to the top without a tertiary qualification—many other CEOs in industries like transport, e.g. Virgin’s Richard Branson and iHeartMedia’s Bob Pitman. All successful CEOs have a community of followers, and to get it, they have used communication.
Expert communication skills are a prerequisite for all leadership roles. The ability to articulate complex information, so your audience understands and appreciates your viewpoint secures the right team, advocates and customers. To hone your communication skills work on:
empathy – for example, how to deliver bad news
compassion – being sensitive to setbacks and adversity
negotiation – seeing both sides, being objective, fair in your route to getting what you need
Always be Open to Learning More
The first tip can apply to any person, really, and that’s to be open to learning more. Just because you have reached the top of the career ladder and finally have your dream job, it shouldn’t mean that the learning stops. It’s essential to keep growing, asking questions, digging more profound, and enhancing what you have to offer.
Understand the Importance of Listening
Driving the conversation is pivotal for any leader, and some may believe listening takes a backseat. Successful leaders have learned how to listen. They listen to everyone from staff to customers and people they meet throughout the day.
Ideas come from feedback, so we all can improve our effectiveness when we do more listening than talking. As the saying goes: seek to understand, then to be understood. There are different types of listening:
You’ll know when you’re in passive listening mode when you’re present and may even be looking at the person talking, but you’ve zoned out, and you’re not taking in what the other person is saying. Nor do you give a response that shows you understand, agree or disagree. While passive listening may seem antisocial, it has its place. For example, you can have music playing, but your focus is writing a blog post like this one.