Generally, there are certain things that only a CEO can do for a company. As the highest-ranked executive, this individual bears the primary responsibility for making the major strategic decisions that guide a company along its growth path. The CEO builds a strong team of staff members who are capable of driving a business toward success and—if the individual is adept in the position—ultimately serves as a link between the company and the economy, markets, society, and customers outside of the office.
However, no matter how efficient a CEO is, this individual is still vulnerable to making mistakes. The best way to become a great business leader is to be aware of the more common mistakes that many CEOs make, eight of which are included in the following list.
Frequently Grappling with Indecision
The CEO’s primary role is to serve as the decision-maker for the company. Whether a business is attempting to navigate a small problem or create large-scale change, CEOs must leverage their experience to make difficult choices. CEOs who feel weighed down by this responsibility and finds themselves afraid or hesitant to make a decision may come off as weak leaders and ultimately fail to earn the trust of their staff.
Striking the Wrong Balance Between Being Friendly and Authoritative
In order to cohesively lead a company, a CEO must have a certain degree of approachability. The more friendly and familiar that CEOs are with their employees, the more forthcoming subordinates will likely be with important information. Familiarity between a CEO and his or her staff members is also more likely to help an executive earn loyalty and respect, as well as to make the company as a whole more productive. However, in the pursuit of approachability, it’s also crucial to know the limits of friendliness, as employees who are too familiar with their leader may take advantage of the relationship to the detriment of company operations.
Not Putting Enough Focus on Hiring and Recruitment
Even the most qualified CEOs can’t do their job correctly without the right support staff. CEOs who are not directly involved in hiring the members of their leadership team risk having to rely on people who cannot do the jobs that they need them to do. CEOs should work alongside their human resources department or a recruiting firm during the interview process and take an active role in selecting executive employees who will boost the company’s success.
Micromanaging Their Leadership Teams
Another reason why CEOs need to play an active role in selecting members of their executive team is that putting talented people in the right positions can help prevent them from feeling the need to micromanage. CEOs who micromanages do not truly delegate work and risk becoming lost in the smaller details of operations instead of focusing on big-picture strategy, as they are meant to do. Instead, CEOs should focus on trusting their direct reports to get their jobs done unsupervised and turn their focus to large-scale elements of the company.
Thinking That They Have Nothing to Learn from Anyone Else
CEOs who think of themselves as the only ones at a company with the all of the right answers can end up doing significant damage not only to the dynamics of the executive team, but to the business as a whole. Leaders who don’t keep their egos in check stop asking questions of others, causing them to lose out on the kind of insight needed to keep a company on a positive trajectory. CEOs should take the time to listen to their support staff and understand that good ideas can come from any employee.
Employing Poor Communication Skills
Communication skills are a necessity for professionals at all levels of an organizational hierarchy. However, they are especially crucial for CEOs. CEOs who are poor communicators create a work environment where employees feel frustrated and operate inefficiently, unsure of the exact goals that they should be working to accomplish. CEOs should take the time to ensure that their staff is clear about deadlines, projects, and the overarching vision that the leadership has for the company so that all of the employees can do their jobs more effectively.
Favoring a Specific Member of the Executive Team
It’s not unusual for executives to form positive relationships more naturally with some colleagues over others, but CEOs who obviously favor one member of the executive team can create division among a group responsible for ensuring that the company performs its best. CEOs should avoid blatant favoritism if they want to maintain a leadership team that works together to efficiently achieve goals.
Not Giving or Asking for Feedback
CEOs should regularly provide staff members with feedback on their performance in order to help them improve. While it can understandably be difficult to give criticism, constructive evaluations are the only way that CEOs can streamline the work of their employees and steer a company in the right direction. In addition, it’s important that CEOs ask board members for feedback on their own performance in order to ensure that their work is in line with the goals of the company. Feedback provides CEOs with the opportunity to grow and work on those skills that can help them to become better leaders.