View From the Top: The Psychology of A Successful CEO

Successful CEO at work.

CEOs must be able to continually take a high level view of the business.

This is a guest post by one of our newly featured guest authors, Emma Sturgis. This article speaks in generalities. Not all top CEOs are extroverts, for example. A good number are extroverted introverts, meaning they prefer to be around and engage with fewer people but can appear to be extroverted due to their people skills. Use this article as a rule of thumb: If this article sounds like you, that is excellent. If it does not sound at all like you, then, as a business owner, you may need to obtain training or mentoring or you may need to hire or promote someone else into the CEO position. Remember, the goal is to maximize your business value…and that may better occur with you in a different role than CEO! – TCW

Making the transition from general or executive management to CEO or CEO/owner of a company with numerous employees can be the hallmark of one’s professional career. Attaining and succeeding in such a prestigious position requires an understanding of the attributes that comprise a successful CEO, regardless of the field or industry.

Top CEOs are Accountable

Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of CEOs who not only attain a high ranking position, but also thrive on it, is accountability. Taking this trait to heart is particularly challenging because most organizations today have become more multi-faceted and ever-changing to keep pace with market demands and a volatile economy. While successful CEOs do not wallow in failure at every hiccup, they do take a personal interest in many of the seemingly unimportant details of their organizations. This helps create a culture of accountability and personal responsibility within the organization that filters from the top down.

CEOs Look at the Big Picture

Part of why a CEO has risen to his or her position is that he or she is an inherently goal-oriented person. What helps a CEO remain successful in that position is that he or she continues to keep the big picture in mind when approaching daily work. Besides keeping a finger on the daily pulse of the organization, a CEO remains a visionary and is constantly searches for opportunities to grow the company or stay ahead of market trends.

Delegating quote

The quote speaks for itself.

CEOs Delegate Effectively

Successful CEOs know how to manage people. They have the ability to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their employees and then leverage those strengths for the benefit of the organization. Successful CEOs understand that employees feel empowered when trusted to perform meaningful tasks. When CEOs trust their instincts about employees’ capabilities to succeed at their jobs and delegate tasks accordingly, the organization reaps the rewards. This leads to an overall increase in productivity and encourages employees to take initiative and pride in their work.

Top CEOs are Often Extroverts

The ability to communicate clearly and quickly with people is essential for a CEO. Top CEOs take this skill one step further and inherently enjoy engaging with people and exploring new opportunities. They tend to be optimistic and generally have a high level of self-confidence in social situations. This allows top CEOs to embrace networking opportunities and build a support system of contacts outside of their respective organizations.

The typical profile of a successful CEO is that of a highly motivated, conscientious individual with strong people skills. This psychological profile, while not befitting everyone, can be adapted according to each organization and its leaders. Being the best CEO may not necessarily mean being like other CEOs—companies are as different and diverse as individuals, and each company’s leadership needs must be taken into account by the one at its helm.

About the Author:

Emma is a freelance writer from Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. Information used in this article was provided by an organizational psychologist who earned their applied psychology degree online. Find Emma on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2