How to Be a Better CEO
Being the top dog can be tough.
As the CEO, you are the last line of defense as your company is battling its way to the top. Even though the road to success may be bumpy, here are 4 tips to help you grow as a leader:
1. Accept that you’re wrong sometimes
All CEOs (read human) make mistakes, and that’s just part of business and life. What sets apart the successful CEO from the mediocre one is the ability to recognize a bad situation and pivot. Don’t blindly stick to your guns and try to convince people you were right just to make yourself feel better. Instead, understand how your metrics guide your business strategy and spot a bad situation from the start.
Tip: If you’re looking to make better financial decisions in your company, try The Sprout Guide to Financials. It can help you understand your financials, know exactly where your company stands each month, and create a plan to grow next month. It's also the same one we use every month to measure our numbers.
2. Ask the dumb questions
As the saying goes: “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” But we’ve all been the person who kept quiet when we didn’t know what was going on because we didn’t want to risk looking like a dork.
Girlboss Sophia Amorusa recounts how she was responsible for not only for her company and income, but the incomes of her employees as well. Since Sophia couldn’t risk jeopardizing her employees’ well-being to save her own ego, she had to get over her insecurity of asking “dumb” questions in meetings. Real quick.
Asking dumb questions seems counterintuitive, but how can you be a strong CEO if you don’t know the ins and outs of what you’re dealing with? It’s time to let go of your insecurities and pipe up if you don’t know what’s going on.
3. Celebrate your failures
Billionaire and Spanx CEO Sarah Blakely famously celebrates mistakes in her business that she learned from and that led to greater opportunities. It’s safe to say Sarah has faced her fair share of embarrassing struggles, including bombing her LSATs twice, failing her audition as Goofy at Disney World for not being tall enough, and misusing British slang to market Spanx when interviewing with BBC.
What she took away from her lessons is that failure allows you to spread her wings and to risks. Despite her lack of knowledge of the retail industry, Sarah was emboldened to create a product she really believed in and the payoff was enormous. Even though you might cringe at the business decisions you made a year ago, it’s a great sign that you’re on the right path as a CEO.
4. Spend time out of office
We get it, you didn’t spend all that hard work just to not work in your Pinterest-worthy office. But everyone gets stuck in a rut sitting still in one place, and there are benefits to seeing what’s going on in the real world.
Whether that’s talking to your customers, chatting with industry veterans, or just taking a walk and getting some fresh air -- you need to actively put yourself outside your comfort zone. It forces you to question your assumptions and improve how you make decisions. The ideas start flowing as you’re able to absorb new, outside perspectives without bias.