When people are trying to decide whether or not they have what it takes to become CEOs themselves, they should try to pay attention to the people that the media will more or less always present in a positive light. Successful CEOs, for instance, actually do have to be honest with their employees. They are going to be directing entire companies, and their decisions can influence the lives of countless people. Their subordinates need to know that they are trustworthy. When CEOs are demonstrated to be dishonest, they can manage to tarnish the way in which other people see them forever. Many people have the image of the dishonest CEO, which is indeed a dramatic image, but CEOs who really act like that just don’t last very long.
The stereotype of CEOs is that they are extremely cold and unappreciative people who demand a lot from their employees while giving very little in return. These CEOs don’t last very long, and they manage to be ousted from their positions fairly regularly. Employees aren’t going to be motivated to work very hard when they have CEOs like these. They are going to do what they need to do in order to get by, and that’s it. This is not the sort of behavior that tends to promote the growth of a given business or company, and the entire company will suffer as a result. The problem is inevitably going to be traced to the CEO, who will then lose his or her position to the person who is next in line.
When one employee makes a complaint about the boss, it might be dismissed as one person making excuses. When almost all of the employees say the exact same thing, it is going to truly reflect poorly on the CEO in question. In many cases, if several employees are criticizing the CEO, this opinion is going to spread to the other employees fairly rapidly. It has been said that CEOs have to work overtime in order to protect their reputations among their employees, and this is partly a function of the fact that office politics often create a very competitive environment. CEOs who are being criticized by a few people are taking the risk that they’re going to eventually be criticized by everyone.
The CEOs who ultimately succeed are the ones who are firm but fair with their employees. They make their employees feel like valued parts of the team, and they encourage their employees to do well. People will do well when they want to do well, and when they have compassionate bosses, they will want to keep themselves motivated.
Naturally, competence is an important quality in CEOs. Honesty and compassion are important, but CEOs need to understand the job market, their products, and all of the fundamentals of business. People can’t just trust the ethics of their CEOs. They also have to trust in their ability to make decisions, or the business is not going to succeed, and the CEOs themselves are ultimately not going to succeed.
However, many CEOs never even get to the position in the first place without a lot of technical and business skills. Reports of CEOs that fail to exercise proper ethics and proper management skills are more common than reports of CEOs who simply lack competence. The CEOs that are brilliant but lack social skills and restraint are ultimately going to be just as unsuccessful as the CEOs with hearts of gold who lack business sense. The best CEOs are honest, compassionate, and skilled.