If your goal is to become an inspirational leader and CEO, you need to sustain high performance and optimise your life.
The journey to becoming a successful CEO involves motivation, consistency, and time. According to a 2020 study, the average age of a CEO is between 48-54 years old. As the global business environment becomes more complicated, companies look to leaders with more experience under their belts, not less.
However long the road to becoming a CEO takes, motivation and focus will get you through various challenges.
It’s important to ask yourself – do you have the potential to become an impactful leader? Do you have the skills to make you stand out among your peers?
As a performance coach, I have had the opportunity to observe many C-suite leaders and have identified three attributes that the most successful leaders tend to have.
Team building AS A CEO
Leaders need to build teams and organisational structures, systems, and processes that deliver outstanding results. Creating the proper infrastructure allows companies to excel. These leaders understand that building advantage is not just about winning today but building an engine for growth that will last.
Executives who are the “architects” of how their organisation works are the same people who attract exceptional talent. These leaders know how to assemble a strong team and give their employees the direction, resources, and autonomy they need to deliver on challenging goals. This is why high-performance coaching can really help individuals develop as CEO, check out the other reason here.
Those with this skill naturally see how their organisation could run more efficiently.
A successful future CEO will have this mindset and watch and learn from the leaders who have that same skill. When you start leading teams, your goal is to motivate people with diverse skills. Help them identify solutions, clearly explain your ideas, and encourage them to problem-solve in new ways.
Understanding the importance of relationships
These leaders are all about cultivating relationships. They understand the importance of forming genuine connections with a diverse group of executives, both internally and externally. They’re likeable, earnest and as their careers progress and their network grows, these leaders instinctively bring different people together with successful collaborations getting more significant over time — yielding exciting results.
Leaders with this skill are naturally curious about others. They ask questions of the many people they meet and listen carefully to the responses. They nurture the diverse relationships they have made.
Leaders skilled at building relationships are different from those who create value because of their broad networks. The type of leader I highlight here does not necessarily have loads of contacts, but they have a lot of deep connections based on who they are, not their job role.
If you possess this skill, you can develop it by taking notes about the various interesting people you meet. This helps you find ways to add value reciprocally over time. That continued investment can result in a vibrant network of contacts.
CEO Require Passion and purpose
These leaders are all about purpose. They think about what they want to accomplish and why. That might mean solving problems others can’t or bringing new solutions to big existing challenges. Such leaders may have a self-generated vision, while others are motivated to bring someone else’s idea to life. Their “why we are here” attitude draws people towards them because these leaders believe that accomplishing something significant is what matters. Due to their deep sense of purpose, many passionate players take risks that other leaders may not, like starting a new venture or forging a collaboration within an existing organisation.
Of course, not everyone has the drive and skills needed to lead like this. But if you’re motivated by purpose over titles, or money this might be your pathway. Take inspiration from other purpose-driven leaders around you and in the popular press, reading their books and watching their speeches and videos. Take stock of how they frame problems and tell stories.
What About You?
Which one of these three potential leadership pathways fits you and your natural abilities? The goal is to find where your potential lies and identify and work on any weaknesses that could derail your career. Leadership that draws others to follow, especially at scale, is key, and that is your aim.
One important point before we end: While aspiring to be a top CEO or C-suite leader is of course a worthy ambition, it isn’t wise to work only for a job title or position, especially one that is so elusive and often out of your control. The greatest leaders are people who create impact wherever they go, starting small and gradually getting bigger. They got noticed at some point in their careers for their commitment to excellence and impact — not necessarily their ambition.
Check out our video on developing feedback in your role here.