Interviews and Reviews

Most Important Leadership Traits of Successful CEOs

Everyone understands the importance of their business having a strong leadership team formed by motivated individuals who take calculated risks for the good of the company. Placing solid leaders at the head of the company is crucial if you want to steer your business towards success. Leaders have the type of personality you want to put in authority roles because they possess dynamic qualities that contribute to the smooth operation and growth of your investment. Attributes like the ability to inspire, convince, and encourage through strong communication can have a majorly positive impact on the people working for your company, but leaders do much more than this.

We asked successful business founders and CEOs who are leading their own well-known companies what they have learned are the most important leadership traits for CEOs to exhibit. Read on to find out which qualities are the most beneficial for CEOs to have. What actions do successful leaders do? The various answers to this question lie below.

Promote the Company’s Values and Mission

The founder and CEO of the internet-famous cookware sets on Caraway Home point out the importance of leaders establishing their company’s values and missions through their actions and speech.

“Leaders need to be the face of the company for their employees, the ones who make the company and its values real to them. Leaders should always project the mission and goals of their business through their actions, words, and attitude. How can employees be expected to believe in the company and all it stands for if they don’t see this modeled in the person leading them into new growth? If you believe in what your business stands for, your employees will too, making the workplace a much more cohesive team of people united in their shared goals,” says Jordan Nathan, Founder, and CEO of Caraway.

Have Faith In Your Beliefs

This CEO of online PR and marketing strategies company PRMediaOnline points out how leaders have to be firmly rooted in their values, which must also align with those at the heart of their company.

“It’s a mix of a lot of things, but first and foremost it’s about having faith in your beliefs. You can’t expect others to consider you a leader unless you have solid faith in your ideas. And once it’s there, you build on it by being a good communicator, listening to others, setting examples, and by putting your best foot forward and not giving up. Leadership is all about being passionate about what you do, and having confidence in yourself and your followers whom you have to motivate and inspire,” says Matei Gavril, CEO at PrMediaOnline.

Inspire Productivity

Speaking of motivating people, the co-founder and CEO of Network Capital agrees that being able to inspire and push employees towards their best work is another crucial quality of good leaders.

“CEOs need to show leadership through inspiring their team members to action. Usually, the leaders are the ones delegating tasks to each department or individual, but as the CEO, do not simply delegate and disappear. After you have assigned roles, you should be an active presence around the office (or virtual office), inspiring productivity and checking in. Leaders who establish themselves as a safe person to turn to with questions and concerns are much more successful at their position than CEOs who are never available for their workers. Project your beliefs in your company and in each employee’s ability to excel at their tasks,” says Tri Nguyen, Co-Founder, and CEO of Network Capital.

Encourage Team Members

Not only should you inspire productivity but also encourage your team members through every step of their work, according to the CEO of Mood Health.

“With the changes to traditional workspaces due to the covid-19 pandemic, many people have reported that work now feels like a stressful environment, whether they’re in a physical office space or not. Big, status-quo-altering events are going to occur that change the basic infrastructure of your company’s work situation and as the leader, you need to be the one reassuring people through the hardest times. By acting as a positive and steadfast presence you can do more than you know to keep your team focused. You can encourage your workers by reassuring them that their positions will not be affected, by maintaining a sense of normalcy amidst change, by pointing out the positives of every new situation, and in so many more ways that diffuse stress about uncertainty. You are the best person to act as the encourager, so try to act as the glue holding everyone together,” says Mike Clare, CEO of Mood Health.

Earn Respect

Brandon Swenson, the co-founder, and CPO of NextPaw says that CEOs must earn respect, and not just the blanket respect given to them as a person in leadership but earned respect based on their performance as CEO.

“Having the ability to show respect, empathy, and care to those that follow you, are all attributed to being a great leader. Earning respect is crucial to a successful relationship with someone, while also showing that you care about their work or ideas. Being empathetic allows a leader to tap into the emotions of that individual in order to connect in a way that lets that person know you understand what it means to be in their situation. Combining all three of these traits can definitely make someone a great leader. These are things I work on constantly with my own staff and myself, all in order to become a better leader to those I care about,” says Brandon Swenson, Co-Founder, and CPO of NextPaw.

Communicate Clearly

At the center of all leadership qualities is the ability to convey your beliefs and speak to and with your team members, which makes strong communication skills a must for every successful CEO, according to the CEO of Doelashes.

“A strong leader is a clear communicator, which is why those in leadership positions are tasked with updating their team members and announcing news. As the person who conveys important information, people will begin to look to you for direction and view you as a knowledgeable presence. Use your communication skills for good, by diffusing difficult conversations and to encourage when your employees feel unsure. Everyone can always improve on their communication skills, so never stop trying to exceed your abilities. Being an effective communicator also relies heavily on taking time to listen. How can you truly reach people in the way they need if you don’t understand their situation and concerns?” says Jason Wong, CEO of Doe Lashes.

Make Executive Decisions

The founder and CEO of CBD oil company Peels remind us that making those difficult executive decisions is a key part of a CEO’s role, and in order to be a successful leader you should hone in on your decision-making ability.

“Perhaps the most important thing a CEO does is make the hard executive decisions that must be made for the good of the company. In order to be a good leader, you should consider each decision from all sides, including the possible risks and any trickled-down effects the decision will have on your employees. A good leader examines the reality of each outcome and is solid and resolute in their selection. There will always be pushback, but you must trust your process and the conclusion you’ve made. Even when people question your methods, be confident that your comprehensive research and passion for the company will always lead it into the best next steps,” says Chris Hetherington, Founder, and CEO of Peels.

Lead the Company Into Growth

Speaking of leading the company into its best future, the co-founder and CEO of all-natural dog food brand Sunday’s for Dogs stresses the importance that a good leader does exactly that–lead.

“As the CEO it is your responsibility to lead the company into new growth. Your heart for the company fuels your desire for it to succeed and expand, and luckily for you, you are actually in a position to make all of your company’s goals a reality. With such a major responsibility on them, leaders are strong researchers, gathering input from all sources and sides before making any decisions. You should closely work with the CFO to ensure the finances are in order to step into a full speed ahead growth trajectory. Don’t be afraid to take risks on your path to scaling the company,” says Michael Waxman, Co-Founder and CEO of Sundays for Dogs.

Delegate Tasks

The CEO and chief marketing officer of the at-home salon-quality nails of Nailboo say that leaders have to be good at delegating tasks rather than taking everything onto their own plate.

“By far the most important leadership trait of successful CEOs is their ability to delegate. Whether you own a small or large company, it can become very easy to feel as if you must have your hands on everything. However, a CEO must be focused on one thing above all else: needle-shifting strategies that propel the company forward long-term. Indeed, this is the only way in which a company can grow at scale. Specifically, trust other executives, managers, and junior employees to not only do their job but own it. Delegate all daily tasks to others, facilitate communication to ensure efficiency, and create clear deliverables for everyone. By doing so, you can focus on top-level growth,” Amanda E. Johnson, CEO and Chief Marketing Officer of Nailboo.

Make Quick and Decisive Decisions

You must be decisive and resolute as a leader, making wise decisions without second-guessing yourself, no matter the opposition, according to the CMO of TextSanity.

“You need to be able to make fast decisions for the good of your business as the CEO; I won’t lie, that is a lot of pressure to place on someone. However, one quality that sets effective leaders apart from just a person in a leadership position is their ability to be a conclusive decision-maker and not backtrack on the choices they have made. Sometimes time pressures mean you have to determine whether a big move is right or not for the company in a short amount of time. Leaders are confident in their ability to assess all the risks before making an executive decision. If you want to be a successful leader, work on your decisiveness and trust your research,” says Carrie Derocher, CMO of TextSanity.

Avoid Micromanagement

The co-founder of The Future Party agrees that one aspect every employee notices in their leader is how capable he or she is at delegating tasks without micromanaging.

“When you’re the person in charge, it can be immensely tempting to want to arrange every detail of your company according to what you think is best. After all, as the leader, you’re the one who conducts the research and understands what needs to happen for your company to be as excellent as possible. However, remember that you are also capable of making wise hiring decisions so that your team has been strategically built with workers who have the same drive, passion, and values as you. You can delegate the tasks that need to be done and remind everyone of the shared company values and goals you’re all working towards, but trust your team and trust your ability to hire capable workers, and don’t micromanage. Let your employees fill their positions and allow yourself to focus on the larger picture,” says Boye Fajinmi, Co-Founder and President of The Future Party.

Influence People

Lastly, the chief marketing officer of the integrative medicine platform ivee stresses the way strong leaders are able to influence those around them in the direction the company needs.

“It’s important to recognize that leadership is not just about being in charge; it’s about influencing people in positive ways. Successful CEOs observe their employees and think about what will make them feel more inspired and enthusiastic about their work. Usually, it’s a healthy mix of giving them challenging tasks to boost their motivation, yet also encouraging them and expressing appreciation for their hard work. Too much pressure on someone will wear them out, but being too lenient could make them lazy. Effective CEOs make their employees feel both driven and valued and be sure to maintain a balance between the two,” says Amber Theurer, Chief Marketing Officer of ivee.

With these reminders of the important leadership traits successful CEOs possess, you can work on bettering your leadership ability so you are more than simply the person in charge, but rather the CEO who has earned your team’s respect and trust because of your leadership qualities.

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