The very top chief executive officers (CEOs) lead very different day-to-day lives as the niches that their companies occupy will feature different core tasks and require different approaches.
That being said, CEOs are regarded as business leaders for a reason; top CEOs are all effective managers with good strategic intuition.
They also tend to have certain qualities in common, regardless of the niche their company occupies.
A Variable Definition of Success
Top CEOs are high achievers, but their definitions of success tend to evolve with their achievements.
Definitions of success could be results, promotions, or income; but an insatiable attitude towards self-improvement and growth means that once a metric for success has been achieved, a new definition immediately crops up.
When starting out, a future CEO might look for promotions, but once they’re at the top they will look for success in terms of leadership quality, people management, and company performance.
A Top Education
Although it is a hallmark of CEOs to learn their skills while studying an MBA, education does not always mean going to the best universities.
Many CEOs have the drive to learn and educate themselves and, though going to a great university is important for networking, self-education is equally important.
Successful C-Level individuals likely have the ability to motivate themselves through an online degree, or they will just devour books (like Bill Gates).
Having a true passion for learning pays dividends because it encourages lateral thinking, which is incredibly important when solving problems and coming up with creative, effective strategies.
An Excellent Intrapersonal Philosophy
CEOs need to be able to manage a team and part of this is knowing who will perform a task in a certain way, which team members work well with each other, and how specific members need to be treated to get the best performance from them.
Successful CEOs develop the necessary intrapersonal skills to do this from an early age and understand that they haven’t achieved their success alone. If they attribute their success to their team of mentors, advisors, colleagues, and employees, they are more likely to manage their team in a way that passes this success onwards.
A Strong Ability to Excite and Be Excited
CEOs often have to complete tasks that wouldn’t seem exciting to an average member of the general population, which is precisely why they need to have a strong ability to both get excited and to excite others. This is a trait that coincides with the ability to have a clear vision.
Nobody is going to get excited about having to complete a spreadsheet financial model or make a presentation about increasing efficiency without understanding that their work is part of a long-term strategy.
A good CEO is able to communicate their strategic vision and express why it is so important, and which effects it could have on employees, the company, and perhaps even wider society. Having a real passion for their work will allow them to bring energy to the office that invigorates their team.
The energy that comes from having a good vision is so valuable because it is such an incredible motivator.