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What You Need to Know Before Becoming a CEO

CEO working on laptop

There are born leaders, people who want out of the nine-to-five chain, and visionaries who want to change the world with what they have to offer. Yet, not everyone is designed to lead a corporation. Though many people have successfully built an empire from scratch, there’ll always be decisions you wouldn’t have taken or things you could’ve done differently in hindsight.

1. Establishing the company culture can make or break your business

The company culture is the anchor of the company. You are at the helm, and you determine the values, ideals, approaches, attitudes, behaviors of your team. It would be best to establish a healthy company culture because it is crucial to the day-to-day business operations and long-term goals. As a CEO, you should not only be concerned about your company’s business model. You should build rapport with the people who are the ones generating profits for the company.

There are still contrary opinions on whether adopting an open-door policy in a company does more good than harm. You can also consider establishing a great feedback system where employees can share their opinions with optional anonymity.   The bottom line is you have to foster a great company culture since it is one of the primary determinants of your company’s direction.

2. Share credit for the company’s success and take responsibility for mistakes

Their pronoun usage can distinguish a CEO and a great CEO. The former uses “me” while the latter uses “we.” These word choices are crucial when there’s credit or responsibility at the table. Having the highest position in your company doesn’t spare you from taking responsibility for shortcomings and unmet deliverables. You are to take responsibility.

This is critical to gaining the trust of your subordinates and shareholders. A bad leader who uses their employees as a scapegoat will create an insecure environment when things go wrong. But, a great leader who sparingly pulls the thumb and hardly points fingers will gain their staff’s respect. This can make it easier for everyone to team up and work with a positive attitude despite the setbacks.

ceo talking to employee

3. Value each one of your employees

Being self-made is a myth. Even though you are the head of the company, your employees are the backbone. Research involving 600 businesses with 50 to 500 employees shows that 63.3% say that employee retention is more difficult than acquisition. US employers collectively expend $2.9M a day hunting for replacement workers. Use basic arithmetic, and you’ll get $1.1B per year.

Common reasons behind this costly problem:

  • Higher potential earnings at another company
  • Poor management
  • Lack of career growth
  • Feeling underappreciated
  • No work-life balance
  • Wanting more independence and flexibility
  • Personal life changes (marriage, death of a loved one, relocation, etc.)
  • Poor interpersonal relationships at work

Running a company is not only about knowledge of a particular field; you have to be people smart. You have to understand and care for your employees. Some companies that derive a considerable sum from their operations barely provide the benefits or the salary the employees deserve. Other employees might have been waiting for a promotion that seems to be far off. The rest felt stagnant, and their tasks routinary. The point is you have to know your employees’ needs.

4. You have to keep watch for your privacy

Privacy matters, and once you become a CEO, you have to watch out more about yours. People form opinions based on what they see, and you can manage your reputation by controlling what others can know about you. This applies both online and offline. Online, you have to limit the information you share on sites. Offline, when you do non-business-related drives, you might want to visit a car tint shop so that you can be less bothered by who sees you on the road. Other people can easily take your activities out of context, and it could immensely affect not only you but your entire company.

There are certainly more than four things you need to keep in mind before leading a company. Of course, you have to develop a profitable business model, know the ins and outs of the market, and the like. But these are things that aspiring leaders usually miss. Creating a great company culture, sharing credit and taking responsibility, valuing employees, and maintaining privacy.

Having the highest position is more than the glamour tied to the title and the profit you get. You are like a pilot, and the way you navigate the plane will determine whether the company crashes, barely survive, or get to the great destination with your people.

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