Becoming a CEO is a highly rewarding, career-defining, and surprisingly exciting moment. But when you’re taking on this role for the first time, new responsibilities can be quite challenging and stressful as well. From being more decisive and optimistic to having to find new growth opportunities, the demands are often difficult to handle. To streamline this process and ensure success, here are some tips every novice CEO should follow:
Determine your brand as a CEO
CEOs are often defined by the specific themes they set and the approaches they take in delivering messages and setting agendas. Clear communication in the early stages, especially your initial actions, will be used to reflect your leadership brand and your goals and values. Ensure the message you are conveying is the correct one. Good communication will allow you to establish personal traits such as humility and approachability, but it will also aid in setting any strategic themes such as growth and transformation. In any case, your actions will be more important than your words, so try your hardest to lead by example.
Establish critical roles early on
You should prioritize leadership and delegation as a CEO, rather than absorbing yourself in day-to-day processes. Naturally, you should have a deep understanding of the business and its operations. But it’s also important to avoid micromanaging and washing your time on any unimportant areas that can be handled by someone else. Shift your focus toward learning which people thrive in which areas. Then, endeavor to find the most suitable uses for individuals’ talents. This will enable you to increase the value and productivity of your staff, along with the overall efficiency of the organization.
Lead through effective teams
Establishing a good leadership team is a vital aspect of being a CEO. But rather than prioritizing high-performing people who are in charge of independent functions, establish an interactive team that delivers real value. Strong teams that work well together across functions to create value for stakeholders will be able to represent the interests of various associates successfully. When you make value and positive results precedence, you will manage to find better growth opportunities and prepare your company for the future.
Connect with board members
The board can be a brilliant source of information and guidance for new CEOs. Make an effort to build strong bonds with your board members to get some advice, feedback, and support in this new professional journey. Aim to email and call your board members often, schedule corporate dinners and lunches, and plan a few special events. Consider hiring a corporate chauffeur to transfer your board members in style. Regardless of the event in question, an elegant vehicle with a professional driver is bound to win over your business partners. Creative engagement outside the boardroom is key to great relationships.
Try listening instead of speaking
Appointed CEOs are consulted for directions and important decisions from day one. However, the first couple of months should be more about listening, observing, and learning, instead of speaking. This will allow you to gain a better understanding of all aspects of the organization. Apart from board members, aim to engage with other stakeholders such as partners, employees, customers, and suppliers to achieve this. Extend your learning process by communicating with staff members who aren’t your direct reports as well, to make sure you have unfiltered information from all parts of the company.
Consider coaching solutions
Another excellent resource for new CEOs are also executive coaches. Representing neutral observers, coaches can offer that valuable feedback and constructive criticism that you simply can’t get from your staff and teams. They can also aid in developing the critical skills necessary for becoming a better CEO, including conflict management, responsibility delegation, and time management. Don’t make the mistake of believing coaching is only needed when processes aren’t functioning optimally. Even the greatest leaders can benefit from an experienced coach if their goal is to become stronger and more successful CEOs.
Always stay calm and controlled
Every company will experience some failures and some successes at certain points; it’s normal for a CEO to notice these oscillations. But if you ever feel these fluctuations, you have to remain balanced and know what your feelings actually mean. A leader’s role can be quite stressful, requiring hard focus that can quickly lead to burnout if you dramatically experience these highs and lows. Rather than obsessing, aim to stay as calm and controlled as possible in turbulent situations. Not only will this preserve your health, but it will also allow you to make smarter decisions to support the success and viability of the company, which is your main responsibility.
Coming with high expectations and tough tasks, a CEO’s early career can be quite demanding. Begin by building a strong foundation if your goal is to leave a great impression and lead the organization to success.