Here's a list of four things a CEO should never do:
- Avoid risks
As CEO, it is your job to be the company's risk manager, but not all risks are bad. The opportunity to expand into other markets or to launch new offerings has inherent risks. However, avoiding these types of risks will simply keep the business running at status quo. It will most likely not be able to compete effectively in the long run. In this situation, avoiding this potentially positive risk puts the business at a greater, negative risk.
- Get stuck in your ways
'Why fix when it isn't broken' is a dangerous approach. Understandably, when something works, it is really difficult to make decisions regarding adjustments. However, in order to find continual improvement, it is critical to be open to new ideas, new approaches and new ways of doing things. Listen carefully to the ideas of others, you don't know where the next big thing will come from. Without ideas and innovation, there's no company, no edge and usually no future. It doesn't matter how awesome your sales team is, you can wither without continuing to evolve.
- Forget to be human
In the mid-80s, the Gillette Company launched an advertising campaign for its 'Dry Idea' antiperspirants, introducing what eventually became one of the famous ad slogans of all time: 'Never let them see you sweat'. That may be great advice for appearance, but your people will find it much easier to like and follow you if you are someone with which they can identify. Don't be bigger than life. Be accessible, take responsibility for actions and let your people know you care. Don't be the boss who walks in with a strut, carries a vibe of entitlement and looks Teflon-coated and unapproachable. Show some humility. Be super professional, but try and approach things with a sense of humour and humanity.
- Be a martyr
A martyrdom approach serves as a disservice to the CEO and the company. Your role as a leader is to leverage your resources effectively. If you don't allow the people around you to take responsibility and perform their share of the work, you will be underutilising the skills and strengths of those in your team. You are also running the risk of not only coming up short if doing everything on your own, but also burning yourself out. You're the ultimate example of what a representative of your company should be. Don't make the mistake of asking your team to 'do as I say, not as I do'. They won't. You'll lose your credibility and potentially lose good people.
What can you add to the list of 'what not to do as a CEO'?
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