As I work with various businesses and with their CEOs I do find myself wondering why they want the role of CEO?
In many cases the CEO has worked his/her way through several steps of the corporate ladder – has demonstrated drive, ambition, hard work, understanding of their superior’s objectives, loyalty to their predecessor, ability to build a team around him/her self and ruthlessness, as required.
So, having gotten there. What now? Time to begin to shape the strategy, shape events, shape the organisation. Switch 50% of focus away from internal to external, shareholders, marketplace. Work on developing some key people, some key relationships. Manage the Board. Be accountable to the Board for everything, be accountable to staff for their wellbeing, security, future.
So what are the key skills to be a successful boss? Don’t think Geoffrey James is far off in this piece. Of these I would tend to focus on three skills:
- management as service, not control
- motivation from vision, not fear
- fun, not toil
In a sports club I see coaches as there to enable the players to get the best out of themselves. I see committee members as there to provide the environment for the coaches and players. In a work environment management is about service – in the sense that you are there to enable the team, to empower them. Fundamentally this is service, not control.
Ultimately fear is limited in what it can help you achieve. In the end it will kill you. Vision is what inspires, excites – causes people to go the extra mile.
And, if you are going to dedicate much (even most) of your waking time to something, then it must be fun.
So, I am looking for this in bosses. I think if they do not see themselves in this light then they will struggle. When you commit to the service model you do not worry about recruiting/ promoting people with skills and experience in excess of your own. In fact, you seek them out. Of course, this only works if you have real vision.
For bosses the challenge, for the good ones, is to keep time for the important bits: service/ coaching, vision and fun.