If you want to work your way up in the business world, the ultimate goal is a chief executive officer (CEO) position. As a CEO, you’re essentially the leader of the company, which means you carry quite a bit of responsibility. You’ll be a major part of whether the business succeeds or fails. Part of becoming a CEO in the first place is demonstrating the skills needed to do well at it. Here are five of the most important business skills that everyone aiming for a CEO position will need.
CEOs are decision makers. Even though the best CEOs try to avoid acting as dictators, when a significant decision needs to be made, the CEO will often be the one who chooses what to do. To become a CEO, you must be able to make decisions under pressure using the information you have available, and you must project confidence when you make those decisions. An indecisive CEO or one who seems unsure of himself won’t last long. It’s also important that you can make decisions based on logic, without letting emotions cloud your judgment.
As a CEO, you’ll interact with a wide range of people, including investors, higher-ups at other companies and your subordinates. You need to communicate with them effectively to be successful, and you must be able to do so over every form of communication, including in person, on phone calls and through text. If people don’t fully understand what you’re saying to them, it will lead to wasted time as you later clarify what you meant and possibly other productivity issues.
A CEO doesn’t necessarily need to be the prototypical salesman, but they do need to have selling skills. As the head of a company, you’ll end up selling it to quite a few people. When you talk to potential investors or a lender, you must sell them on your business idea to convince them to give you money. If you’re trying to bring new talent on board, your sales skills could convince them to join your company, even if it’s unproven. If you’re trying to sell a sales company to employees you might want to follow the example of a CEO like Dallin Larsen who has done it before.
The life of a CEO tends to be very busy, and the only way anyone can handle it is through proper organization. You must figure out what tasks require your attention and what tasks you can safely delegate to others because if you try to do it all, you’ll waste your time on low-priority tasks and won’t be able to fully commit yourself to the tasks that could use your attention. Organizational skills are also important in the sense of keeping your workspace well organized. Not only does this help you maximize productivity, but it also presents a professional image.
You may not be the chief financial officer (CFO), and you certainly don’t need an accounting degree, but you will need solid financial knowledge to be a CEO. It’s important to understand where your company’s money is going, how much money to allocate to specific areas and the return on investment (ROI) your business is getting from its marketing campaigns. When you’re financially proficient, it helps with your decision-making skills by enabling you to make more informed decisions.
You don’t necessarily need to be the best in any one area to rise to the top and become a great CEO. What’s important is that you have a balanced skillset without any glaring weaknesses. If you can make sound decisions, communicate effectively with others, sell people on your company and its vision, keep your life organized and understand the financial side of things, you’ll be well positioned for success.