Whether you're a CEO or just starting out on your own, being a CEO people want to work with is key. If your team don't like working for you, they won't do their best work and leave the company. And if they don't have good relationships with you or trust that you care about them personally and professionally, then they won't trust your vision for the future of your business.
In this article, I'll explain how to be a CEO your team, investors or collaborators want to work with so that everyone in your organisation can thrive!
Show your Work
Listen to More Than a Yes/No Answer
Have Standards and Stick to Them
Be Transparent About the Bigger Picture
Show your work.
When you're a CEO, there are a lot of things that you do that no one else understands or knows about. That can be extremely frustrating for a team who are trying to do their jobs and don't know how they fit into the big picture. If you want your team members to feel like they're part of something bigger than themselves and invested in the company's success, show them exactly how their work contributes toward it -and make sure they understand why things are done the way they are.
This doesn't mean sharing every single detail with everyone; there will always be some things that need to remain confidential until later stages of development (or forever). But if someone asks "What's next?", give them an answer instead of saying "We'll see" or "I'm working on it." It may seem obvious at first glance-but trust me: if people don't understand what's happening around them at least semi-regularly then things can start getting messy really fast!
Listen for more than a yes/no answer.
Listening is a skill that all CEOs must learn, especially if they want to be a highly desirable CEO to work with.
Whether it's business rejection by investors or collaborators, listening and learning how to overcome rejection is important and worthwhile. Don't let emotions cloud your judgment. This is business, not personal - the famous line from The Godfather is worth remembering. Try and leave the door open for future talks. When you ask someone a question and they respond with an answer that seems too simple or definitive (like "Yes" or "No"), dig deeper. Ask yourself: What isn't being said? Listen carefully when someone tells you something important; if their tone sounds off in any way (especially if it sounds angry), ask questions until you figure out why they're upset before moving forward.
In a business pitch, it's natural that when someone doesn't want to buy what you're selling, it can dent your pride. Sometimes, the reason for rejection often has nothing to do with your offering, but perhaps the timing isn't right, or the potential investor is already committed to another project. It may also be that you are approaching the wrong people and you may need to redefine who your perfect client is.
Have standards and stick to them.
Have standards that you hold yourself, your team, and your company to.
You're the CEO, so it's your job to set the tone for how things are done at your company. Standards are the foundation of your business. They are based on your values and should be flexible enough to allow for exceptions when needed, but still be strict enough that you can hold everyone accountable.
If you want people to treat each other with respect and kindness, then be sure that you do so yourself by acting in those ways toward others (especially those who are junior).
Stand by your standards. If someone on your team doesn't meet one of these standards -whether it's being late for work or treating clients poorly -don't be afraid to enforce them as necessary.
Don't change them often; stick with what works best for everyone involved until there's good reason not to.
Let go of ego and get out of the way when necessary.
If you're a CEO, sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself and your company is let go of ego and get out of the way. This doesn't mean that CEOs aren't important -they are! But they also need to be willing to ask for help when they need it.
This may sound counterintuitive, but it's true: being humble will make you more successful as a leader than being prideful will ever do. When we start believing in our own hype, we become disconnected from reality; we forget what's important and lose sight of our goals. So don't forget: humility is an essential part of being an effective & desirable CEO because it keeps us grounded enough so that we can actually achieve those goals!
Be transparent about the bigger picture.
Transparency is one of the most important qualities you can have as a CEO, and it's something that will separate you from other leaders in your industry. Transparency helps build trust, which makes leaders/influencers feel safe working with you. It also allows others to see the bigger picture -their role within it and how they fit into the company's goals overall.
When employees feel understood by their boss, they're more likely to go above and beyond during crunch times or when things get stressful at work (which happens all too often). The better understanding they have of what's going on behind closed doors, the more comfortable they'll be offering suggestions or taking initiative when necessary -and this will ultimately lead toward greater productivity overall!.
Lawunmi A Nwaiwu is an Executive TV producer of the The Moment of Truth Nigeria Business Reality Show and Author.