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How To Be a CEO

by | Nov 7, 2017

You are a CEO. You are the decision maker in your industry. You are an entrepreneur.

What makes you a great leader?

Adam Bryant writes a column, “Corner Office”, for the NYT every Sunday for a decade answering this question. In his 525 interviews with CEOs he asks the unobvious – queries NOT about their companies, but questions about how they’d hire someone, what their parents were like, what shaped them, and life advice they give or wish they had received.

After a decade of these concise and insightful interviews, Bryant has moved on. In his final article on 10.29.17 he summarizes the lessons learned from these leaders.

He notices three recurring themes for those people who got the top job.

  1. Applied curiosity. “They tend to question everything. They want to know how things work, and wonder how they can be made to work better. They’re curious about people and their back stories. … Rather than wondering if they are on the right path, they are wringing lessons from all their experiences.”
  2. Discomfort is their comfort zone. “CEO’s seem to love a challenge.”
  3. Management of their own careers on their way to the top. “They focus on doing their current job well and that earns them promotions. That may seem obvious, but many people can seem more concerned about the job they want than the job they’re doing.”

Bryant observes that leadership is not The One Thing You Have To Do. Rather, it’s a series of paradoxes.

  • Leaders need humility to know what they don’t know, yet have the confidence to make a decision in the midst of chaos.
  • Chaos is good but too much creates anarchy.
  • A CEO needs to be empathetic and care about people yet be able to let them go.
  • A CEO needs to create a sense of urgency but have patience to bring a team together.

BUT if Bryant were squeezed into that corner office and HAD to say the Most Important Quality of Effective Leadership he says, “I would put trustworthiness at the top. … We can sense at a kind of lizard-brain level whether we trust someone.”

Readers of this blog – you know that “trust” is the bottom line theme of our Speak For Yourself® philosophy. How do you convey trust? It’s all in how you communicate. Your voice. Your business.


© 123RF Stock Photo

© Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 3 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, Albert Einstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.

Read more at www.SpeakForYourself.com/blog.

Did you know that we also work 1:1 with decision makers on overcoming the fear of public speaking? Click here: https://www.karencortellreisman.com/seminar-what-i-didnt-say.html 



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