It is impossible to overstate the responsibilities shouldered by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a company or organization. Every decision made by someone bestowed that title could have far-reaching consequences, for the entity and its employees. I have previously outlined what I believe to be a CEO’s most essential attributes — how he or she must be relatable, methodical and adaptable — while giving a nod to Andrew Carnegie, the long-ago steel magnate.
But what must a CEO never do? Here are some thoughts:
Use Excessive Caution
In certain instances, a conservative course is best. However, corporate executives must occasionally take calculated risks in order to achieve significant progress. Being overly cautious can inhibit that progress. The old adage is true: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And while setbacks will inevitably result from such an approach, they also represent learning opportunities. It is important to embrace your failures as readily as your successes.
It is understood that the bottom line is the lifeblood of any business. That said, profits can be overemphasized, leaving other aspects of the business to suffer mightily. This is particularly true regarding customer service. Astute corporate executives understand nothing is more important than happy customers. Ergo, the motto of “another satisfied customer” should take precedence over all other matters. After all, happy consumers breed more happy consumers and an expansive customer base equals solid profits.
Neglect the Importance of Learning
Reputable leaders never scoff at nor miss out on a chance to learn something new. No matter how much said individuals might know about their business, there is always more to learn. It is an ongoing process. I have learned countless lessons since founding The Allure Group, not the least of which is the importance of technology, especially robotics, in ensuring positive patient outcomes.
The bottom line? Leaders who fail to embrace the learning process often fail, period.
Fail to Display a Human Side
Granted, some of the most revered business leaders in history were tough, decisive and, in the eyes of some, downright ruthless. That said, respected leaders are not afraid to show their human side, not afraid to be accessible. Myself and others in upper manage regularly visit every department in each of Allure’s facilities, the better to hear the concerns of employees and residents alike. It is, after all, a people business. Such attributes as compassion, sympathy, empathy, patience, caring and understanding should always be top of mind.
Fail to set an Example
It may be somewhat clichéd but remains true nonetheless: The best leaders typically set great examples of how to be an efficient and profitable worker. Long-standing CEOs typically display admirable qualities such as a strong work ethic, good communication skills, a positive demeanor and the ability to get along well with their subordinates.
As the ultimate leader, executives carry a great burden, and are often required to render significant decisions on an everyday basis. But effective CEOs avoid making impulsive decisions. They manage instead to remain calm, analyze the situation objectively and weigh the pros and cons.
Fail to Reevaluate Certain Leadership Methods
Efficient executives are those who do not fear continual reevaluation. Past methods may no longer work, or they may show themselves to be a waste of time, money and resources, as I learned from my early business ventures. At that point I filled out my executive team with friends and family members, the result being that my beliefs weren’t challenged often enough, and the business suffered. Over time I switched things up, adding executives who knew at least as much as I did. That helped. So too did the fact that I realized there was much to learn from our competition — that by examining how they did things, we could adapt their ideas to our own use.
Fail to Delegate Authority
Many leaders fall into the trap of trying to “wear too many hats.” While great demands are placed upon and expected of those in the C-Suite, said individuals should not fear delegating necessary authority. Doing so can ensure that tasks are accomplished in a more timely and organized fashion.